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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
More pics of my trip to NYC on Easter weekend. This time of Bensonhurst and Dyker Heights. I found Bensonhurst (Brooklyn's Little Italy) to be much more authentic than Manhattan's Little Italy (which is just a street. I was also impressed by the number of Italian speakers in the neighborhood. While there is also a substantial Asian-American and Russian presence this thread focuses on the Italian character of the neighborhood which interested me most.

In addition, I’ll present photos of Dyker Heights: that’s a much wealthier (primarily residential) neighborhood with a strong Italian American influence.

Starting with Bensonhurst:

18th Avenue is the neighborhood’s main street and is lined with shops, restaurants, social clubs etc. The sidewalks were full with shoppers on the Saturday morning I took the photographs:

Occasionally the sidewalk had an American and Italian flag planted on the ground (something which I never noticed in other Italian American neighborhoods I visited before)

The Arcobaleno is big shop that sells videos, CDs, and cassettes exclusively (of course, Italian flag with Soccer world cup is planted in front of it)

Italian organizations, social clubs, and sports clubs:

More shops on 18th:

The Italian Records store had loud music blasting on the street of the same Totó Cotugno song “L’Italiano” in techno version :lol:

The interior had all sorts of kitschy stuff, as well as some less touristy things such as music CDs or coffee grinders:

Looking for workers:

Some oldtimers hanging out

After checking out 18th Ave. I visited the residential streets of Bensonhurst. The architecture is very plain and unremarkable, much like the one of the commercial buildings on eighteenth Ave.:

Something that my friend and I noticed in Italian neighborhoods on the East Coast is the presence of either a lot of iron-work (particular in the form of railings, but also on doors) or of sculptures: the latter being more expensive and found more often in wealthier neighborhoods, as you’ll see from the photos of Dyker Heights.

Iron railings:

More iron-work and sculpture:

More shops, this time not on 18th Ave:

Chinese, Russian, and Italian food in one block:

Let’s start with the local Catholic Church:

Statue of Padre Pio (recently made Saint), a quintessential Italian Catholic figure:

Walking around the church (mainly on 13th Ave.), the architecture and atmosphere is similar to the one in Bensonhurst:

International newspapers:

I went inside the store to buy the Italian newspaper and saw an old man complaining in Italian about his calling card not working to a clerk who obviously didn’t speak the language. After translating for the two, I asked the old man how long he had been living in the United States. He told me 20 years. 20 years and the guy doesn’t speak any English :nuts:

Some old-timers hanging out :

A bakery, just like we have back home:

A few more photos of the residential streets:

Now we got to the wealthier part of the Dyker Heights. Starting with the ornate villas:

The Italian-Americans who made it seem to shift from iron-work to masonry and sculptures:

A bonanza of sculptures :D

The more working-class homes ;)

This villa looks like the ones we have in Italy:

That was it, I hope you enjoyed ! :cheers:

247 Posts
Great pictures. I live next to Dyker Heights in Bay Ridge. I take the bus all the time to Bensonhurst for some gelato....mmmm! My grandma grew up in Bensonhurst, and there was actually a farm across the street when she was little....crazy isn't it? The houses in Dyker Heights are beautiful and huge, and at Christmas time they all decorate the houses like you wouldn't believe!

What part of Italy are you from? Mine is from Mondragone, I visited last summer and I absolutely LOVED IT! I went to Rome too and it's such a great city. I'm hoping I go back next summer.

1,367 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·

Sfenn1117: I'm only half surprised that there was a farm in Bensonhurst when your grandmother grew up there: surprised because it's so close to Manhattan and downtown Brooklyn that I would assume it was well developed already back then, not surprised because the buildings in the neighborhood don't seem to be that old. I am from Trieste (northeast) with ancestors and relatives in Palermo. I'm glad you enjoyed your trip to Italy. I'm going home for vacation in less than a month, can't wait.
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