86th STREET in Bensonhurst

I mean, one of these days, to walk 86th Street from the Narrows to Gravesend. It is the main east-west street in southwest Brooklyn, and contains many secrets of old. I grew up three blocks from 86th, and so, when communities were more tight-knit, I knew the butchers, the bakers and the candle stick makers by name before they either retired or moved to the suburbs. The 86th Street BMT subway at 4th Avenue was my home subway, and I rode the B16 (Fort Hamilton Parkway), B63 (5th Avenue) B64 (86th Street) and B37 (3rd Avenue) buses with regularity. Now, the B1 and B64 have been recast in unfamiliar routes, and the B37 has been altogether eliminated.

But August 22, 2011 was not the day for a complete walk. I had just gotten back from a mission to Bayswater, Queens, an outpost on the Far Rockaway peninsula, and will have to return again as the ride was cut short due to scheduling necessities on the part of the friend who drove us there. After lunch at Spumoni Gardens (where I had never before been) he went to his home, and I walked 86th from about Avenue V to the 18th Avenue station on the D. I’ll present the findings here in reverse order, from northwest to southeast.

I’m not sure when 86th Street was built out to its ultimate length. It was certainly laid out on maps by 1873, when this Beers atlas plate of the town of New Utrecht was drawn. It was just a line on a map then, though.

The center of this map, just to the left of the “86th” is where the elevated D train turns off New Utrecht Avenue onto 86th in the present day. Other than 86th, the other roads on this map have disappeared as the overall grid was constructed, which began to take place after 1900. The “Benson” on the map was the same family that produced early NYS attorney general Egbert Benson. The Van Pelt family was also long standing in the area, and the Van Pelt Mansion on what is now 18th Avenue stood over two centuries.

In this Gravesend map from the same year, 86th Street is laid out through marshes — much of southeast Brooklyn is landfilled, including the connection of Coney Island to the rest of Long Island. On this map, the Bath and Coney Island Railroad was placed on an elevated line by 1920, while the original square Gravesend street layout is still intact, as is Kings Highway at the top of the map.

18th Avenue, which crosses 86th Street just south of the 18th Avenue station on the West End el line, was one of the first roads laid out through the old town of New Utrecht. It has been subtitled for Christopher Columbus since the 1980s. From my 18th Avenue page:

A network of old roads come together at 18th Avenue just north of 86th Street, where the Brooklyn, Greenwood and Bath Plank Road (now New Utrecht Avenue), Kings Highway (now 84th Street) and the Road from New Utrecht to Flatbush (18th Avenue) intersect.

Kings County, from the colonial era to the late 1800s was made up of six separate towns: Brooklyn, Bushwick, Flatlands, Flatbush, New Utrecht, and Gravesend. Over a couple of centuries, the City of Brooklyn gradually absorbed the other towns (after part of Flatlands became New Lots). By 1896, Kings County and the City of Brooklyn were finally coterminous…but then, Brooklyn voted to consolidate with New York City, by a very thin margin, in 1898.

The town oNew Utrecht was named for Utrecht, Netherlands, the 4th largest city in that country. In Dutch, “Utrecht” is derived from two words that mean “old fort,” so that “New Utrecht” actually means “New Old Fort.” It’s remembered in Brooklyn by New Utrecht Avenue, the much shorter Old New Utrecht Road and by New Utrecht High School, which was shown in the opening credits for the 1970s Welcome Back Kotter TV show and where your webmaster took his math SATs.

New Utrecht Avenue is nearly, but not completely, dominated by the elevated West End BMT (as of 2008, the D and M trains) but it began life in 1852 as a private plank road called the Brooklyn, Greenwood and Bath Plank Road, so called because it ran from the Green-Wood Cemetery area to Bath Beach. By 1865, Charles Gunther’s Brooklyn, Bath and Coney Island Railroad was built along its length, and after Brooklyn Rapid Transit (the BRT) took it over, the route was placed on elevated tracks in 1917.

New Utrecht’s first settler was Cornelius Van Werckhaven, who arrived in New Amsterdam from Utrecht, Netherlands, in 1652. He purchased what wouldbecome Bensonhurst, Gravesend, and Bay Ridge from Dutch governor Wilhelm Kieft and later, from the Nyack Indians. His associate Jacques Cortelyou issued patents to other settlers after Van Werckhaven returned to Europe. By 1661 New Utrecht had been granted a charter by New Amsterdam Director General Peter Stuyvesant, and the town was on its way.
The town was annexed by Brooklyn in the late 1800s, and Brooklyn joined NYC in 1898.

The Marshalls clothing store
is located on the bottom floor of the old Loew’s Oriental Theatre at 86th Street and Bay 19th.
From Cinematreasures, which has a photo of the theater from 1968:

Opened on October 13, 1927 with Ronald Colman in “Beau Geste” and vaudeville on the stage. The Loew’s Oriental Theatre was known for its lavish Oriental style decor.
It was twinned in February 1977 with 1,076 seats on the orchestra level and 1,140 seats on the balcony level. In February 1984 the balcony was divided into two auditoriums, making the theatre a triple-screen operation. It was closed on May 21, 1995.


Speaking of the movies, this is the location, where New Utrecht Avenue meets 86th Street, where Gene Hackman’s Popeye Doyle has to swerve to avoid a woman with a baby carriage in 1972’s The French Connection; he is pursuing a hitman who has taken control of a northbound West End train. The sequence can be seen as part of this clip.

At first I was stumped about what bank this present-day Chase was at 19th Avenue and 86th. But look closely and you will sometimes see identifying marks. Former Dime Bank buildings are sometimes identified by representations of the Liberty dime issued from 1916-1945, sometimes called the Mercury dime since Liberty is wearing a winged cap like the Roman messenger god did. The back of the Liberty Dime is an unquestionably Roman symbol: bundles of sticks surrounding an axe called the “fasces,” symbolizing governmental authority.

Butcher, 86th Street between 19th and 20th Avenues.

Lenny’s Pizza, at 1969 86th, is indelibly imprinted as the pizzeria where John Travolta’s Tony Manero buys two slices and eats them while strutting down 86th Street at the opening scene of 1977’s Saturday Night Fever.

In the 1970s, I was amazed at how quickly the disco craze arose, and has never really left. It was just a couple of  years earlier everyone wore rags and smoked weed, vowing never to become The Man. All of a sudden, everyone wanted to be The Man. People are instinctually acquisitive, and disco was emblematic of this characteristic.

Apartment building/McDonald’s, 20th Avenue. I’m unsure if these once-grand buildings came before the construction of the el in 1917-1919, or later.

A second former theater, recognizable as such by the comedy and tragedy terra cotta masks on the pediments, just south of 20th Avenue.

Opened as the Benson Theatre in 1921, it was a 1,400 seat theatre, located in the shadows of the elevated subway in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. It was run as a dollar theatre by the Golden Theatre chain before it was twinned by splitting it down the middle and renamed Benson Twins.

Subsequently, it became a first run house. In the final days, it was closed more than it was open, and was closed in the early-1990’s for its current retail use. cinematreasures

Looking carefully, old names appear through or under modern-day signs, such as at 2075 86th.

Grand bank buildings, some identifiable, some not, are arrayed along 86th Street. This one at 21st Avenue has become a New York & Company clothing store.

The Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst area has a proliferation of streets called “Bay”, “Ridge” or “Bay Ridge” — there’s Ridge Boulevard, Ridge Court, Ridgecrest Terrace, and Bay Ridge Avenue, Bay Ridge Parkway, Bay Ridge Place, Bay Cliff Terrace, the numbered Bay streets from 7 to 54, and Bay Parkway, which early on replaced 22nd Avenue on maps. All are named for wither the Narrows or the steep hill, or ridge, that rises in Brooklyn on its east side.

When the West End was placed on an el as part of the Dual Contracts transportation purchase in the 1910s, several wider streets were given concrete spans with terra cotta embellishments. This one at Bay Parkway was undergoing renovation in mid-2011; another such, at Ocean Parkway, was wonderfully restored and appointed in 2010.

Where the sidewalks are wider, open-air bazaars selling everything from rugs to grocery items can be found along 86th Street such as this one at 2203.

Riding past on the el, this ancient sign for Orloff’s, established, as it says, in August 1902 at 2211 86th, was always partially obscured. For the present, in 2011, it was in full view. The establishment was here before the el…

Gravesend historian Joseph Ditta: According to this advertisement from the program for the Annual Fair of the Epworth League of the Cropsey Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, August 19-21, 1909, Orloff’s sold dry goods, gents’ furnishings, and shoes.

Bensonhurst had always been identified as 85%-90% Italian-American–at least it seemed to be in the 1970s and 1980s. No longer — Asian immigrants have settled in large numbers, and Russians and other Eastern Europeans have migrated northwest from Brighton Beach.

Help me with this domed HSBC branch at 2301 86th — of course, it used to be a different bank. It likely dates to the 1930s-40s as it’s rife with Machine Age iconography, such as eagles, manly barechested men and comely barebreasted women. Beehives always have symbolized thriftiness but what of the winged wheel and other symbols?

The Licodiesi Brotherhood Society, a social club, reminds us there is still a strong Italian presence. Club members hail from Licodia Eubea, Sicily.

Engine 253, a firehouse east of 24th Avenue, is so nice I shot it twice.

The Parfitt Brothers, the architect of four firehouses in Brooklyn during 1895-96, designed Engine Company 253 (a designated New York City Landmark)… Located in Bensonhurst, one of the first six towns established in Kings County [actually New Utrecht –ed.], the upper stories display multiple step gables…

Step gables, also known as corbie or crow gables were popular in northern Europe from the 14th  to the 17th century. Inspired by Gothic and Italian  Mannerist sources, the style gained great popularity in Holland during the early seventeenth century. Of the three types of Dutch gables identified by the architectural historian W. Kuyper in Dutch Classicist Architecture, Engine Company No. 258 falls into the category of “proto Baroque.” Though the prominent churches designed by sculptor and architect Hendrick de Keyser (1565-1621) did not incorporate step gables, his flamboyant use of contrasting materials and oversized classical details did have a significant influence on the design of private residences in Amsterdam, particularly canal houses. Crowned by elaborate step gables and sandstone details, these slender multi-story brick residences were imitated by current builders in New Netherlands and were known by subsequent generations through printed images and descriptions. NYC Landmarks Preservation Commission

Branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, known popularly as the Mormon Church, 2455 86th.

It’s fitting that, at the triangle formed by West 13th Street, 86th Street (yes, in Brooklyn 13th Street can intersect 86th) and Avenue U, Antonio Meucci Square is opposite a large Verizon building containing offices, relays and switches.

Meucci was the inventor of the telephone as far back as the 1850s (Alexander Graham Bell was able to obtain a patent for it before Meucci could afford one).


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328 Responses to 86th STREET in Bensonhurst

    • Jeffrey H. Wasserman says:

      I guess the dome’s the tip-off since the original Williamsburgh Savings Bank HQ is similarly domed.

      • Camille DeRosa Widdows says:

        2301 86th Street was the Williamsburgh Savings Bank in the 50’s 60’s and 70’s when I lived on Bay 35th Street. I passed it every day to get to school at St Mary’s. They gave out little cut outs of Santa that when folded stood up. Great memories! Loved shopping at Spinners, the open market and the Pork Store and Macaroni store that had macaroni in plastic bins. Reliable bakery was the best and the pizza wars were unforgettable.

        • Frank R. Rizzuto says:

          As has been said, the bank on 23rd Ave and 86th was a Williamsburg Savings Bank. It was put up in the late Forties or early Fifties. Before that, there were several stores located where the bank now stands. The only one I remember distinctly was a store which sold house-made pasta and cheese, bread (which was from Reliable Bakery down the block towards 24th), etc. They had glass enclosed sections under the counter which was filled with grated cheese, parmigiano and pecorino, one for each and the smell of that store was fantastic!

          • Naomi says:

            I had a friend who worked at Reliable and I would leave home at 8:45 pm from Stillwell and V to meet up with her. Reliable had the best square pizza anywhere.

          • Fran says:

            OMG, I lived on 24th off of 86th Street down the block from the skating rink and bowling alley. And yes I thought Reliable bakery pizza was the best and Lenny’s made good rice balls.

          • Nina Giovannucci says:

            I lived on 85th Street between Bay Parkway. What was the name of the Italian pastry shop on the corner of 23rd Avenue And 86th street. Best Italian pastries ever

          • Louis Scorza says:

            The bakery you are thinking of was DiFillipe. It was on 86th, between 23rd Ave. and Bay 34th, one or two stores off the corner of Bay 34th St.

        • Mike King says:

          I remember the Reliable Bakery and the great pizza they made tthere. I was a very small child and I remember Mazie who worked there or possibly was the owner always giving me free cookies.It was such a great area to grow up in and people were so warm and friendly.

          • Bob B says:

            My grand aunt always called Reliable “Mazie’s”. We used to feast on that pizza. Nellies pizza down the block was great, too.

          • salvatore soriano says:

            you may remember my mom ANN who worked there with Mayzie Decarlo for many years. Owners were Mike,Mario,Ross and Albert doing business as DeCARLO BROS RELIABLE BAKERY…

          • Ed Shea says:

            I remember the Sicilian slices, your mom, dad, Amedeo and more Sal. You lived in Bath Beach on Bay 35th, ‘tween Bath & Cropsey Avenues. Nice place for kids at the time. Though, one hell.of a lot has changed there and elsewhere.

          • stella says:

            Their Sicilian was the best!!! Every day after school.

        • John Falcone says:

          The Williamsburgh Savings Bank on 86th st. & 23rd ave,. Was built late 1952… I was hired as a teller in Jan. 1953… Retired July 1987… As Senior Vice President & Cashier…wonderful memories that will never be forgotten….

      • John says:

        What was the name of the women’s double store that had women’s extra large sizes? It was on 86 street.

      • Annette says:

        There was an Italian restaurant across 86th street opposite the Williamsburg bank. It was a small restaurant between 23rd nd 24th Avenues. Do you remember the name?

        • nick says:

          russos frankie russo and his mother to the right one block was villa Caserta and to the left towards bay 35th was marys venetian garden

        • Anonymous says:

          The name of the Italian Resturant was across from the Williamsburg savings bank was Villa Ruggiero. Grew up on 23 rd Ave between 86 and Benson. Never ate out until I went there as a young adult. Mom and Pop restaurant.

    • Arthur Cohn says:

      I lived at 2302 85th street from 1936 to 1943, when I was 7 years old. The Bank was put up after Pearl Harbor. I remember a malted shop there. and after the war started, the store was used as a collection site for scrap iron, which I helped to collect.

      • CC says:

        Hey, I also lived at that 2302 85th st. address, from 1965 to 1977, age 6 to 18. I loved that old building. Used to practice hockey against those Williamsburg bank doors (the puck was soft:-). I think back on those days with great fondness. I saw The Sound of Music and many Disney films at the Benson. It was always a special event to go there. Thanks very much for the memory.

