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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Bensonhurst is located in south-central Brooklyn, New York. I visited the neighborhood on Easter weekend during my trip to NYC. Southern Brooklyn has a large Italian-American presence and Bensonhurst is one of the best known Italian ethnic neighborhoods in the United States and is considered to be Brooklyn’s Little Italy. Unlike Manhattan’s Little Italy (which is just a street), Italian-Americans still live in the neighborhood, and even the main avenue with all the stores is nowhere as touristy as Mulberry Street. Furthermore, I read that Bensonhurst has the largest number of Italian speakers in the U.S. 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 as ornamentation.

Iron railings:

More iron-work and sculpture:

More shops, this time not on 18th Ave:

Chinese, Russian, and Italian food in one block:

Now to Dyker Heights, starting 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:

Proud Torontonian
1,421 Posts
In a handful of pictures there are a number of Chinese boutiques and restaurants that look as though they have crept into Bensonhurst. Hopefully my people won't engulf Brooklyn's Little Italy like they have Manhattan's!

2,336 Posts
This is one awesome thread, had to bring it back. Not too many people know of the existence of "Brooklyn's little italy", although there are more neighbs like this one in south brooklyn. I much prefer this neighb and others over the tourist trap that is Manhattan's little italy. Good job in capturing the Italian influence in NY.

btw, im guessing this thread should be moved to Urban Showcase section if it's not too late?
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