KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Manhattan Beach

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The only community college in Brooklyn, Kingsborough, occupies the east end of the short peninsula south of Sheepshead Bay, at the east end of the Manhattan Beach community. The College was formed in 1963 and its campus was relocated here in 1966.

Previously, the east end of Manhattan Beach had been occupied by the US Coast Guard and US Merchant Marine.

Kingsborough Community College timeline

 

This 1924 aerial view shows the peninsula partly developed. The Manhattan Beach street grid had been developed for about 20 years by that time.

 

By 1951 the Coast Guard was in control of the east end of the peninsula.

 

1949 Hagstrom map showing the Manhattan Beach peninsula. Today, the street grid runs as far east as Pembroke, with Quentin on the KCC campus. I am unsure if Ripley, Somerset, Udall and Channel Drive ever existed past the planning boards.

FNY contributor Sergey Kadinsky visited the KCC Campus recently and now shares some information:

 

The little-known beach on campus makes Kingsborough the only college campus in the state of New York with its own beach. Students serve as lifeguards.

 

A panoramic shot of the beach. In the background is a senior home shoehorned between KCC and Manhattan Beach Park.

 

Most of the KCC shoreline is a concrete bulkhead with riprap to hold back the advancing sea. The southern shore of KCC appears on old maps as John Barry Boulevard, named after the Revolutionary War naval commander. The first American to attain the rank Commodore. The title was no longer assigned after 1947.

 

The MAC (Marine and Academic Center) completed in 1991 features the city’s newest lighthouse. It is located at the eastern tip of Coney Island. While its western tip in Sea Gate was historically called Norton’s Point, the eastern tip never had a formal name. Until the 1940s, this tip was a sand spit that extended further east into Rockaway Inlet. Currents from the east continue to move the barrier island and peninsulas of the south shore, as seen in the gradual westward drift of Breezy Point and Fire Island.

 

The Library building is the tallest structure on campus. 1970s modernism.

 

Leon Goldstein was the founder of KCC and strong voice for the expansion of CUNY.

 

Monument to the Merchant Marines, who occupied the campus before it was a college. Although Manhattan Beach never had a fort, many of New York’s points and capes had military bases to discourage the British from returning.

 

Public art inside the MAC by Bruno Lucchesi.

 

KCC is the only CUNY campus with its own public aquarium. Meet the harmless sand shark!

 

York College and LaGuardia Community College also have them:  a hall of flags to celebrate a diverse student body. The KCC flags hang above the cafeteria. Among the flags are the UN (not a country), Kosovo (not fully recognized) and Palestine (subject of a longstanding dispute). Also, non-sovereign lands like Macau, Puerto Rico and The Sioux Nation.

 

KCC is the only CUNY campus with its own seaworthy vessel and on-campus marina, located on Sheepshead Bay.

 

Kingsborough Community College Way used to be Quentin Street, the last on Manhattan Beach’s alphabetic street sequence that begins with Amherst, Beaumont, Coleridge, Dover… Not to be confused with Quentin Road, the ‘Avenue Q” of Brooklyn. For the neighborhood’s planners, Q was not the end. A never-built Reynolds would have been the tip of the neighborhood. It was never built. Outside the campus, the last public street on the Manhattan Beach alphabet is Pembroke.

[Ripley shows up on maps, not Reynolds, but as I suspected those streets were not built.  --ed.]

 

The dramatic entrance gate to KCC marks the eastern end of Oriental Boulevard, the main drag of Manhattan Beach. Once lined with resorts, it also leads to Manhattan Beach Park, one of the city’s smallest public beaches.

 

The nautical map has numerous shoals surrounding the tip of KCC, some are long-gone islands drowned by the currents. Perhaps soon, I’ll explore another overlooked tip of land in our city or college campus. Any you would recommend?

Sergey Kadinsky can be contacted via facebook or at mazeartist@gmail.com

7/18/13





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15 Responses to KINGSBOROUGH COMMUNITY COLLEGE, Manhattan Beach

  1. C Fletcher says:

    Just looking at the old maps, I can remember as a child fishing on the Emmons footbrige with my Dad during the winter, and brining home catches of whiting and ling. And the cold could be bitter, but blessedly there was a fishing ‘shack/snackbar’ where the Old Man would get me hot chocolates.

  2. John says:

    Crooke’s Point on S.I. which was created as part of Great Kills Park.

  3. therealguyfaux says:

    “Perhaps soon, I’ll explore another overlooked tip of land in our city or college campus. Any you would recommend?”

    SUNY Maritime, and cross two off the bucket list?

  4. Harley Nemzer says:

    Attended KCC 1969 to 1971 before the permanent buildings were there; just temporary ones left from the Merchant Marines….who took it over from a small amusement area left from the Oriental Hotel days. A vacant Bar, sagging buildings and a small bandshell was still there from before the Merchant Marines. Great sight lines of the water, not like today.
    Back then the legend was John Phillips Sousa played at that bandshell; he did write “Manhattan Beach March” and spent time there. Sure wish I took pictures!

    Next stop for me was UCLA ” University Corner Lexington Avenue” (Baruch), but that is not an interesting campus to explore!

    • Mark Wilner says:

      I attended KCC from 72-74. Even then it was the old Quonset huts. Transferred the 64 credits over to UCLA and ultimately got a BA in 76.

  5. Gbear says:

    I worked on the stone fascia in 1972. It has aged well..

  6. Les says:

    I believe the Air Force also used the site as a reception station or some other function during WWII and perhaps also late 40′s, early 50′s.

  7. Dan says:

    I would offer, ideally, that you explore the Esplanade there but, now it’s probably washed away, and privatized. I have faint memories of walking on that path.

  8. Frank says:

    Thanks for this fascinating piece. I think it is a great campus and having a beach is fantastic…really appreciate your story.

  9. John Broderick says:

    I lived in a Quonset in 1947. My father was an officer in the Navy during WWII. He had just gotten off active duty and we were awaiting an apartment in Parkchester, which was not yet ready. Only good thing I remember was that my Grandparents, who lived in Rockaway, would visit us often.

  10. Bruce says:

    There is also a beautiful and very exclusive Public High School on the Campus called the Leon M Goldstein High School for the Sciences (you need very good grades to be accepted). My daughter will be going there in the fall.

  11. maritza aponte says:

    i attended kingsborough community college when they were just baracks… 1972-1975. where are the photos.

  12. Albert Sherman says:

    I was stationed at Manhatten Beach Air Force Station as an eighteen old airman (the current site of KCC) from late 1955 to part of 1956. The mission of this facility was to process airmen leaving for overseas assignments and coming back from overseas to be discharged. I was a medic and part of the team that performed the examinations of these airmen. We also had a small medical clinic for the airmen who worked on the base. I remember the beach outside the base but never used it. The transit bus came near to the entrance to the base and you could take it to the subway station at Sheephead’s Bay or Brighton Beach. I attended night school at Brooklyn College and had great experiences in Manhatten. This was my introduction to NYC and I’ve loved it ever since.

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