    • jeff frankel says:

      does anybody recall one above two below head shop on 86th street on the second floor? that was the best time in the day I was there in the very early 70’s or Arlene’s jeans store on bay parkway. I went to ps 128 in the late 60’s and went to Cavalo Jr High they was a store right near the school where all the fights to place from Beach Beach Boys. The leader Clayton had a fight in the school yard pretty sure he died as a teenager.Mrs Roake was the principal.I lived directly across PS 128 in an apartment. Anybody recall Jeff Frankel I am 57 now jeffrfrankel@aol.com

      • Anthony says:

        I also went to ps 128 back in the late 70’s and we also lived directly across the street from it in the apartment building (2080 84th st.) on the second floor. I remember the landlord. I think his name was Carmello. I remember his kids to. We would see movies like Jaws, Grease, and yes Saturday Night Fever. Every kid thought he was John Travolta LOL. I remember playing off the wall, stick ball, wiffle ball, and making skelly caps to play on the sidewalk whenever we had chalk. I also remember the night there was a blackout. What did we do in Bensonhurst? We threw a blackout block party! Disco, roller skates and fun!!! Those were the days. I’ll be 43 in Jan 2016 so Im not as old as most of the crowd here on this site but I remember it like it was yesterday. I still have school work on the classic Mead black and white composition notebooks from ps 128 my mother saved all these years.

      • Jay Kanter says:

        Jeff, I lived on Bay 29th.St. between 86th and Benson and I have wonderful memories of the years from the late 60’s to now. Their are so many things to say but for your info ‘One above Two below’ was actually a head shop owned by the Bandel Brothers Bobby and Richie. I wonder if you recall a music store at 2168 86th called ‘Happy Tunes’ which I was part owner. If you take a walk down 86th today everything is gone.

    • tommy sannuto jr says:

      hi fellow breuklynites,Ive really been enjoying reading all the comments and replies on bensonhurst and 86th Street back in the day. I realize that I’m very late to the party,but id like to put my 2 cents in,for whatever its worth.I was born my parents #1 son @ 61st St.& 20th Ave.on 01/30/52.In 1953,my mother got pregnant w/my brother joseph.we then were forced to buy our own house in Lakeview,W.Hempstead in Nassau Co.where we were raised for 13 years w/2 additions to the family.our brothers john,’7/26/59,& Michael,8/09/65.In other words, I missed what it would have been like to grow-up in the city.I don’t know it that was a good thing or not.But our cousins,when they visited us affectionately labeled us “the hicks in the sticks”.to this day they say that they loved coming to our house for dinner on Sundays be cause it was so nice and quiet out there.it was the country to them.

  1. Fred Phillips says:

    I enjoyed this posting immensely. It brought back memories from the 1960’s where I would walk along this same route, from my home in Homecrest to the Staten Island Ferry (Brooklyn). The architecture has changed very little over the years, but the businesses along the way have. I miss the old theaters throughout Brooklyn, and wish I could remember the original identities of the banks. Thanks for these pictures.

  2. Richie O says:

    The bank that you have here on the corner of 23rd Avenue and 86th Street was once the Williamsburg Savings Bank. I walked past this thing for eight years going to school at St. Mary’s which is on the next block at 85th Street

  3. Tal Barzilai says:

    Until I saw a picture for that Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, I thought that the only on NYC had was at the Lincoln Center, though it could be that they are not so major around here.

  4. howie says:

    I liked your piece, very much and was sad to read about Lowe’s theatre; living as I do outside the USA I don’t get the news, right away. Missing from your blog are descriptions of the wonderful brick-laying techniques used in some of the buildings. Commensurate with using copper – penny metal – to symbollically depict Liberty for even the poorest of people in the Statue of Liberty, the artistic brick architecture one observes on 86th street shows a creative popular expression despite the obvious inflexibility of the material. I’d liked to have heard and seen more about this. Also the iron fire-escapes which are disappearing and which were so much a part of Brooklyn life need active remembrance and photographic depiction. Loved engine-house 253 but where are the clues to the gradual changeover from Dutch-Ami to Irish-Ami to Italien-Ami to Jewish-Ami to Black-Ami to Chinese-Ami (Somehow 86th st. skipped Puerto Rican generation) which life on 86th st. exemplifies? Did enslaved people spread to 86th st. from the safe haven in the Boro-Hall region? Are there any indications of underground railroad activity on 86th st? LG, howie

    • Stephanie says:

      I don’t think there’s been any sort of African-American presence in Bensonhurst. It went from Irish/Italian/Jewish to Asian/Russian pretty quickly, though there are still plenty of Italian pockets.

      • vicki says:

        I am also a native of Bensonhurst and you are right Steph, there was never really african americans or hispanics here. An African American youth was killed by Italian youths in Bensonhurst and Al Sharpton marched down 18th ave in protest. Mike Riccardi tried to kill him by stabbing him. Right now Bensonhurst is still strongly Italian with a large number of Chinese, Russian and South Asian people. I do see some Mexicans here and there though. Bensonhurst is Brooklyn’s Little Italy. There’s still about 20,000 Italian speaking natives. When my mom grew up here though it practically felt like living in Southern Italy.

        • jmaz98 says:

          I grew up on Bay 20th St. Until the 70s, at least, there was an African-American presence around Bath Ave and Bay 17-19th Streets. My grandfather had told me they were descendants of the servants that used to work in the mansions owned by the Irish in the early 20th century. .

          • Maria says:

            I grew up in the 1950’s on 85th St just off 18th Ave. There was a small number of African Americans who lived on 18th Ave between Cropsey Ave & Bath Ave. My mother told me they were decendents of slaves who had come from the south 100 years earlier. I have no idea if she was correct though.

          • robert dipaolo says:

            You are correct…there was a prescence of African Americans on Bath Ave near St.Finbars…but I was told they lived there because they took care of horses…not sure if they were trolley horses or it there was a track stable near by.

          • FRANK CAGNO says:

            Do u have a photo of the bay at shore parkway &
            Bay pwy.
            Before they build Korvettes.

          • mike santa says:

            your mom was correct. and they were very peaceful people, great place to grow up I was born on 86th st Stillwell ave, I went to ps 248,David a boody.

        • Mike m. says:

          Lived in bensonhurst 1939 tilabout 1970 went to p.s 200 jhs 128 lafayette hs how about irvings rest. And doyles poolroom downstairs drove a nyc taxi then went civil service live near las vegas now still hav a sister in old hood hope to go visit before I check out

          • Mike m. says:

            Also was a bank teller at dime savings bank at 19thave and 86 st in early 60sO

          • freddy abrams says:

            born in bensonhurst 1946-1970.lived 20th.ave/benson ave(8703 20th)
            the african /amer family were the “Johnson” family,i went to school ps 200
            with bruce.nevis(sp)and his sister…didn’t know the family back round.
            i loved the hood…did all the “first” in life there.. first kiss/lost virginity /first joint
            going to school…learned life….this site was awesome…i just put a trip back to the hood on the list (i’ve lived in seattle,wa.for 40 yrs) have not been back for 20+yrs.
            get back to me if you know me…freddy1113@gmail.com

          • Anonymous says:

            hey Freddie i was just thinking of Bruce his brother Austin

          • louis c governara says:

            I went to 128 with Bruce and Austin Johnson great family they welcomed me into there home many times,i think there dad was a member of the inkspots singing group,a great time to grow up in brooklyn.We were second generation Bath Beach Boys. My name is Louie nickname Bop,i think you friends with mike tubba or Barry hoffman cant remember but know your name for sure.thank care god bless

        • Anonymous says:

          He was walking down 20th Ave. Not 18th ave

    • Angie says:

      Howie – I believe there was a large Jewish presence in Bensonhurt before the Irish and Italians moved in. I’ve seen pictures from the early 1900s where many of the stores on 86th St. were owned by Jews and sold goods geared towards their culture. I grew up in Bensonhurst in the ’60s and ’70s and we had quite a few Jewish neighbors (mostly in the Bay streets and most definitely in Contello Towers).

      This was a great article, by the way! Brought back a lot of memories.

    • Sal says:

      Bensonhurst does have African/American presence in the community, Marlboro Houses.

  5. kallikak says:

    Another wonderful journey down memory lane. I was especially interested in your focus on bank branches, as I was responsible for the one located at 2150-54 86th Street (corner of Bay 29th Street; now Capital One, originally Bowery Savings Bank). The Bowery acquired Equitable Federal Savings via merger circa 1980. Equitable had a small branch (we called it “the candy store”) farther out on 86th that couldn’t be expanded because the neighbors wouldn’t cut a deal.

    Our targets in the neighborhood were Dime, Williamsburgh and a couple of others who were collectively fat and happy at the time. Bensonhurst was—and probably still is—a terrific neighborhood for retail banking. After much sturm and drang with pretty much every building owner along the street, we were finally able to cut a deal at 2150. With our marketing clout, the relocated branch did very well (more than $200 million in deposits the last time I looked, many years ago). Later, as the banking sector imploded, the branch was passed to several successor entities, including the current owner, Capital One.

    P.S. How about a story on Dubrow’s at Kings Highway and E. 16th St.? I knew the owner (last of the storied steam-table clan) and attempted to co-locate a mini-branch before he sold out to the GAP.

    • robin f says:

      wow, a banker who can write! interesting backstory. I grew up in Contello Towers on Cropsey.

      • kallikak says:

        Thanks. My two brothers are professional writers. I was always more the number-cruncher, but given the opportunity…

        P.S. My job in the 70s and 80s required detailed knowledge of neighborhood demographics and traffic flows. The best way to acquire these was to walk the streets with discerning eyes and ears. Forgotten NY brings the varied pleasures of NYC’s many neighborhoods to a broad audience. Thank you, FNY staff and GAHS for your wonderful contribution to the city’s culture and history!

        • Karen says:

          I grew up on 86th st and 20th, 2053 86th to be exact, I’ve tried to google that address several times and couldn’t recognize a single store no less the one I grew up on top of, my question is, did they change the numbers? I’d love to be able to talk with some who also grew up in the area, I went to Bensonhurst JH which was also P.S 128, we left the area in 1965 when my parents bought their first home, I was only 15 and thought my world ended haha, Ronkonkoma L.I who? What is that? It took me years to get BKLYN out of my dreams but never ever out of my heart or who I am!

          • karl constantino says:

            I remember Bensonhurst well. I too went to PS 128 and left there in 1964 and went onto Lafayette HS, graduating in 1968. Fun we had and it was a wonderful neighborhood. I still get back at least once a year to walk around and marvel at the changes, but one thing for sure, it is still Bensonhurst. I lived on 81st between 20 and 21st avenue.

          • janet says:

            I went to PS 128 I believe I was in 5th grade in 1968. I had Mr. Yelnick in 6th grade.

          • Richie says:

            Lives at 2071-86th street on top of Rosenthals Curtain Store, next to Ebinger’s Bakery. Lives there with my Brother Paulie,Robert & my sister Fran.
            I remember a kid named Bernard Winerger living on top on Nagel’s toy store on the same block. Also Eugene & this family living closer to the Benson Theater, Terri & Bobby Manimo living around the corner on 85th street & 20th Ave.Which Store did you live on top iff.

          • Richie says:

            I kind of remember a girl named Karen living near me on 86th street. they did not change the numbers on the stores. If you remember me then I say Hello to you because I remember the young girl moving to Long Island.

          • Dianne. says:

            I agree with you 100% born in Brooklyn lived over a store on 86th. street . to this day I drive into Brooklyn once a month still go to the same butcher love shopping there there is something great about BROOKLYN.

          • frank previte says:

            lived over lennys pizza in 50s and i think a slice was 15 cents: when i had a dollar in change i would go to the dime bank and get a silver dollar: bensonhurst and bayridge is where i grew up and have great memories.

      • walter says:

        Robin, I lived above Margie Merz`s Grocery store, Across the street was a vacant lot. This is where Contello # 1 was built. Margie`s became Fred`s. The Burkes owned the building Harmony candy store was in, before it became Harmony it was a Tavern called The Old Oak. Contello # 3 was built where beach houses stood. The parents of friend of mine cut a deal for an apartment in 3 for the property they gave up. Another friend `s parents moved thier house down Cropsey Avenue to the South corner of Bay 50th and Cropsey. Contello # 2 took out more friend`s houses and a small U.S. Army Depot. We hung-out in the park.. Murphy`s was a wooden shack news stand but by the time # 1 was built old man Calucci was able to build the brick bldg. on Bay 47th & Crop. His son Buck sold it in 1975.

        • freddy abrams says:

          hi walter,
          i live in contello #2…moved from 20th ave.when i was 15
          i ate in murphy’s all the time..steak sandwich were the best.
          knew buck and fay, old man calucci…buck had a nephew jackie
          who hung at the park..played basketball in the park..left the hood 1970.

    • Pearl says:

      I would so welcome a story on Dubrows. I met my first boyfriend there in 1963. Any pictures or stories still available?

    • LRA says:

      You’re talking about Dubrow’s and skipping the Famous? Sacre bleu! And, yes, I knew Irving’s well. It predated Jahn’s, another popular hangout that replaced Woolworth, where we’d sometimes stop just before returning from lunch to JHS128 to buy 10 cents worth of M&M’s. Early ’60’s, y’know.

      • herb hader says:

        We owned the Famous Cafeteria.for 48 years. I went too ps 200,ps128 and Lafayette high school. Great days.

        • Fred Horwitz says:

          I also went to PS 128 then to Lafayette High and was on the basketball team with a kid named Sandy Koufax and another ball player by the name of Freddie Wilpon. We hung out on the corner of 86th street and Bay Parkway and the Famous Cafeteria down from Albas poolroom where we sometimes shot pool with Paul Sorvino. Peter Maxx the artist showed up once in a while also. One day in the Lafayette cafeteria a student entered and the whole place stood up and cheered and it was a kid named Nick Martino who had won the middleweight Golden Gloves Championship the night before and years later his brother had a part in the Godfather but got wacked for setting up Sonny to be ambushed. Yup thems were the days my friend, I’ll be 80 next month but can still do the “moon walk”. C, Ya!

          • Karen "Alba" says:

            My dad, Joe Alba, owned Alba’s poolroom. He always fondly remembered his “boys” including Paul Sorvino, Sandy Koufax, and many other Lafayette alumni. I was a little girl at the time so he only allowed me up before the start of business.

          • Anonymous says:

            What was the name of the candy store on 86th St. and Bay Parkway

        • Fred Horwitz says:

          I still have a ticket you forgot to punch Herbilah. Freddie Horwitz, Lafayette ’53. My friends tell me you now live in Fla. near Melvin Kaiser and Howie Briman.

        • Mildred D says:

          Hi Herb,
          I remember you from P.S.200, JHS128, and Lafayette H.S. We basically were in every school together until college started. It was years before I
          realized that your family owned the famous “Famous Cafeteria”. When my parents took me there it was a great treat. My favorite dish was
          halibut steak with sides of mashed potatoes and creamed spinach. Yum!
          Yes… they were great days….Mildred

        • Fred LaVenuta says:

          On one of our first dates I took my girlfriend (now wife of 50 years) to the Famous for dinner. We still talk about what a great place it was. I’d like to say I proposed to her there but actually it was in her mother’s living room in Park Slope. My family moved from Borough Park to 85th and Bay Parkway (2216 85th St.) in 1955. I had started at New Utrecht H.S. prior to moving and I was allowed to finish high school at New Utrecht. I lived there until 1965 when my wife and I married. My mother lived there until she moved to Florida in 2000. You couldn’t ask for a better neighborhood to grow up in.

        • Sandy Beitsch says:

          Herb, why did the Famous close? The food was good and the prices very reasonable. The rumor I heard was that some of the staff on the food line would punch the ticket for lower priced items than the ones actually bought, presumably for kickbacks from the customer. Any truth to this?
          Sandy Beitsch

          • herb hader says:

            We have great memories. I moved from Miami beach to Scottsdale,Arizona 38 years ago.I a going to be 80 also.I wish we could have more reunions. Take care.

          • Tara says:

            Hi Herb

            My great grandparents were also owners of Famous Cafeteria, I’m guessing before you My great grandfather was isadore freedberg (friedberg). So excited to stumble upon this thread.

          • Adelaide Rubino Fenton says:

            Famous and Irving’s were they only place to meet in the late fifties and sixties. The place we all went after Lafayette basketball games. Great memories; I just loved reading all these comments.

      • stella says:

        The Famous!!! Many breakfasts there after the bars closed!! And the place on the corner of 86th and Bay Parkway made the BEST egg creams ever. I miss it all. I now live in the land of fruit and nuts “California” but my heart is always in Brooklyn.

        • Linda says:

          I grew up in the Marlboro Projects…(we were not all criminals)….I have fond memories of Famous after we went to Club under the El.

  6. Winnie says:

    I grew up on Fort Hamilton Parkway and 55th Street in Boro Park but I think I walked the length & Breadth of Brooklyn when I was a kid. Walked form our block to Prospect Park, Sunset Park and the other way to Leif Erikson Park. The Brighton Beach El was a 3 block walk south of Fort Hamilton Parkway and shopped on 13th avenue. I miss the Appetizer Store and the Pizzaria that we would grab lunch. Shopped in National Shoes on 13th Avenue and the Hardware store. So many years have passed since I was a kid but I will always be a Brooklyn Girl. Like I tell People, You can take the girl out of the city but you can’t take the city out of the girl. Great memories of the borough of Brooklyn.

    • Dorothy says:

      Well as we can see it has changed. My mom was born there in 1923. I was born in Bayridge in 1959. We lived on 55th Street between 6th and 7th. We enjoyed shopping on 5th Ave. We had Woolworth’s, Lerner’s, The Bayridge Savings Bank, Lesnick’s, Parker and Megna pharmacy, Ebinger’s, Loft’s on the corner. They always had the best candy displays in the area. Getting the perfect tree @ Christmas. OLPH. Going to 86th St. was a treat. All four of us went to P.S.94 from 1955 (brother) until I finished in 1970. My nephew and niece went there too. My sister went to Fort Hamilton High. We took trips to Shore Road. Enjoyed Sunset Park. We took day trips to ride the Staten Island Ferry, Central Park was wonderful we rented row boats, had picnics. Went to the zoo and met Jerry Stiller and Ann Meara. So many good memories. It seems that once we moved away no matter where it is, it’s never the same. Our kids would not know the joy of the neighborhood.

    • Ken P says:

      I also lived at 55th and Ft Hamilton Pkway, above Solomon’s Pharmacy. Ben Solomon was my grandfather. Which corner were you at?

  7. Old Skool says:

    There has to be a way besides photoshop to keep the golden arches out of the pix of the fire station. And by the way is Hackman something else or what?

  8. Suzanne says:

    I grew up on 84th Street and 15th Avenue and have only recently moved out of the neighborhood. I can recall every crack in the sidewalk walking with you down 86th Street. Thanks so much for creating this site and sharing in the history that is our city!!

    • Francesca Passalacqua says:

      Anch’io sono cresciuta sulla 84th street e 15th avenue dal 1969 al 1974/75, ho frequentato PS 204 Dyker Heights 201 and New Utricht HS. Adesso abito in SICILIA ma questo sito e foto mi fanno venire vecchi ricordi, sopratutto lo shopping il sabato a 86 Street from the Dimes SB to 25th avenue da Macdonald ‘s. Continuate a parlare di Brooklyn che a me piace tantissimo.

  9. Ferryboi says:

    Anyone know if the Van Pelt home belonged to the same Van Pelt’s that were so prominent on Staten Island? There’s a Van Pelt Ave in Mariner’s Harbor and a Van Pelt family cemetery in Richmondtown. I was always under the assumption the Van Pelt’s were local to Staten Island, but probably not a stretch to think they may have been in New Utrecht too.

  10. chris says:

    The winged wheel symbolizes swiftiness

  11. Allen Benett says:

    The McDonald’s in the building on the corner of 20th Avenue is the location of Shirt Town were Vinny bought his disco shirt in Saturday Night Fever.

  12. Adrastos says:

    Wow, this is my neighborhood, right at Bay Parkway and 86th street.

    The train station at Bay Parkway is getting a full overhaul. They have already installed new windows which are hunter green with mutons. The tiles have since been cleaned and the concrete structure has been painted as well.

    The area is losing it’s Italian feel as many, many Asians are moving into the neighborhood, and here I am, a Greek man…..were here also. !! LOL While Bensonhurst / Bath Beach is not, nor will ever be a “hip and Trendy” area or probably ever gentrified it is one of the last few truly really affordable neighborhoods. Which is good for all us working class people.

    I didn’t know Rite Aid was a theatre. Interesting.

    again, my thanks to the webmaster for taking us on this great little walk !!

    • janet says:

      86th and Bay Parkway was my neighborhood as well. Hung out at the Pizza Stop and JCH also Cropsey Park.

      • jeff frankel says:

        I went to ps 128 I am 57 now I also lived on 79st and Bay Parkway and sometimes went to the JCH I spent a short time going to Lafayette and in 75 went in the Army. One of my good friends was Jeff Sarachick he now ownes a few dog delight pet food stores in Brooklyn. I am not sure if we ever met or knew eacher been a long time but seems like we were in the same area. Oh speaking of the pizza stop my friend I think his name was Michael he parents owned it in the 70s. I used to sit in there and fold boxes for the pizza.I also had two other friends George Kirchman and John Walsh if that rings a bell.I went to Cavalero on Cropsey.

      • Fred Horwitz says:

        I was a member at the JCH for many years and played on a team called Faba Jr. and we won many championships then went on to play for Lafayette HS and graduated in 1953 with a kid named Koufax who is in the baseball Hall of Fame.

        • Gil says:

          My brother, Don, was a couple of years older than you. He also played at the JCH. His team was the Warriors. Larry King (not his name then) was also on the Warriors, but I don’t know if he played basketball with them.

        • Ron Scalzo says:

          reading this comments does stir my memory. went to ps177 when i lived on west 2nd st and avenue p. moved to 193 bay 41st 7/27/67. went to boody and lafayette. sorry reliable pizza lovers, L&B beats it. 1am in the summer and still long lines waiting for a few squares (handles, middles, corners). memories of all the great theaters. took my GF now married 42 yrs to the dyker. saw they shoot horses dont they, where we held hands in the dark for the first time.

          what about Mitchells, big daddys where we hung out like in the movie american graffitti. once in awhile took a drive to nathans in oceanside. remember going to coney isl walking under the boardwalk then to the hot hot hot sand. always neded a landmak for your towel because it was so crowded. i like fred horwitz remarks who went to lafayette with koufax. sandy was my idol. probably still is. i finally met him in PA where I now live. we spoke at a diner. he is such a gentleman. I think I carved koufax’s name into every desk in Lafayette.

          hung out at the white castle on 86th and stillwell. graduated in 1969. I beleive the final senior show was called SING. they did a spoof on lafayette calling it Whitze (sp) castle because the principals last name was whitze(sp). them were the days…

          • S Genti says:

            Reliable pizza was thus far the best pizza money could buy in the fifties and sixties for !5 cents a slice and 30 cents for a double slice wrapped up in white bakery paper and tied with string to take out. I also remember Rex bakery across the street who also had good pizza when Reliable had none. Them sure where the days.

          • Linda says:

            When I tell people the best pizza I had came from a bakery they look at me like I am not remembering correctly. I also grew up with Reliable and Rex. I can picture the owner of Rex bakery but can’t remember his name. Do you?
            My dad owned Independent Meat Market.

          • Steve G says:

            Does anyone remember Ralp’s ice cream and candy store across from Roll- a- rama on 24th ave and 86th street or tony’s bike shop on Bay 31 and 86th street.

      • Joe ferraro says:

        Hi Janet
        My uncle owned the pizza stop
        I now live in Australia
        Joey ferraro

    • Wayne Q says:

      I remember having my 4th, 5th and 6th birthday parties at Jhans ice cream parlor on the corner of 86th and I think 23rd Ave.
      The kitchen sink was enough for 10 kids!!!!

  13. John Dereszewski says:

    Excellent article – as usual – Kevin. While I grew up in far away Greenpoint, my aunt and uncle moved to Bath Beach – on Bay 8th St. – in 1957. So I got to know this neck of the woods rather well. I distinctly remember shopping on 86th St. with my aunt and discovering the bazzare like businesses that plied their wares on the extremely wide sidewalk situated beyond Bay Parkway. I had never seen anything like it, and this early experience etched itself in my memory. It’s good to see that this use still exists, though I am sure that the mix of businesses has greatly changed.

  14. K-Train says:

    If you look carefully at the concrete viaduct at Bay Parkway there are still cut-outs in the lateral beams over at 86th Street that were used to accommodate the overhead power for the former B&QT #34 Bayridge-13 Ave-86th Street streetcar line. (now B1 and B64 busses).

  15. KevinJWalsh says:

    Saturday Night Fever will be shown Saturday evening (Dec 31) on Channel 11

  16. Dave C. says:

    Great article. I checked the video of Vinny walking do’wn the street with his pizza and got swept up into all sorts of related
    You Tubes about Brooklyn accents, Italians vs. Irish, the Italians are not white”, Family Guy knocks on Italians, etc. Lots of fun! dc.

  17. Vincent La Marca says:

    I remember the Benson Twin. I watched the “Karate Kid” there in late 1984. I used to shop on 86th St. in the mid to late 1980s and I know that the theater was closed by 1988, replaced first by a Pathmark drug store and later by a Rite Aid.

  18. Don Cuevas says:

    My parents, grandparents, aunt and uncle lived up in an apartment on 86th St.. I have fond memories of both the Benson Theatre (where I went to the movies for the first time with my buddies) and the Loew’s Oriental, where I saw The Three Musqueteers at least twice.

    Also fondly remembered was Hy Tulip’s Deli, to which I would make forays, usually over the busy street by way of the El Station, to get takeout orders of hot dogs and leaden but delicious knishes. This was back in the late 40s and in the 50s.

    Don Cuevas

    • karl constantino says:

      the potato salad was so good. The corned beef sandwiches were dynamite too. Sals news stand next door was where my buddy worked and he dated a girl around the corner who was named Karen. They went to New Utrecht HS and I went to Lafayette HS.

    • Fred Horwitz says:

      I dated Hy Tulips daughter Cynthia, Iris Tulip back in the 50,s, she was a very pretty young gal but I never even got a free hotdog.

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  22. jack says:

    I worked at Alpine motors the pontiac dealer at 86th st and 18th ave..Anyone have any pictures of that ?

    • carri Levy says:

      No , but my Grandfather Harvey Schiff built it, and my father Jack Schff owned it until 1975.

  23. Dawn says:

    Uncle Bobby’s Bagels was housed where the McDonalds is on 86ht Street and 20th Avenue. a fun place to work back in the early 90’s!

    • Allen says:

      Uncle Bobby’s was next to the Benson Entrance. They were in fact in the same building. McDonalds is now where Shirt Town was (The store where Tony in Saturday Night Fever buys the shirt on the way back to the paint store)

      • Tommy says:

        Allen and Dawn: you’re both correct! Uncle Bobby’s Bagels was first located next to the Benson Theater, but Uncle Bobby’s later moved across 20th Avenue to the corner where the McDonald’s is located.

        I know this partly because I worked at Uncle Bobby’s when it first opened in 1981! I was a 15-year-old bagel baker. In fact, I even worked there before it opened, helping with the construction and other prep.

  24. Jennifer says:

    Glad to finally find out what kind of store Orloff’s was. I remember first seeing the building uncovered the day they took the awnings down that covered the facade. I was on my way home from work standing on the platform of the Bay Parkway station and immediately thought to send an e-mail to Forgotten NY.

  25. PAUL says:

    FYI the MacDonald’s at 20th & 86th Street was Lach’s Haberdashery from the 30’s up to the early 60’s. There was an A&P market between 19th Ave. & Bay 20th St. When my mother took me shopping with her in the 40’s she used a shopping cart and literally could not fit $10.00 worth of groceries in the cart. The first modern supermarket to open in Bensonhurst was a Grand Union on 20th Ave. aboout a 100 feet from 86th St. built on the site of a glove factory that had closed. It was off the SE corner. It opened circa 1950.

  26. Irving D. Kaplan says:

    I grew up on 81st street between 19th and 20th Avenue. I attended PS 128, PS 186 and New Utrecht High School. My social life was at the JCH on Bay Parkway. My passion as a young boy was punch ball, stick ball, johnny on pony, four box baseball, etc. etc. Oops I forgot “the girls” !
    I left Brooklyn when I was accepted into dental school and headed for Washington DC. I was married at that time. I will never forget my friends who I played basketball with at ther “J”.
    My friends retired to Florida and I retired to Long Island.
    Respectfully submitted

    • Karen says:

      I went to 128 also, then started Lafayette and 1 month later moved to LI that was back in 1965

    • karl constantino says:

      I actually grew up down the block from you. I lived on 81st between 20 and 21st. The days of stick ball and all the fun we had is long gone, but great memories. I went to PS 128 and Lafayette HS. I played guitar with the 3 brothers who lived on your block. They lived on the left side, Dominick, Danny, and one other brother. They had a great sound and played at the club on 20th avenue. I also played at a number of the terraces on 18th avenue in the 1960s and 1970s. Time has really moved on, but Bensonhurst will always be Bensonhurst.

      • janet says:

        I must know you, I lived on 82nd between bay parkway and 21st in the Americana

        • Helayne says:

          Janet I know you, I babysat for you. Our parents were friends. My mom was Frances. You are Harriet and Sauls daughter right?

          My neighborhood as well. Lived on 82nd st between bay pkwy and 21st ave. went to 128 aka Bensonhurst jr HS from K thru 9th, went on to Lafayette grad class of 64. Just had our 50th reunion this past may and what a blast that was. I live in St. Louis now, but am heading east for a week this Sunday. Staying at my sis house in NJ but the first thing I want to do is drive into bklyn and have a slice and coke.

          Great memories on this page. Thanks to all for putting it together and keeping this up.

          • susan says:


            I played with a girl named Randy Berg who lived in a building on that street, I think she had a neighbor named Helayne. I’m wondering if that’s you. It was in the early 60’s, she moved to Trump Village in 1964. I think her parents were Pete and Frances.

          • Fred Horwitz says:

            Nice meeting you Helayne, this is your brother Fred and my mothers name was Frances too!

      • Louie says:

        Wow I came across this Karl I am cousins with Dom(Dickie) to us, Danny and Steve the other brother …..unfortunately they are no longer with us ………boy do I miss those days of listening to them play ….. my older cousins ……and the days of the fireworks at 81st, yes im writing this on the 4th of July 2015 lol… so great to hear of someone who remembers the old days …..nothing like them….hope you see this and respond……..

      • Louie says:

        Karl you can contact me at summerfevr@aol.com

      • Fred Horwitz says:

        I lived on 82nd st between 21st ave. and Bay Parkway and my friend Dave lived in what was called the Levy – Baird Mansion which was on the corner of 81st and 21 st avenue and he was related to the original owners. The large grounds were sold to developers and 2 two family homes were built on the grounds. I don’y know if the original mansion is still there.

  27. Irving D. Kaplan says:

    I forgot: At the date of posting I am two weeks short of my 79th birthday.

    • Karen says:

      After going down to your next post I realized you may have went to 128 with my father, uncle or aunt. I know you also had to know Ms Mezma, not sure I spelled that right but anyway she was an old stern teacher and my entire family had her as a teacher haha..

      • Fran says:

        I’m smiling…grew up at 8020 bay parkway and 8001 bay parkway…Miss .Mezma was my fifth grade teacher…will never forget her. Never, never skip the first line of writing in your notebook! Lol

        • LRA says:

          You really are from Brooklyn! Can’t pronounce — or write — a final letter “R.” Her name was Mesmer (perhaps two “S’s”?) and she was a martinet. She taught in the junior-high part of 128 in my time (I finished 9th grade in 1962 and went on to Lafayette) as she did when my brother, older than I by six years, was in her class. My mother filed a complaint then with the principal when she learned that Miss Mesmer had been taking the kids’ lunch money to inflate the class donation to Mothers’ March of Dimes; a typical class donation would have been $4, that is, a dime per student, but Mesmer’s class came up with something closer to $40. That, at any rate, is how I recall my mother’s telling of the incident.

        • Fred Horwitz says:

          Three of my friends lived at 8020 Bay parkway, Artie Wunderlich, Jerry Meyers and Joel KOchman and we all played on the lot across the street where they built a synogoge and took away our ball field.

      • Fred Horwitz says:

        Mrs. Mesma was a Spanish teacher and stern is what she was, in fact my friend Jerry knocked her over her desk once ank from grad he was held back from graduating with us because of it. He still maintains it was worth it and yes, he’s still my friend and attended my Bar-Mitsvah at the “J”.

        • Sandy Beitsch says:

          Are you sure of that? Mesmer taught some combination of civics and history.
          Sandy Beitsch

          • Gil says:

            Memories of JHS 128. My Spanish teacher at 128 was Mrs. Lightfoot. In her class, I was in the front row. My most memorable moment was one day while she was leaning on the front of my desk she was lecturing the class on bad language she heard. While her face was a mere foot or so from mine, she said she was upset about a certain four-letter word she kept hearing.

            “Oh no she isn’t” I thought.

            “And that word is spelled…”

            Please don’t spell it while you are so close to me.

            “And that word is spelled…”

            Don’t do it. Please don’t do it.

            “H – E – L – L”

            A deathly silence fell over the class as nobody knew how to react. Keeping from breaking out in hysterics while she was so close to me was the most difficult thing I did while at that school.

            My other Spanish teacher at 128 was Mr. Johnson (who appeared to be dating my English teacher Miss O’Rourke because they were always seen together) His nickname was Bunny since he was forever getting locked in a stare with his top two teeth protruding over his bottom lip — looking like Bugs Bunny.

  28. Sheryl says:

    Thank you so much for this website and photos which brought back so many memories. I grew up on 85th Street in the 1950’s. So many memories. I remember the Benson Theater so well…sitting with my friends eating candy and watching Beach Blanket Bingo at least three times in one afternoon.

    Thanks for the memories. I left NY in the 70’s. I miss Bensonhurst of the 50’s and 60’s. I heard it is so much different now – even the high school I went to – Lafayette – is now a disaster with cultural gang fights, so I hear. So sad.

    Thanks again for letting me remember it as it was. What a treasure those photos are.

    • Karen says:

      I lived on the same block as the Benson, I remember going to Lenny’s for lunch, do you remember Ebinger’s Bakery, Jahns and the candy store up the block from 128

      • walter says:

        I remember when Jahns was a 5 & 10 store and many store fronts on the east side of 86th street between Bay Parkway 23rd avenue were fresh produce shops with so many customers you could barely walk by.

      • Fred Horwitz says:

        There were two candy stores there on opposite sides of the street. One was Golds and the other was Mr. Maltz’s and Larry King who was Krieger back then frequented Mr. Maltz’s

        • Inky says:

          Larry/s last name was Zeiger. Larry and I were Warriors. Larry reffed basketball games at the J. He did not play. I was an usher at his first marriage.

      • Dave schonfeld says:

        I worked at D&T gift shop next to the farm which was next to the bensen in the late 70s anyone remember those stores usta hand at alba’s

    • Paul Newman says:


      If you still log on to this site. Did you know, Dennis Lupo, Danny Orderino, or Anthony Chiarenza? Dennis lived above the vegetable market next to the Victory butcher shop. Danny lived above the Italian Bakery. Anthony lived in the apartment building on the corner of 85st, just across from the luncheonette and the same side of the street as the bakery. Murray Cohen and Harvey Taub lived in the same building. Sadly, Dennis died when he was around 23, and I lost track of Danny and Anthony. I was at PS128/BJHS from 1943-1952.


      • stephen shea says:

        Dennis Lupo jumped off the Riverdale bridge. L.S.D. must have been involved in his demise.

      • Sandy says:

        I was friends with Dennis. He killed himself after I graduated from Lafayette and went away to college.

        I have a photo of Dennis, Leon Markowitz, Dennis Mackin and myself from 1956 or so. If you give me your email, I will send you a cop

        Sandy Belkin

  29. Paul says:

    Very nice article centered around the area. I grew up in Bensonhurst (67th st, 18th av). Although I was part of the post-soviet influx of russian speaking people into the neighborhood, I still have a deep respect for the history of the area and my own fond memories of early 90’s Bensonhurst that still had very visible remnants of past eras, as well as being the last years of strong italian-american presence. These are the memories which have stuck with me…especially seeing “Lion King” at Loew’s theater in 1994, my first experience going to the movies in america. little did I know, in less than a year it would be gone, and was even less aware of the building’s history being a young, recent immigrant. Although the area has significantly changed even since I moved to another part of Brooklyn in 1999, the memories still remain.

  30. Leo says:

    Having lived at the 86th / Bay Parkway location for over 18 years and counting, I can vouch for the demographic shift in this part of Bensonhurst from the new Russian to new Asian immigrant communities.

  31. Patricia says:

    What was the name of the bakery on 86th street and bay parkway. Used to get off the B train on pay day and stop in the bakery then took the bus home.

    • PAUL says:


      It has been a while since I logged on to this website. The name of the bakery was Schlom & Deutch. It was a great Jewish bakery and just one of the many that flourished in Bensonhurst at that time. There was Gail’s on Cropsey Avenue, and Waxman’s on 20th between 84th & 85th Streets to name a couple. And of course we had Ebinger’s and all the great Italian bakeries. Now unfortunately they are but memories.


      • Karen says:

        There was nothing like Ebinger’s Blackout cake, oh and the Charlotte Rouse’s on bay pkwy, yummy…

      • Steven says:

        Thanks for that name–Schlom and Deutsch. I was racking my brain for it–I knew there was a choice of bakeries in my household, that and Ebinger’s, and many arguments were had over which was better, but I was too young to remember details. I grew up on 81st Street, between Bay Parkway and 23rd Ave, and attended PS 97, JHS 128 (which moved to Cropsey Avenue and became JHS 281 when I was in 8th grade) then Lafayette. I’m 59 years old, and moved out of the neighborhood in 1971 for good.

      • Angie says:

        There was also a great little Jewish bakery called Normandie’s on 86th St., opposite of where Bay 22 ended. Loved their leaf cookies, marble cake and bow ties! 🙂

      • Jason says:

        I’m glad you mentioned Gail’s. My great-grandfather started it and my grandfather took it over. He left the bakery in the late 1980s, but he still makes a mean cheesecake.

      • Fred Horwitz says:

        I went to Lafayette with Leslie Schlom whose folks owned the place.

    • harvey says:

      Schlom and Deitch was the bakery. Didn’t hold a candle to Ebingers!

  32. Irv says:

    got my first “feel” at the Benson in 1948. Wow that was fun !

  33. traci says:

    Although I grew up in, and went to high school , in Astoria, I spent 5 years living in Bensonhurst..I lived on the corner of Bay Parkway and Bath Avenue..I absolutely loved walking through this neighborhood. I always felt safe, even late at night. I especially loved the eclectic mix of stores on 86th St..My favorite treat was a movie at Loews Oriental. In fact, it’s where I took my children to see their very first movie..I was sad to hear it was gone now..the interior was so cool! I love the decor of the old, original theatres so much more then the multiplexes of today…I also met my first husband on 86th St when I almost hit him with my car..I have alot of fond memories of my years there, and am currently planning a trip with my kids to visit ..they are curious to see the places where mommy grew up..I wonder if I’ll still recognize anything?

  34. Dan Hoagland says:

    Thanks for this article. I moved to Bensonhurst from Prospect Heights in 1966. A lot of memories of 86th Street for the wife and I. My family dates back in Brooklyn to 1657 and my ancestors are listed in the archives of the NewUtrecht Reformed Church. I started this board http://www.easternpkwaymemories.com/phpBB/index.php in January and I have a forum for Bay RIdge and Bensonhurst if anybody is interested in sharing pictures, memories, or both.

  35. karl constantino says:

    There are so many great memories to be had, but I remember my mother walking from Spinners on 86st and 23rd ave. She would walk 86st and enjoyed it all. I remember her taking me to Jahns for ice cream as a kid, as a teenager playing pool at the pool room on 86th street and 21st avenue downstairs from Ebingers Bakery. Zeskins for school supplies next to Jahns. Ng laundry on 21st avenue and Fongs laundry on 81st street and 20th avenue, both of which I went to school with their sons. I will always be a Bensonhurstite until I die. Today 61 years later it is as crystal clear as was yesterday the wonderful folks who lived there. All nationalities living in harmony and yes in peace.

    • Dan Held says:

      Karl Constantino … I’m 15 years older than you, and a former resident of Bensonhurst. I remember the theaters, the Loew’s Oriental, the Benson, Ebinger’s, and Schlom & Deutsch bakeries, PS 128, Lincoln HS, Jahn’s, many wonderful, nice neighbors and residents of Bensonhurst but … I also remember some residents and neighbors who were Jew-haters, and who always talked of ‘killing the n****ers if they even try to move in here … ‘, so that when you talk of ‘all nationalities living in peace and harmony’ I question whether you lived there with blinders covering your eyes and cotton stuffed in your ears? Bensonhurst was never a bastion of tolerance and acceptance of other nationalities and races, in spite of the many good people in Bensonhurst who led quiet lives working, raising families and contributing to a neighborhood’s vitality. I take pride in being a Brooklynite but I remember Bensonhurst a lot more differently than most.

      • Helayne says:

        Dan, I grew up on 82nd st between bay parkway and 21st ave. I was born in 1947 and my mother until she passed away in 1985 still was there. I moved about in 1968 when I married. In all the years I lived there I never heard one disparaging remark against those that were Jewish including me. Neither did my mother, grandmother and all my cousins, aunts and uncles who also lived in the neighborhood.

      • frddy abrams says:

        i lived on 20th/benson ave from 1946(born)for 20 yrs.i NEVER heard the
        the term jew-haters or kill the ni—…
        i’m not sure where you grew up and i’d be interest to know.
        you are certainly correct(your last sentence)that you remember bensonhurst differently then most.
        thank goodness for that.
        if anyone knows out there me give me a shout….i live in seattle,wa…(west coast)
        i loved this site,learned a lot about the hood i didn’t know.

      • Sandy Beitsch says:

        I lived on Benson Ave. and Bay 29th Streets until 1969 when I was 22 and I would have to agree with Helayne and frddy, at least as regards that section of Bensonhurst. The neighborhood was then a pretty even mix of Catholic Italians and eastern European Jews and I never once heard a disparaging comment directed against any religion or race. There was a Black family that lived in a basement apartment on the corner of Bay parkway and Benson avenues and a Chinese family that ran a laundry on Bay 29th and 86th Streets and to my knowledge they were never harassed. Sandy Beitsch.

        • Jay Kanter says:

          Hi, If I am correct you are the daughter of Jack who lived at 69 Bay 29thSt on the 5th floor and I remember your father very well for many years ,we talked a thousand times. He was a wonderful man.

      • Hilary says:

        Unlike others, my memories are similar to yours. I attended YOM at 79th and Bay Parkway in the 1960s and lived at 85th and 24th. Trying to get home unscathed was an adventure.

  36. Pingback: Coney Ride ’87

  37. Sheryl says:

    Oh my gosh…I lived on 85th Street in Bensonhurst from 1953 to 1979. What memories these pics bring back…the Benson Theatre…what about Loews? (wrong spelling I’m sure – it’s been so many years).

    Heard my old highschool, Lafayette is one of the worst now with multi-racial problems. It was a pretty good school back then.

    Thank you so much for the memories. Much appreciated.

  38. Frank D'Onofrio says:

    Anyone remember the name of the Glove Factory on Utrecht Ave, and possibly the name of the owner. My Aunts used to work there, back in the 1940 -1950’s.

    • Mary says:

      I believe iot was called “Della Gloves” My mother worked there too. One of the owners was called “Jennie”

  39. AG says:

    Anyone remember my grandpa Ike’s deli with his brother n laws Jules and Jerry- ”
    called Smolinsky’s”????

    • robert says:

      Wow..we were just recently talking about Smolinsky’s on 65th street…wow just the thought….

    • Marlene says:

      Jules was my Father ! It was the best Deli in Brooklyn, NY. I also remember your grandpa Ike and your Grandmother Irene. Good memories of them.

    • Shelly from Jack and Irv's says:

      Then you had to be related to Barton Silverman………..Jules was his uncle……….we were friends forever from West 9th st.

  40. Inky says:

    In the year 1942 my dad was 38 years of age. Because of his age and he was married he did not qualify for the military. He became an air raid warden. I was nine years of age. My dad and I walked the streets of Bensonhurst during air raid drills. They were mostly at night. I knew of the air raid shelters in the Bensonhurst area. The WW2 years were tough. We overcame the enemy and came out on top.
    Irv Kaplan aka Inky

    • Gil says:

      I remember my older brother Donnie had a friend named Inky. Never knew his real name. I think Inky lived on 81st street. Could that be you?

    • there was a wooden plaque on the corner near 86 and 20 th ave that had the names of gold star famlies from the street, i believe around 1955

  41. harvey says:

    I grew up in coney island and had a friend that lived in contello towers I graduated from Lincoln h.s. in 1963. my friend’s name is Arthur “artie” Kaplan. he would have lived in the towers around 1960-63. if anyone might know where he is or how to contact him please let me know.
    it has been 50 years since we saw each other last.

    • Fred Horwitz says:

      I also had a friend named Artie Kaplan who had a friend named Warren Smith, they both were musicians in HS and Artie became a known jazz musician and if you Google his name you can locate him if he’s the same guy.

  42. joan luchen says:

    I lived at Harway Terrace for 37 years. Location Bay 50th and Harway
    The best bread was A & G Bakery. Italian bread to die for.
    Shopped along 86th Street and got the best buys on fruits and vegetables.
    I went to New Utrecht high school where there were no metal detectors or police
    ever and everyone got along. What happened???
    Do you remember Senior’s restaurant on Coney Island Avenue?
    They had the greatest food. Brooklyn was at it’s finest in those days.

  43. Paul Newman says:


    Senior’s Restaurant was located near Avenue Z and Nostrand Avenue. Are you familiar with the Basile family that lived on Bay 50th between Harway and Cropsey Avenues? The parents were Pete and Jenny. They had three children Salvatore(Sally), Marie, and Joseph(Jo-Jo). It was a two family house. They lived downstairs. Upstairs were their in-laws, Joe and Jenny Catanzaro. The time I knew them was circa 1963 – 1980.

    • diane miozzi says:

      i met joseph basile from 94 bay 50th st back in 1979 we met through our jobs working for a shipping company i spent my weekends at his house and sometimes joseph would come to philly south Philadelphia where i still live i always wondered what ever happened to him its been over 30 years that i have not seen him i hope that he is well and i would love to see him again every Christmas holiday i go to little Italy in new York to shop and eat well i hope that joseph gets this message and i would go to new York to see him again…………………….diane from south Philadelphia…………………………

  44. Gary Tomei says:

    I loved this article.
    I was born in 1936 and grew up on Bay Ridge Pkwy (75th St.) and 16th Ave. I can remember as a kid walking the old trolley tracks from my house to the library on 18th Ave. & 84th St. It always seemed like an adventure because of the enormous bushes and shrubs which grew besides the tracks. It was like a walk in a semi rural area. The library was an old wooden bldg which seemed to be something out of the early 1900s.
    When I was in NU High, 1953 through 1956, or later at Bklyn College, we used to hang out in the Famous, which I am very surprised no one mentioned. Many a night after a date or a movie or a party we would end up at the Famous or Dubrows and be there til the early A.M.
    I would hang, at times, with Bruno Gioffre, Carmines Gerace and Schirippa, Philly Gatto, Itzy Brothman, Davey Greene and company, including the Lafayette football team. I played for NU, which had the honor of being beaten by Lafayette every year while I was in H.S.
    I also remember Dennis Lupo who hung out in the Famous along with Peter Max. And I remember being saddened about his death which I believe was a suicide.

    • Gary Tomei says:

      I forgot to mention that I played on the Falcons in the Shore Pkway League. My father, Romeo Tomei was the manager.

    • Steve Schreiber says:

      Unbelievable…those names, carmine geraci, schirippa, et al. They were good friends of my friend Barry gottlieb (Lafayette ’55)who, sadly died circa 2001. I grew up in Flatbush…Erasmus hall ’56. But even more important, did you go to jack & irv’s luncheonette next to the Marlboro theater? My wife is jack’s (Greenspan) daughter.
      Steve schreiber

    • Steve Schreiber says:

      I tried posting this morning, but don’t know if it took. So, second try.
      I was absolutely amazed when I read the names carmine gervasi, Carmine schirippa et al. They were close friends of my good friend Barry gottlieb (Lafayette ’55) who unfortunately died circa 2001. Also, were Artie Penner or Sammy wiener part of the mix? Did you go to jack & irv’s luncheonette next to the Marlboro theater. My wife’s father was the “jack” (Greenspan) of jack & irv’s. I myself grew up in Flatbush & went to Erasmus hall (’56).
      Steve schreiber

      • Fred Horwitz says:

        Is that the Artie Penner who became a cop and sadly passed away some years ago?

        • Steve says:

          Yes, that Artie Penner…who would ask anyone on the sidelines to hold his gun while he went into whatever game was going on (the “Jug Bowl” football game on Brighton Beach every thanksgiving, while Barry G. Was alive)

    • dave larkin says:

      went to school with you in nuhs.stayed with alex santucci.i knew your cousin elaine in high school.i now live in florida for the past 40 years.

  45. jaye Artuso Grochowski says:

    I loved the article and the pictures. I lived on Bay Ridge Parkway (75th St) and 17th Avenue. I remember walking to the music store on 86th street..It was a quaint store- with lots of piano music. There were statues of composers. Taking the trolley with my dad on Sunday morning after church to Coney Island was always fun. The Dyker Theater was located on 86th street near Ft. Hamilton Parkway. It is now a parking garage. In New Utrecht High school, which I attended 1951-1954 was a group of Italian and Jewish students…we were friends with each other. I played flute in the school orchestra and school band. I graduated in 1954. NUHS will celebrate 100 years in 2015. Celebrations are planned. Anyone who attended the school may want to contact NUHS to inquire about what is planned.
    I now live in Pennsylvania, but make many trips to Brooklyn. We go to 86th street to shop and see the changes. The trains are still an attraction. I noticed some of the Italian pastry shops are no longer on New Utrecht Ave under the “EL”. Brooklyn is always “home”.

  46. Marty L says:

    Your first picture is Tony D’Aaddone’s fruit stand I worked their in the sixties. Know one mentioned Famos or Hy tullip chock full o nuts Vinny rocking away playing his guitar on
    Bay Parkway and 86th street Pizza Stop Bari pork store still their Rex bakery reliable bakery Rolla Rama skate rink and bowling.

    • Sandy Beitsch says:

      Was that the Vinny that used to sing, and I use that term loosely, on 86 Street and Bay Parkway, and if so what ever happened to him?

      • Angie says:

        Sandy Beitsch – There is a group page on Facebook called “You’re Probably from Bensonhurst If….” They posted recent pictures of Vinny “or Vinny Trains” as we called him. He’s still alive and doing OK.

      • donny cohen says:

        are you the sandy beitsch who lived above me at 69 bay 29 street– if so where are you -we were just in the old neighborhood and visited 69 bay 29 looked at the names and there is still a beitsch listed on the roster–alan and i talk about you all the time– please reply

        • Sandy Beitsch says:

          Hey Donny, yep it’s I. Glad you and Alan are still kicking (and Francis?). My dad continued to live there until about 1995, then moved in with my sister, and finally died in 2005 at the age of 97. He was the last of his cohort. I am in Saint Paul. My email is: sbeitsch@yahoo.com

          • owen blatt says:

            hi, I was looking at some old pictures of where I use to live and found your e-mail. I lived with my parents at 69 bay 29th st. from 1943 to 1956 when we moved to valley stream. our apt.# was 1a. our next door nabor was Tillie and eli finkelstein. the super at that time was named nick. this sure brings back great memories.

  47. don forman says:

    I lived in the Marlboro Housing Project during the 60.s and 70,s and my kids attended Lafayette HS. I managed a Little League team at the Gil Hodges Little League in Gravesend. 86th St. was a special shopping trip delight, as was eating at the L&B Spumoni Gardens

    • Sandy Beitsch says:

      You don’t happen to have known a Merle Merlin that also lived in the Marlboro projects around that same time or a Ronnie (that’s a woman) Rizo (sp)? If so they can contact me (Sandy Beitsch) at:


    • Danny says:

      Don my family was the second family to move into Marlboro Projects. I was only one the year we moved in 1953. The first resident was a manager Mr. Antonelli who lived in building#13 address 2257 West 11th street.. I first went to public school 248 then Boddy Jr. High School then on to Lafayette School. We lived there for many years. I went into the U.S Coast Guard in the early 70’s then when I served my time came out we moved shortly after that. Remember Frank and Benny the Housing cops. So many good memories.

      • Steve G says:

        I remember Frank and Benny. I also was a housing cop back at Marlboro in the day. My name was SteveG. I lived a few blocks away on Benson ave and Bay 41st street. wow! what a detail that was.

    • Are you the Don Forman who was married to Terry? My parents were Lou & Selma Azriel and my brother was Joey.

    • michael says:

      i lived at marlboro projects those same years….lots of fun….hey does anyone know when reliable bakery at 2355 86st closed there doors i thought it was in the 1980’s but what year….they made some good pizza

  48. harvey says:

    I grew up on 82/83rd st and 21st ave in Bensonhurst. as a teenager I worked at Harry and Morty’s candy store on Bay Pkway and 86th st. and in my teenage years at Castle Classics on 21st ave and for a few years a rockin’ Chevy Men’s shop. Lafayette was my HS. I remember visiting Italy and thinking how much like Bensonhurst it was with the fruit stands with their paper bags and clothes lines. I spent many an evening singing doo wop in the vestibules of the stores on 86th st.
    How ’bout Ebingers bakery with their trays filled with delicious goodies and their boxes tied with brown striped string. Woolworths which became Jahns in the 60’s.Dave Weinstein’s grocery on 86th between Bay Parkway and 21st ave. I still remember sitting on the cool marble outside the Chase bank on 19th and 86th on a hot summers day just down the block from Lenny’s Pizza of Saturday Nite Fever fame.. Great site. So many memories. .

    • jeff frankel says:

      The candy store that you worked at on 86th and bay parkay right below the train they used to lay out the candy on the counter hate to say it but as a young kid I would reach up and grap this was late 60’s. They dont make places like that anymore. Vinny or crazy vinny was part of the hood he would sing and hang out with us. All this is very rare these days

  49. Allan Bass says:

    These are great memories. I lived at 2237-81 Street, Brooklyn 14, New York from 1944 until 1964. I went to PS 97 and then to 128. I recently finished a book called the Life and times of Abremala B that describes the old neighborhood in fascinating detail. You can get it on Amazon. Its a great read about growing up in Bensonhurst in the 1940s and 50s.
    Exerpt: I remember the old italian ladies shopping on 86 street. They were all the same height , weight and age and they were always dressed in black and they always had a scowl on their face. They would shop in the Italian Pork Store which contained all sorts of pork products and cheeses from the old country; the smell was literally breath-taking! All sorts of smelly cheeses and salamis and dried pieces of wild boar complete with fur and snout, were hanging from the ceiling on thick ropes. I once wandered in there to buy some spagetti and I was overwhelmed by the variety of pasta and the stink of the store. I’m sure that the old Italian ladies who shopped there thought they had reached Nirvana because that was the only time that their scowl disappeared.

    The Bensonhurst neighborhood was a great place to grow up.

  50. Gary says:

    Memories are great, but what says Bensonhurst to me is Fankie and Tony Leccese, Robert Lhoboki, Herbie Goldenberg, Lenny Kirland, Irwin Skolick and anyone that would come out of the apartment buildings to play stick ball, touch football, tree ball and any other street game.

  51. Deborah says:

    when i was born in bensonhurst i lived on 78st and 23 ave.

  52. Deborah says:

    i was also baptist at st marys church around the corner.

  53. Noodles says:

    Hey remember HY Tulip deli and Jahn’s ice cream on 86 street PAPPA BEAR and Jimmy Emma and the rest of the RAPPERS.

  54. savino says:

    I grew up in bensonhurst from 1953 to 1961 I lived at 1962 81st street brooklyn,14,n.y… I went to p.s. 186 and JHS 128 and NU.. How come know one speaks of the street gangs like, THE VIGILANTE’S, or THE ASPHALT ANGELES ? I hung out mostly on Bay 28th street.. I think about those guys and girls quite often. That was the best place to grow up.. we Had a motto, ESSM.. doesn’t anyone out there remember that?

    • Ronnie Marasco says:

      OMG I lived in Bensonhurst from 1955 until we moved to White Plains, NY in 1969. I lived at 1916 81st Street between 18th and 19th Ave. Is this the same street?

  55. M MEHLMAN says:


  56. joseph spinelli says:

    what was the name of the diner on 86 th st between bay 41st and 25 th ave?

  57. Sandy Beitsch says:

    I was born in 1946 and went to PS 200, JHS 128 and Lafayette HS. Some recollections from PS 200: Part of what we did in gym class was dance. One girl (third grade?) had stuffed her bra with toilet paper and it came undone, and unbeknownst to her, unraveled to the floor while dancing. Another, Bernice, was the only girl with breasts. She was very popular. We guys always tried to accompany her when she went to hang up her coat in the closet. Then there was the girl, Sheila Edison, who around the third grade told me she was going to marry me (she wised up and didn’t).

    Our principal at JHS 128 was Irving Cohen. We nicknamed him Pussyfoot Cohen as he spent a lot of time hiding out in stairwells looking for students who were going up the designated “down” staircases and vise versa. School administrators today probably wish that that was the worst of their problems. Our vice principal was a Mr. Stonehill. One day a bunch of us kids were walking to Bensonhurst Park and our route took us in front of his house. He stopped us and asked for assistance in locating a piece of his fence that he knocked off in trying to get his car into his driveway. We helped him look, but it was he who found it. He then reproached us with the comment that his old eyes were better than our young ones. One of our group, a Paul Kerlanchick(sp?) came back with the perfect rejoinder: “If your eyes are so good why did you hit the fence.” Some memorable teachers: Ms. O’Rourke from whom I learned all of my grammar (thank you), Ms. Brady who taught social studies (or was it history) and who everyone feared but who was an excellent teacher, a Ms. Long (art) who revealed her lack of artistry by using an ink stamp to “sign” our graduation albums and a Ms. Mesmer (social studies?) whose idea of teaching was to spend the entire period writing on the blackboard stuff that we had to spend the entire period copying in a special gray notebook that became known, even to the stationary stores, as a “Mesmer Book.”

    Lafayette High School was a good school when I went there, but years later when I returned to check it out there were three cops and a metal detector in the entry.

    I was one of those disgusting “teacher pet” type students in much of my public school days but made an about face once I moved to Minnesota. Don’t believe it? Check out my video “Santa Unbearded” on You Tube.

    Sandy Beitsch

    • Sandy says:

      Would you by any chance know Adrienne Browarnik? Or her married name? She went to 128 and Layette about same time as you? i’m trying to find her but don’t know her married name. We were best buddies at one time, but got separated.

      • Sandy Beitsch says:

        Nope, never heard of her. Sorry.

      • You just described my childhood. I remember all those teachers. Miss ORourke was my home room teacher in 9th grade and was an excellent English teacher. Feared Miss Brady but if you were a good student she was always kind. How could you forget Mr.Johnson? He always hung out with those 2 ladies. Remember the Ms. Mesmer notebook and shaking when I found out I would have her for 8th grade S.S. Fortunately, she left mid-year. Can picture Miss Long with blonde hair and glasses. We thought she was dating Mr. Johnson. Don’t think that was his cup of tea but we didn’t know about that way back when! Ironically, I just had breakfast this morning and we were talking about this teachers. Thanks for giving me a laugh.
        I lived at 8100 Bay Parkway and moved to The Americana around the corner when it was built in 1962. I graduated 128 in 1959 and Lafayette in 1962. I was shocked when I visited within the last 5 years to see how the neighborhood had changed and sad about how Lafayette had changed.
        Bensonhurst was such a great neighborhood to grow up in and we all had awesome childhoods!!

      • Nina says:

        Hi Sandy,
        I didn’t know Adrienne Browarnik, but she is related to my family.
        I’ve been collecting family history- all I found out was that her father was Sam Brownarik, and her grandfather was Harry, who was married to my great-aunt.

    • Jay K. says:

      I don’t know if you remember me but I lived at 69 Bay 29th on the 5th floor and knew your father Jack very well for many years and spoke with him a thousand times.

  58. Loretta says:

    Great Pictures. Brought back a lot of memories. I grew up on Benson Ave. and 24th Ave. Went to PS101, BJHS, and Lafayette. Born 1948. So I moved around the whole area as I grew up. Lived 84th st. Near St. Mary’s Church-My sons went to that school for 8 years. Wonder if anyone is from my area. Always looking for people I left behind. Wonderful site. Love to just look back and remember when!

  59. Stephen Shea says:

    I remember when. When I was amazed how fast the workers at Ebinger’s tied a cake box with netted hair, A charlotte ruse at Schlom & Dieucth, a sicilian pizza at Rex bakery, A 12 cent entrance to the Stillwell theater on Saturday with two films and a multitude of cartoons, Real Italian Ices at fillipo’s on 86th st., A meal at the Famous cafeteria, a shake at Irving’s, pool hall above it, Mirror’s Pumpernical, Italian owned grocery stands on 86th st.,” That’s my dog Tide, he lives in a shoe. I’m Buster Brown I live there too.’, Jimmy’s bar and the Holday bar, the wooden floor of Woolworth’s, a trolly ride for 5 cents to Coney island, the Ben McCrae social club on Cropsey ave, a Good Humor sunday, Italian restaurants, two chinese on 86th st. Yes I remember it well.

  60. Shelly from Jack and Irv's says:

    you said youarried Jacks daughter, which one, I think, Marsha or Barbara? and Irv’s daughter was Judy and who could for get Howie. It was an experience and an education growning up in “The store”

    Irvings wisdow and punch lines I still use…..to this day……….Welcome back kotter was about Seth Low, it was my 9th grade class, created by Alan Sacks, he sat in front of me in homeroom……..I am friends with him still in Los Angeles……. when it was happening we always said they should do a TV show or movie………….Over the brooklyn bridge, Gary Goldbergs Brooklyn Bridge has Jack (with the cigar) as a charcter, and a few more…………..if you like you can email me and I have plenty of stories and even an original Dolly syrup sigh that I used to clean ….Jack gave it to me when they remodeled………

    by for now


    • Steve Schreiber says:

      Glad to get your input from my posting to Gary Tomei…very interested in hearing more detail. I seem to remember your name from the many guys that either worked or hung out at Jack & Irv’s. I also remember Jack endearingly referring to “Meyer the fairy”. So, I married Barbara – we just celebrated our 52nd anniversary. And just for some perspective, Barbara & I grew up in Flatbush 1/2-block from each other (Caton Ave. & St. Paul’s Place). Email us or find us on Facebook – separately Steve Schreiber or Barbara Schreiber.

      • Scott Paris says:

        I worked at jack and Irv’s growing up. I loved jacks pork sandwich and irv’s wit. I remember Meyer. When working a Friday night quite often after closing, I believe it was Irving would order Chinese food and the family would stop by. The experiences st jack and irv’s had an impact for life on so many of us who worked there. My friend Victor to this day has an original part of the awning, the overhang with the name and phone number of the restaurant.

    • Scott Paris says:

      Just ran across your post. I grew up and worked at jack and irv’s. I was from the Doug and Steven drucker era. I remember how proud jack was when he remodeled. Jack and Irv had such an impact on the lives of so many people. Jack never allowing anyone to answer the pay phone, except for himself. I must have peeled a ton of potatoes for French fries. One of Irving’s classic lines when someone wanted to use the bathroom “don’t pee on the floor, I got holes in my shoe!” My friend victor still has a piece of the original awning, the overlap with the name and telephone of the restaurant

      • Robt Seda-Schreiber says:

        Hola Scott-
        Just came across your reply to my dad. Jack was my grandfather (I called him “Poppy”) & my son is named after him. He died when I was way too young but I do have faint memories of going to the store with a brown bag which he would let me fill with candy.
        If your friend Victor would ever consider allowing our family to have that part of the awning that would such a great deal to me & my family, like you wouldn’t believe. We sadly have very little “memorabilia” from the luncheonette. If you could communicate with him how much it would mean to us, that would be so greatly appreciated.
        I wish I knew my Poppy more & I wish even more my son could’ve met him.
        Thanks for sharing your story & please be in touch-
        Thanks again!
        Be well & be good-

    • Steve says:

      Would love to email you…but need your email address. By-the-by (as Mel Brooks would say) are you Shelly Brodsky?

  61. Rita Plush says:

    I’m writing a novel set in 1945 Brooklyn. Anyone know how to get from the 86th stop on the elevated train to Steeplechase in Coney Island.

    Thank you
    Rita Plush

    • Alan Sciandra says:

      Once you got to the last stop, Coney Island you’d walk straight to Nathans, can’t remember the name of the avenue, make a right and Steeplechase was down on the left side of the street. Great park, especially the horses.

  62. Rita Plush says:

    Folks can also respond to the above request to info@ritaplush.com

    Many thanks.

    Rita Plush

  63. Rita Plush says:

    Born in 1937, I also went to PS 128 and remember principal, Mr. Cohn, teachers Long and Mesmer. Also Mrs. Relkin. Maiden name is Weingarten, and I’ve recently become friends again with Myrna Handel. Marty Zeiger, Marvin Wolf, Virginia Small, Angela Licari, Murray Cohen, are some of my friends who come to mind. Contact me on this site or through my website, info@ritaplush.com

    Warm wishes

  64. PAUL NEWMAN says:

    The bank on the corner of 86th Street and 21st Avenue was the Banker’s Trust Company. I know because I had my first checking account there. Across 86th Street from the bank was 1st Woolworth’s and followed by Jahn’s Ice Cream. Across 21st Avenue was Allahand’s Pharmacy. Diagonally from the bank was Crawford’s Haberdashery. Also the MacDonald’s on the corner of 20th and 86th Street was for many years a men’s clothing store named “Lach’s”.

  65. Pauline Poremba says:

    I grew up in Bensonhurst 1843-70th street I loved reading the stories it brought back so many memories
    married 51 years and living in the Midwest sometimes i can still smell the Albers bakery I was called Paula Pagliaro went to our lady of Guadeloupe Catholic school shallow jr high and new Utrecht high

  66. Mike in fla via Bklyn says:

    16th avenue is also know Vincent Gardenia Boulevard, (the detective in the movie Death Wish). Vincent Gardenia was also known as the Mayor of Brooklyn.

  67. owen blatt says:

    I lived at 69 bay 29th st. my dad owned lester radio and t.v. on 31 st and mermaid ave in coney island moved to valley stream in 1956. famous on 86th st. was my favorite. would go to adlers on 29th st and 86th every sunday to pick up bagels and white fish, carp. it was a great time growing up. we were always at the school yard. when I tell kids today about stickball stoopball they ask me is that a new program on their I,pod.

  68. Tommy says:

    I grew up at 2251 81st and 86 St was my mall since King’s Plaza seemed really far by bus when I was kid. I moved out of New York when I was 21 which was 10 year’s ago but I go back at least once pair year and unfortunately it’s not the same. I miss the Wiz, Pizza Stop and that great Jewish deli. Even places like L&B don’t seem the same and maybe that’s because I’m older or because the yuppies have took away what’s special about Bensonhurst. Here’s to playing handball at P.S.97 and getting lunch at John’s.

  69. Mariann says:

    So nice reading about Bensonhurst. Here is what I remember, Jahns on the corner of 21 and 86 street,.Allerhands Pharmacy diagonally across..Margolis dry goods, Stirde rite, Buster brown, my mother only made us wear Stride Rite !! lol , The Farm.. George Richland.. Joes Fish market.. my parents met at the Benson.. I loved Tolins ,lived in Something Else..thanks for the memories .. Mariann From Brooklyn

    • Fred Horwitz says:

      How about the Feedbox on Bay Parkway?

    • Bobby says:

      How about down 86 Street from Hy Tulip towards 19th Avenue….. Sbarros when it was a pork store with the big cheeses hanging from the ceiling? I used to go there on Saturday morning with a shopping list from my parents – the food was magnificent.
      This was ages before it became a crappy fast food chain with lousy pizza

  70. Jerry Jacob says:

    Wow..what a great post about the old and fond days in Bensonhurst. Living on 71 St, between 19th and 20th, 86 Street was where I would walk with Mom and Dad and our 2 wheel cart for grocery shopping. There was a candy store ( between 21 and Bay Parkway) on 86th Street where my father would treat me to a vanilla egg cream. Cannot remember the name of the candy store.

    Several years later, at age 13 I started working as a soda jerk for Joe and Joe candy store – BMT -N station on 18th Avenue , a block away from the Walker Theater.

    I still make a mean egg cream ( of course with Brooklyn’s own UBett syrup).

    I am always fond of recalling the neighborhood where we all lived and played together. It was me, Rocco Ciecco, Nunzio Franzeza, Lois Pinto, Vito Ranieri, and Richard Flores – thats diversity?

    Again, thanks for the post. Jerry

  71. I lived on 20 Ave and 81 Street for many years. This is was very enjoyable. To add some comments/thoughts: The McDonald’s on 86/20 Ave used to be a shirt store called Shirttown, where Travolta orders a shirt in the opening of “Saturday Night Fever.” I stood outside during the filming, wearing my “Disco Sucks” shirt (I had it on by coincidence). Between Shirttown and McDonald’s, it was the second location for Uncle Bobby’s Bagels (which started across the street near where the Benson Theater was located). On 85 St and 20 Ave was the very first comic book only retail store ever, started by comic book legend Phil Seuling, before it became Henry’s Camera Corner for a brief time. It’s a liquor store now, I believe. At 86th Street and 25 Ave, where the Sun Hing Seafood Market is now located, there was the Bowl-A-Rama, where you could bowl in the ’70s, then roller skate in the ’80s. They also occasionally had WWW wrestling matches there, before the building was torn down and this new one built. On the corner of 24th Avenue, on the south side, was John’s Bargain Store, who’s commercials ran constantly in the ’60s-’70s (“John’s / John’s Bargain Store / Where your dollar / buys you more”). While much of Bensonhurst was predominantly Italian, the area from 75 Street to the Bay, and 18 Ave – Bay Parkway was more evenly matched between Italians and Jews. There was an African American family living on 83 Street and 20 Ave, and a older man living by himself on 82 St, just off 21 Ave. There were also two Chinese Restaurants on 86 Street in this area, both having families who lived there (one on 20th between 82nd and 83rd. There were also a smattering of Irish families as well. That was about it for diversity.

    • Louie says:

      hi Robbie was it 8109 Helen and Leo son I lived upstairs little Louie…….. Louie and Roseanns son yes all the memories

    • Bobby says:

      The Chinese restaurant upstairs on 86 Street between 20th and 21st Avenue was owned by Linda Chan’s (who was in my classes at PS 128) parents. The African American family living on 83rd Street was the Super at the apartment building 1975 83 Street
      There was also a downstairs bowling alley on 86 Street between the Dime Savings Bank and Tolins. Anybody remember Tolins? it was like a small version of a Lowe’s today.

  72. Peter D'Adamo says:

    Wonderful article. I remember a record store on 86th street, close to the corner of Bay Parkway. Don’t remember the name. Owner was a cool red-haired guy. He sold tickets to Woodstock there. Had a great inventory, but probably died as a result of Korvettes record department, which was also excellent and began to stock imports. A poster asked about a ‘second floor head shop’. I remember a place called ‘The Farm’ on a second floor at about where New Utrecht Avenue met 86th street. All the girls at Our Lady of Guadalupe would go there to buy their purple bell bottoms with contrasting color patches.

  73. Mildred says:

    I lived on Bay 20th Street from 1942 to 1957. Before that, I lived at 8747 Bay Parkway which had a pharmacy on the corner of Benson Ave and Bay P’kway.. I think it was Kay’s Pharmacy or “K & K”, (something like that).
    I got married in 1957 and moved to East Flatbush. My memories of growing up in Bensonhurst were the best!
    My earliest recollections of 86th St. were shopping with my mother. I remember going to Ebinger’s, and to Zeskand,s Stationary store for school
    supplies. They were the only “game in town” for supplies, and boy! were
    they expensive! There usually was a vendor who sold Charlotte Russe’s
    nearby, and my mother always bought me one. I also remember seeing an
    organ grinder with a trained monkey one year. There was also a Buster
    Brown’s shoe store in the vicinity which had one of those fluoroscope
    machines. The children would run in and wiggle their toes under the X-Rays. Little did anyone know how harmful this was at that time. Lucky
    for me, that my beautiful and intelligent mother did not trust that machine, and immediately dragged me away from it. She distrusted it so much that she never bought me shoes there; but took me to a nearby Stride Rite shoe
    store. She always felt that feet were very important, and that a person would suffer their entire lives because of poor shoes. Clothes were less
    important, —(I got hand-me-downs, anyhow).
    I also attended P.S. 200, J.H.S. 128 and Lafayette H.S. I remember a Mrs. Lifton in P.S. 200 and a Mrs. Bernthal. I was recruited by the principal
    of P.S. 200 to illustrate panels for music assemblies with Barry Silfen and
    another boy whose only name I remember was George. We were always
    on the principal’s “art staff”. I think his name was Dr. Cohen. He also had
    me playing the piano for the PTA meetings with four other students, one of
    whom was Sandra Harrison. I think her instrument was an accordion.
    My best friend from first grade all the way to J.H.S. was Joan Freudiger. Her family lived one block away from P.S. 200.
    At J.H.S. 128, I also remember the principal “Pussyfoot” Cohen, for the
    same reason I’ve read in earlier messages. We also had a lovely science teacher whose name escapes me. I recall that he was short and always wore a bow-tie. However, the much hated social studies teacher, Mrs. Mesmer was remembered by so many others. She made a point of criticizing the new immigrants to this country. We were all the
    children of immigrants. She continually complained of the “babushkas” crowding our streets. Funny, – all I ever saw were fashionably dressed ladies walking up and down 86th St. People dressed up in those days. Ladies and men always wore hats, as I recall-(no jeans as we see nowadays). The immigrants especially wanted to look as nice as
    they could. Unfortunately, bad memories persist, so everyone remembers Mrs. Mesmer. I graduated from J.H.S. 128 in 1950.
    Lafayette H.S. was a typical, good, comprehensive H.S. I believe most of the high schools in Brooklyn were as good or better. The school population was about 50% Italian, 50% Jewish. I do not remember blacks or Asians. I was a good student and very active in extra-curricular activities. In my senior year, I ran for the office of Chief Justice of the
    Student Court and won both times! My campaign consisted of plastering the building with photos of me that said “Mildred Denes for Justice”. That is what my campaign managers: Jimmy Lippe and Alan Schwartz, decided to do. It worked!
    For the rest of the year, I tried to live up to my campaign promises and even dressed the same way as my photos! After that, I realized that politics was not for me. I had many favorite teachers at Lafayette H.S. There was Miss Koechling: the Geometry teacher, Mr. Blumenthal: the Chemistry teacher, Mr. Levitan: the French teacher, and many others. I also remember Herschel Russell, (nee Rosenbaum) who was my friend from 1st grade all the way to H.S. when we graduated in 1953.
    He was a very good basketball player, and was on the team with Sandy Koufax who was the team captain! Sandy of course, was also captain of the baseball team. But “Hershey” was my friend from elementary school.Barry Silfen, the artist wasalso my friend throughout school, as was Rosalind Cohen, Ruth Ginsberg, and many others. Wonderful, wonderful memories.
    What about the movie theaters? Well, there were three that I frequented. There was the Deluxe Theater on Bath Ave.
    which was the last stop for movies. It was also the least expensive. My mother, who was an opera buff always took me there to watch Italian operas. This was even before I started school. I might have been as young as three, when I saw operas, and fell asleep in the theater. My mother had been a concert pianist in Europe, but ended up being a piano teacher in Bensonhurst.
    The Benson Theater on 86th Street was the 2nd run movie house. They also had Saturday morning kiddie shows which consisted of cartoons, serial movies such as “Flash Gordon”, and a live Magic Show. The matrons watched the children to make sure they behaved. Sometimes they gave out pop-corn; included in the price of admission. It was a good deal. There
    was no TV then. They also showed operas on selected days. My mother went there, too.
    The first-run movie theater was the magnificent Loew’s Oriental. It was one of the grand old movie palaces right here in Bensonhurst. They always had a double feature, cartoons and “Movie Tone News”. An afternoon at the movies was a good three hours. I remember going there with my friend once to see Stewart Granger in “King Solomon’s Mines”. We decided to
    see it twice, and when we left the theater, we were so unused to daylight that our eyes hurt from sitting in the dark for so long.
    Since I lived on Bay 20th Street, I often went to St. Finbar’s with my friend, Elaine Muriella, who was Catholic. I am Jewish; but it mattered not. When my mother realized that I was becoming more Catholic than Jewish, she enrolled me in Beth Sholom People’s Temple which was on the corner of Benson Ave. and Bay Parkway. My Jewish education was all encompassing and I thrived there. Among my friends were the cousins, Joy and Jay Balber. I believe colonel Mickey Marcus was also a member
    of the congregation. My grandparents, aunts and uncles attended the Sons of Israel Congregation on Benson Ave.
    Bay 20th Street was like the United Nations, during the war years. It seemed that the occupants of every home came from a different country. There was a Finnish family, a Greek family, Norwegians, Swedes, Danish, many Italians from all over Italy, a Hungarian family, Polish, Austrians, you name it, — we came from all over Europe. And everyone got along;
    although people did not speak English that well. I remember “V-E Day” and “V-J Day”. We had an enormous Block Party.
    In front of each home, people put out a table of food, — ethnic, home cooked food for anyone to sample. People connected their portable radios and played music. Others were dancing in the streets, (including me! — I was 7 yrs. old at the time, and entertained anyone who would look!) It went on into the night. People were kissing and hugging
    each other whenever someone new came on the block. Everyone had a different religion, different nationality, but we were all Americans! That is what mattered! The American Flag was waving in front of every house! It was all a spontaneous declaration of joy that the war was over.
    I have so many more memories to write about. However, I’m hoping that this rings a bell for someone out there, and if any old friends want to contact me please write something in response. Thank you.

    • Sandy says:

      On the corner of Bay Parkway and Benson Ave (I think) there was an old wooden Victorian house with spires and turrets and a very creeky porch all around, where I took piano lessons. The kids would wait their turns in a room just outside the piano room. The teacher was a young Italian American man whose name I can’t recall. He was a lovely man. I loved my lessons but had to stop after 6 months. Do you remember that building?

      • Fred Horwitz says:

        I think that old creaky house was owned by a doctor who was Jay Lichtmans uncle and both he and I both were on the Lafayette basketball team with Heshy and Sandy.

    • Sandy Beitsch says:

      Mildred: The short science teacher with the bow tie at JHS 128 was Mr. Carr. We would greet him with: “Hello Mr. Carr, how’s Mrs. Carr and all the little kiddie Cars.”

      You were right about Mesmer and her dislike of immigrants. Once when my mother was speaking to her at one of those parent teacher conference days Mesmer told her about this “Jew boy” who stuck a lollipop stick in Mesmer’s sister’s ear and caused her to lose her hearing in that ear.


      • Mildred says:

        Hi Sandy,
        So great to know that someone else has similar memories of those years. Yes, Mrs. Mesmer was decidedly an
        antisemite. She hated all immigrants; but she especially seemed to hate Jews. (So – “nu” what else is new? –
        sad that history is repeating itself.)
        You are so right about Mr. Carr. Thank you for remembering his name. He was very likeable, as I recall. The
        students in my class called him “Kiddy-Carr”… I thought because of his short stature. Regardless, everyone liked
        him. Most likely his nickname derived from what how your classmates greeted him.
        As for the building where you took piano lessons, I do not remember that house on Bay Parkway and Benson
        Ave. with the turrets. Maybe it was somewhere else. Hope to share more memories.

    • Kevin says:

      I’m Joan’s son… would love to hear some stories about my mom from that time!! Kevin

  74. Sandy says:

    Thank you, Mildred. That was a great trip down memory lane — really enjoyed it. You were at Lafayette H.S. the same time as my two elder brothers. Your memories triggered so many of my own.
    When I get a chance, I’d like to write out some of my memories and post them here.

  75. Hi,

    I was often amused at a street not too far from where I grew up in Kensington, called “Old New Utrecht Ave.”; now that I know that New Utrecht means “New Old Fort”, I realize that the name of this street translates to Old New Old Fort”!

    Thanks for bringing back many fond memories.


  76. dave larkin says:

    i went to nu 1952 to 1954 when i graduated.got married in 1957 to annette battista.moved to florida in 1974.married 57 years.still in florida but always missed brooklyn.

    • Fred Horwitz says:

      I went to Arkansas State College with Joe Armenio, Eddie Romeo and Danny Spencieri who all went to Utrecht at that time.

  77. Ron says:

    Not sure if you got your answer but the domed bank you had a question about was the Williamsburg Savings Bank, my aunt worked at that bank in the 70’s.

  78. BeeBee says:

    Regarding the building with the McDonalds, the author said “I’m unsure if these once-grand buildings came before the construction of the el in 1917-1919, or later.” Before. Here is an Ebay listing for a reprint of a photo of that building dated 1914 showing no el. Search Ebay for “Bensonhurst” for other interesting pictures.

  79. joseph furia says:

    will mever be the same ====

  80. Jim Dee says:

    Does anyone know what supermarkets also stood at the site of where Waldbaums was in the EJ Korvettes/Ceasers bay bazaar parking lot? I know of Hills and shoprite, but which came first?
    Thank you!

  81. Loretta A. says:

    Hello. Love this page. I lived on 24th Ave btwn 85th & 84th. Got my own place on the Bay Streets in my 20s, and moved to NJ in late 1990s. My parents stayed at my childhood home until 2005. I’m going to comment on the block between 24th and 25th Aves. The location of the Mormon church was a concrete playground through the 70s and I think the early 80s. The entire length of it from the stores on the corner of 25th Avenue to the current location of the church (up to the funeral home parking lot – is that still there?) contained basketball courts and baseball markings (for lack of a better word since it wasn’t a field). I remember playing there a lot in the summer. McDonald’s wasn’t always there. It was built in the early 70s. Prior to that, a doll factory was there, along with several stores that moved to other locations on 86th Street – Phil’s Fix-It shop, a Chinese laundry, a dry-cleaner, Main Pharmacy, and a fish market (Joe’s?). The building on the other side of the firehouse contained a pancake house at one point, and at another time it was place you could bring your little model race cars (hot wheels?) and race them around big, electric tracks.

    • Hilary says:

      Hi Loretta

      I grew up at 2375 85th street. Have the same memories as you so we must be around the same age. Did we know each other?

  82. DON COHEN says:

    grew up on 83 and 21 ave across from jhs128- graduated jhs in 64 and lafayette hs in 67–I am now living in providence rhode island (since 1979) My 2 boys are all grown up -real new englanders- anybody out there from the jhs 128 class of 1964? e mail is deep_rock@hotmail.com

  83. Joey Congiusta says:

    Thanks for the blog, how well I remember 86th St.!

    Great memories. Grew up there through the 50’s, and 60’s. Went to PS 101 on 24th Ave. Later on went to Boody, then Brooklyn Tech. We hung out at the high bar, on 24th Ave by Rollerama… which led to the gymnastic team at Tech. Church on Sundays at St. Mary’s. Half my buddies were Italian, the other half were Jewish. We all loved one another!!

    It was great going to the Reliable Bakery for great pizza, the Famous Cafeteria for roast beef, and also Lennies for pizza. Saturday and Sundays we loved going to the Oriental Theater for great double run features, and of course popcorn. Of course for something exotic there were 2 Chinese restaurants on the second floor on 86th by Bay Pkwy. Chow mein, fried rice, egg rolls, and spareribs were 3.89 back then……. and was it good!

    I would love to hear from any old friends from PS101… Mrs Klotz, and Mrs. Fishcher classes.

    It was a great place to grew up in those days!

    Joe Congiusta.

    • Bobby says:

      Wow, there are very few people in this world that would know about the High Bar (imagine a vacant piece of land on a major road like 86 Street) . I spent some time hanging out there with Joe Perrotta and Robert Morehouse, about a million years ago

    • Jerry Winick says:

      Hey Joe, I remember you well. We were fellow bodybuilders.

      • Joe Congiusta says:

        Hey Jerry:
        Boy you have a great memory. I remember you also. We some great times together!
        I saw your website, and will try to e-mail you there, and maybe we can catch up a bit!

    • Steve G says:

      I remember Mrs Fishcher from PS 101. she used to give me noogons on the head back in the days when teacher got away with it..Try doing that today.

  84. jenny says:

    Hey, does anybody know the history of 2035 86 street ?

  85. Fred Horwitz says:

    What does it mean that my posts are awaiting moderation?

    • Kevin Walsh says:

      It means I didn’t look at them till now.

      • Sandy Beitsch says:

        Kevin: From this post I assume you are the one who set up this site; if you are Thank You! But a minor(?) request: Would it be possible to modify its workings so that posts are shown in reverse chronological order i.e. so the most recent are first and so new posts go to the top. It would save a lot of time for those of us checking the site as we would not have to slog through material we had already read. Thanks, Sandy Beitsch. sbeitsch@yahoo.com

        • Sandy Beitsch says:

          Delete this last comment. I didn’t realize that posts are in chronological order and that it is only responses to a given post that makes it seem out of order. Sorry

          • don m says:

            Duck Sandy ! I remember doing a lot of that in Ms Brady’s , 5th grade class . She must have worn her rotator cuff out throwing erasers at me in her class …….that is until …… Till, tll she learned , I could play the accordion and volunteered to play at some talent show for , was it Wednesday ? , audtiorium ? From that point on , I could do no wrong in her class , though try I did .

            Yes, I had all but forgotten the Ms Messmer gray book

            I remember a shop teacher, had a miniature electric chair , in the shop, a wood shop. He d make us write and rewrite and rewrite the shop rules for the slightest infraction as he sat at his desk , reading the NY Times . Those were the days. I went o lafayette graduated in 63, PS 200 and 128 , elem and JHS .

            Lived in the Shore Haven Apartments which were owned by the Donalds ( Trump , who else ) father . I can remember playing stickball in front of our aparment building, on a hot blistering summer day, cut off jeans, t shirt , converse sneakers and standing with the bat, cut off broom in my hand, spalding heading to my head, mouth agape, jaw dropped as I spy this kid , it was the little Donald at the time, tailing his father , wearing a long sleeved white shirt, carrying his own small attache case. I can remember feeling sorry for him , and still do. Asking myself, “what in the world are you doing on this blistering summer day dressed like that and not out here with us playing ball ? . NO, I did not notice that his hair looked weird back then .

            also remember, something called “release time”, we , Catholic kids, left our class, I think on Weds. , around 2 and walked to St. Finbars Church for what was called CCD . Basically, it was lessons in the faith and I believe kids of other faiths, correct me if I m wrong here, did the same on those Weds. I had a number of Jewish friends, I can remember bargaining with them , for them to get me into their Synogogue’s afterschool program , they had a great athletic program. But they told me all males had to have a particular body initiation and did not think it worth the price. But they tried to get me in .

            Can remember Lenny s Pizza , cost 15 cents for a slice, the best ever , and I believe a dime for a large COKE . Often I raised the money by stopping at demolished building sites, no doubt being cleared to make way for a new apt. building and collecting discarded soda bottles , and cashing in on the 2 cents we d get on deposits. I worked carrying packages from BOHACKS on Cropsey Ave. Gails Bake shop and RANDS Dry Cleaner next door. Can remember, racing up to Cropsey to the corner drug store testing tubes from old black and white TV on the tube testing machine and buying replacement , running home, to swap out the burnt tube , so as to finish the next episode of Captain Video , which I had the helmet and signature ring, a true Video Ranger.

            Loved this site.! Moved out of Bensonhurst in about 1968 after military tour and to Marine Avenue , Bayridge , where incidentally , my mom worked at Jay Cobb , f ine lady s apparel shop.

  86. dorothy says:

    I love this site. it brings back so many memories. I lived in bath beach all my young life and left to move to long island later in my marriage. I remember moving into our apartment when I was about 5 yrs old. we moved to bay 13 between bath and benson and I went to p.s.163. of all the messages I read no one attended 163. I later went to bay ridge h.s. dad insisted on an all girls school. I remember how rural our area was at the time, it was just after ww2 and I remember the block parties and how happy everyone was that the war was over. there was a goat farm down the street from us where my mother would go to buy milk for my baby brother, he was allergic to cows milk. does anyone remember the old vanderbuilt estate? it was an old Victorian house that had seen better days, it was covered with vines and bushes and we would try to go in but it had a iron fence all around it so we never got in. it was at the end of bay 13. later it became part of the belt parkway and the”new homes” as we called them. I remember judge cropseys home on bay 14 and cropsey ave. he used to keep a horse and buggy in what later became his garage.
    I remember going to the magical loews theatre on 86th street with is beautiful crystal chandlier and marble staircase it was so sad to hear that it was turned into a department store. that was a real piece of history. we later moved to the apartment house behind the loews theatre and my kids went to st. finbars school for awhile until we moved to the island. I remember jahns and the 5 and dime it used to be, and the beautiful synog. across the street. walbaums, the dime savings bank, lennys pizza, the Chinese restaurant upstairs from rainbows womens shop, hy tulips, the park on bay 8th street where we would go on picnics and wade in the pool and the park on 17th ave. the Italian shopon bath ave. for cookies and canolis, jerrys dry goods shop, the corner candy store on bath and 17th ave where all the guys hung out, they were the good guys never got in trouble played soft ball every sunday in the field at ps 163 the boys that hung out at the candy store on bay 14 and bath were the bad boys they were always in trouble. I remember the mafia clubs on bath ave. and the fireworks they would give off on the 4th of july. I had a very good black girl friend that lived upstairs from jerrys her name was Shirley Blount and the Chinese boy whose dad had the Chinese laundry. We all went to school together and never cared who was black or white or different from each other, it didn’t matter to us we were friends.
    one day while going for a walk in the area where the old city bus depot was, my husband and I came upon an old whalers church hidden on a little side street, I guess it was built when the dutch settled in Brooklyn. do you remember the old dutch reform church and on 16th ave off 86th street? I remember when that street was just a dirt road and between benson ave. and 86th st there was a health station. on the corner there was a grocery store that was owned by relatives of dom delouise. his aunt lived a few doors down from my grandmother, my grandmother and grandfather were one of the first people to move to that area and she lived there until she died. remember new years eve getting out all the pots and pans and going outside and banging in the new year, all the people on the block did that. what little things gave us such enjoyment in those days, now we search for things to make us happy. did anyone go to P.S.163 it went from kindergarten to 8th grade. my first grade teacher miss katz was my fathers teacher and all his siblings then my teacher, my brothers and finally before they went to st. finbars my kids teacher. teachers, in those days they really hung in and never quit. there are so many memories living in Brooklyn, walking from my home to the subway station was a gourmet experience, the smell of fresh espresso coffee, the Italian bread being baked the jewish bakery baking fresh cookies, and the smell of sweet syrup from the ice cream shop. I no longer live in n.y not for a long time, but I still have my memories, as they say there’s no place like home.

    • Ellie Calo-Motondo says:

      I lived on Bay 13th between Benson and Bath, and went to PS163! But I was born in 1977 and l lived on that street from 1982 through 1997.

  87. fran says:

    Does anybody recall an ice cream shop named:Frantzeka in 207 str and Broadway?

  88. Bobby says:

    83rd Street between 20th and 19th Avenue

    Went to PS 128 in the 60’s.
    Everyone had Mrs Malles for Kindergarten
    We walked to school and went home for lunch. Rose was the crossing guard on 20th Avenue.
    We flipped baseball cards on the way to school and got “charge slips” from the school monitors.
    We played stick ball, wiffle ball, touch foot ball. off the wall and ringolevio all summer
    Bought our school supplies at Zeskands and school clothes at Bregmans
    Loved Brenda Aiossa
    In 6th Grade we went to Jahns on Friday for the hamburger deluxe platter for $1
    We fought over who had better pizza, Neils on 20th Avenue or Lennys on 86th Street
    Saturday matinees at the Benson theatre. Once went into the wrong theatre and saw Sophia Loren in her lingerie – holy moly!!

    Went to Cavallaro Junior High by bus with our bus passes
    We hated Mr Marano our gym teacher
    Went to the night center at PS 128 on Tues Thurs and Friday nights and played basketball and pool
    with girls sitting on cars outside to hang out with
    We went to Jahns after school events and on dates
    Ate at Famous Cafeteria and had our tickets punched
    Went to 7AM mass at St Finbar because it was only half an hour and could get donuts after
    Hated having to sell the Tablet

    Walked through Thrift Town on the walk to New Utrecht High School
    “captive lunch” had to eat in school cafeteria
    Mr Iorio would bust the boys smoking in the bathroom
    Loved Miss Senator who became Mrs Stern also Mrs Tesser the Chem teacher
    Took our dates to movies at the the Loew’s Oriental
    Lost to Lafayette every year at football broadcast by Marty Glickman on Channel 11
    Knew Sammy Gravano but he never went to class
    Joe Colombo’s bodyguard Rocky Miraglia lived next door
    New Utrecht graduation at the Loews Kings

    The Farm opened on 86 Street and the Bandel Brothers opened a head shop above their fathers hardware store and the summer of love came to 86 Street
    Tops and Pants on 86th Street always had a cloud of pot smoke coming out of the back
    guess it was the beginning of the end of the innocence….

    • Sylvester says:

      You just described my childhood almost verbatim!!–( except my parents finagled me into Lafayette H.S. instead of New Utrecht because they felt is was too rough. LOL!)–I lived at 1975 83rd from 1965-1978. Is this Bobby C. from that building whose brother was younger Anthony??

  89. marion barreca reisz says:

    I was born on 85th st. between 16 and 17th ave. then moved to 1549 – 84 st., went to Bay Ridge HS where I got a magnificent education. I now live in Bergen County, NJ , am 86 years old and have such fond memories of our Italian neighborhood. Visited recently and of course, it is totally changed. But the pastry shops are still there and that great pork store Faicco’s. I have to get my sausage and cannoli fix every once in a while. While in school, i worked part time at Ebingers, the great bakery and later on went t o to work for Mitch Miller at Columbia Records and Errol Garner, the great jazz pianist. Always worked in Manhattan in very exciting places. Great times!!!!!

  90. willy ruffian says:

    I”ve lived in Bensonhurst most of my life,67 years.
    I’m still here and it’s still magic.

  91. I lived at 46 Bay 17th St. Baptized at St Finbars, Went to PS 163 till 2nd grade and we moved to Long Island. Visited quite often as my grandparents still lived there. Remember never returning to L.I. with out loaves of Ebingers Italian bread.. so yummy,,
    My Uncle was an internist and had his Drs. office on the corner of 15th Ave and Cropsey, he was there for years. Wonder if anyone remembers his office? I have an Aunt on Bay 10th who still loves the area and went most of the places mentioned on this site. She has told me many times how she used to walk me in the carriage down 86th St. quite often. I really must make the time to visit her and perhaps walk that walk one time with her now and have her explain how it has changed.
    Very nice site.

    • Eddie says:

      Was that Dr. G. on Cropsey and 15th Ave.? I lived on Bay 10th Street between Bath and Benson. Also baptized at St. Finbar. Father Donagon and Mother Dimitri.

  92. Joe says:

    Responding to: “Help me with this domed HSBC branch at 2301 86th”, this was The Williamsburgh Savings bank. I know this for sure because I had my very first Christmas Savings account there when I was 9. It was such an incredible lobby/building. I lived at 2435 85th St. I remember the neighborhood very well. I was especially surprised to see the vast ethnic changes after visiting on a whim a few years back.

    • Ralph Fretta says:

      Joe your right it was the Williamsburg Savings Bank. I know because my dad owned Fretta’s Pork Store on 86 & 23 ave. Worked there till 1983
      I went to St Mary’s, PS101. PS128 & Lafayette HS. Had M.r Carr Mrs Brady and Ms Messmer and her gray book.
      Roller skated at Rollerama.
      Just found this site love it.

      • Lisa Greenstein says:

        Just caught a glimpse of Fretta’s Pork Store in the opening sequence of Welcome Back Kotter — the elevated train on 86th Street and the nearby building shapes are very recognizable.

      • Steve G says:

        Hey Ralph, I went to school with you. I’m glad to see that your still kicking. Steve G. We were in the same classes in all three schools.

    • Annette says:

      Hello Ralph: was happy to see your name. My name is Annette and I shopped at your dad’s store my whole life while living in Bensonhurst. I, too, went to JHS, 128 and then Lafayette where I was captain of cheerleaders. I remember you well and hope all is well with you.

  93. Lou Benitto says:

    I grew up on 84th Street from the early sixties , graduated Lafayette H.S. 1965, Worked at Weldon Pharmacy 85th St & Bay Parkway, had lunch every day at Tony’s Pizza Shop next door. Friday & Saturday night on 86th Street was the place to be ! Wish I could go back GREAT TIMES !!

    • Susan says:


      Did you have a sister named Florence? If so she was a childhood friend.


      • Anonymous says:

        Yes I have a sister Florence, Brown Eyes, Long Black hair, I kept the boys away ! she is well still looks the same, now living in Staten Island.

    • Lou Benitto says:

      Yes, I have a sister Florence, Brown Eyes, Long Black Hair, I tried to keep the boys away, it was hard you girls were all pretty. Lou Benitto.. P.S. She is well, looks great, living in Staten Island.

      • Susan says:

        Yes, she was always gorgeous. I don’t know if she remembers me, I was at the corner of 84th St. and 21st Ave, right across from PS 128. We hung out with each other a lot, she took her little sister Joanne along with her. She had a beautiful smile, and very attractive to the opposite sex, that’s for sure! But also she was a nice person. I’m glad she’s doing well!

    • Jack Sexer says:

      Hi Lou, My wife and I lived at 8411 21 ave (married June ’57) until moving to Contello Towers in 1967. Do you remember the chain pharmacy across Bay Parkway at 86th st? I forgot the name. Small chain also upstate NY.
      Thanks. Jan and Jack Sexer.

      • Susan says:

        Jan and Jack,

        I think I babysat for you, you had 3 little girls?

        My name is Susan and I lived across the street from that building.

      • Anonymous says:

        Jack, I think it may have been Rite-Aid ? not positive about that . I worked at Weldon Pharmacy with Milton Pack and Jay Kessler they were the Pharmacy Owners and GREAT men to work for I learned a lot about life as a young teenager in that store , Great times. Lou Benitto

  94. Irv Kaplan says:

    Dr. Cohen, Mr. Sonnenfeld. Mrs. Cassidy, Mr. Finerman. Mrs. Goldklang Mrs. Shalette, Mrs.Messmer Mr. Carr, Mr. Gardner, Mrs. Forman( some of the teachers and administrators at PS 128 way back when)

  95. DJ says:

    Hi Guys!
    I’m just inquiring about a restaurant that was supposedly in Little Italy nicknamed ” Moms Place”???
    My parents had their wedding reception there around 1950-1952. My dad has passed and unfortunately, my mom has severe dementia. I have been trying to find this restaurant for quite some time. It was run /owned by a woman named Rose/Rosie. It was huge and took up a whole corner block they said. She was related to a man named Tony. That is about all the information I have and I would just love to find out some info if at all possible.

    Thanks for any help!!!

  96. Sylvesteter Matera says:

    I grew up in Bensonhurst between 1965-1979–I went to P.S. 128, Cavallaro JHS and then Lafayette High School. I grew up on 83rd street and 20th avenue. The Bread was great, the pizza out of this world (Neil’s Pizzeria) and we had a butcher and fish store. Famous Cafeteria– my dad alway ate there on his days off from work. Great memories. Had a memorable childhood there.

    • Bernadette lurito says:

      I grew up in bklyn too. 86th & 20ave. I went to p.s.128 as well . I think we had THE BEST childhood EVER. innocent! Block parties , playing in the johnny pumps, Nelly Blys ,Coney Island FRIENDS outside play time ,,,, good ol days ☺

  97. Joy says:

    I lived on 86th Street between Bay 32nd and Bay 31st Street in one of the above the store apartments that were there back in the 1980s. There was a pub on the corner of Bay 32nd Street. Does anybody know that name of that pub? It is no longer a pub, it seems. I went to Lafayette High School. Everything has changed. Would love to see pics of how it used to be there. Memories!!!

  98. Lou Benitto says:

    Jack, I think it was Rite-Aid ? not positive about that . I worked in WELDON PHARMACY as a teenager, with Milton Pack and Jay Kessler they were the owners/ Pharmacist , very fine men ! Those were wonderful times for me. Lou Benitto

  99. Adelaide Rubino Fenton says:

    Anyone around from class of ’62 from Lafayette H.S.? That was the year I graduated. Loved my time there.

    • LorettaD says:

      My cousin, Charles DiLustro, was in your class. He played football for Lafayette. He lives in Florida now + does not use the web.

  100. Steve says:

    Adelaide graduated Jan 62 social senior had such a good time skipped summer school had one of the few cars at the time white 61 impala bubble top Irvings, famous , many more Loretta I knew your cousin well we hung out together sometimes same friends tell him joe Alba’s pool room and the Bay Bar 86 street “hockey tonite , hockey tonite “

  101. Steve m says:

    Adelaide, I knew your cousin in Lafayette we a lot of good times joe Alba’s poolroom bay bar famous and good times in school say hello from a friend from long ago I was a social senior didn’t want to go to Summer school was one of the few back then that had a car 1961 impala white bubble top was having too much fun

  102. Kelly says:

    Hello – I am not from Bensonhurst, but this Tennessee girl needs some help. This is a long shot – I’m trying to find information about a pharmacy that was run by Sam Halpern (he may have owned it) in the 60s and 70s. I don’t know the name or the exact location. I only know that Sam Halpern lived at 2000 84th St. in a building that still stands.

    Mr. Halpern was the grandfather of my best friend and I’d love to surprise him with a photo of the pharmacy for Christmas. Like I said, I know it’s a long shot, but I’d appreciate any help! Thanks!

  103. Mikey says:

    I think the name of that bank with the domed HSBC branch at 2301 86th was called “Chemical Bank”.. if my memory serves me.

  104. Jen says:

    Hi. Trying to remember the name of the Chinese restaurant on 86th st between 4&5th Av in Bay Ridge. Approximately 1975 Please let me know if you recall.


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