86th STREET in Bensonhurst

by Kevin Walsh

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).



Jeffrey H. Wasserman December 26, 2011 - 7:45 am

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

Camille DeRosa Widdows April 19, 2015 - 8:38 pm

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 April 25, 2015 - 1:25 pm

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 March 5, 2017 - 7:07 pm

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.

Sue December 31, 2018 - 11:36 pm

I lived in Chelsea apt building on 25th ave. I loved reliable bakery! Squares were the best! I was at Lenny’s when the were filming Saturday Night Fever! Love those old Brooklyn days! I will always miss them

Fran October 10, 2017 - 10:27 pm

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 February 11, 2018 - 8:54 am

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 February 12, 2018 - 10:05 pm

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.

Anonymous August 6, 2018 - 12:48 pm

Used to be called VillaBella

Sue December 31, 2018 - 11:37 pm

I think Angelos bakery. Best Italian ices!

William neco May 24, 2020 - 5:56 pm

What about the roll a Big eventbtherevin 74 honored celebs to come out of brooklyn. Also staged the only mr and ms bensonhurst contest

Mike King November 6, 2015 - 7:21 pm

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 November 12, 2015 - 5:40 pm

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 April 7, 2016 - 11:30 pm

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 August 27, 2017 - 9:14 pm

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 April 21, 2016 - 8:09 am

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

Anonymous July 4, 2018 - 10:08 am

So true

Norm Cherkis April 16, 2022 - 9:42 pm

I lived on 85th off 20th Ave and went to Lafayette 1955-1957. I used to stop at Mazie’s (Reliable) on the way home for a slice or two, just to keep my weight level. I departed the :’hoist in 1957 for Queens and finished HS at Van Buren but used to drive back to get Reliable pies. I ordered them by phone, asked for half-baked and finished them off after getting home. When I departed NY for good, (got a job in Washington DC) I used to drive up for FOOD. Reliable would set me up with SIX half-bakes which I brought back to DC and froze them for future use. I would also get deli from Hi-Tulips, off the west corner of 20th Ave on 86th St, under the West End El 20th Ave. station.

John Falcone April 1, 2017 - 12:06 am

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….

Michael Zarou November 26, 2017 - 7:44 pm

You probably knew my Aunt – Lilian Habeeb

Louis Scorza February 12, 2018 - 10:08 pm

I was 5 when the bank opened. Do you remember they had members of the Brooklyn Dodgers there?

Ralph October 27, 2018 - 8:40 pm

Did Miss Habeeb work at the Williams bank ? If so I have a strange story to tell.

Bob Greves January 23, 2021 - 7:53 pm

Don’t know how i found this site. I Went to St. Mary’s, i think we were in the same grade.Graduated 1974. Jimmy Brunetto’s mother

worked at Reliable Bakery. Double slice and a coke 50cents. Bobby Greves

John August 27, 2017 - 11:23 am

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

Susan December 6, 2017 - 6:06 pm

Believe it was the Mother Daughter store

Joseph D'Antona August 22, 2019 - 5:42 am

I am still looking for a pizza that comes close to Uncle Mario’s . I remember Ross and Albert and those big ovens cranking out bread and pizza. Those were memories that last a lifetime.

Annette October 3, 2017 - 6:20 pm

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 November 5, 2017 - 2:33 pm

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 February 24, 2018 - 11:22 am

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.

Anonymous February 18, 2019 - 5:19 am

I think it was Mary’s Restaurant next to Rex bakery same side of street as John bargains store . I went to St Mary’s in late 60’s and 70’s Joe Succoso

Joseph Russo October 17, 2019 - 4:59 pm

I grew up on 83rd Street between 19th and 20th ave. I remember Villa Ruggeiro, I was a fan of the Veal Siciliana, which is veal & eggplant parmigiana together as one. Now I have the same dish in Enzo’s of Williamsbridge Ave” (Bronx, Morris Park).

John May 19, 2020 - 10:08 am

Villa Abatte.

Anonymous December 27, 2021 - 11:23 am


Arthur Cohn April 5, 2013 - 2:09 am

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 September 20, 2014 - 9:18 pm

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 November 21, 2014 - 4:24 pm

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 November 20, 2015 - 4:28 am

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 April 22, 2016 - 7:17 pm

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.

Frank V March 12, 2020 - 12:42 am

I was born in 1987 and raised in Bensonhurst.. Lived in Bay 28th between 86th and Benson until 2014 when I was 27.. Even though I’m probably younger than a lot of people here, there are a ton of places that I miss from the 90’s that no longer exist.. Just going to list off the top of my head.. Met Food owner by Mr. and Mrs. Kim on 86th st between Bay 28th and Bay 29th.. The Wiz on the corner of Bay Parkway and 86th st.. Richielou Diner on 86th st between 20th ave and 21st ave.. Nuts n Candy on the same block.. The bank on the corner of 86th st and 21st ave that is now NY & Company.. The Empress Jewish Deli on 86th st off the corner of Bay Parkway.. Chef Wong on 86th st between Bay Parkway and Bay 29th.. The Lowe’s Movie Theatre on 86th st between Bay 19th and Bay 20th.. Marlboro Movie Theatre down Bay Parkway and the 60’s streets.. More Fun, the Flea Market that turned into K Mart and now Kohl’s.. Waldbaums that turned into Best Buy, Roy Rogers that turned into Wendy’s, all in Caesar’s Bay.. I’m sure I have plenty more lol

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 6:59 pm

I believe Hi Tulips was on Bay Parkway and 86th Street

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 7:07 pm

I too lived on Bay 29th Street between 86th & Benson (at 69 Bay 29th) from 1947 to 1969. Did you know a Pepito who lived in the first house down from 86th street next to the barber shop. If so do you know what became of him? I used to get my haircuts at that barber shop and they had I believe a nice collection of men’s magazines (I believe Playboy was one) to peruse while waiting your turn. Those were the days, when barber shops were barber shops!

Anthony St James November 13, 2018 - 5:48 pm

Yes, we remember the One Above Two Below head shop. In fact, we named our hard rock band after it! https://www.facebook.com/1above2below/

Andy M April 5, 2020 - 12:37 pm

Yes I was friends with the son Alan and worked there a few times. It was one of a kind

tommy sannuto jr November 2, 2017 - 3:36 pm

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.

Abe Goldstein June 29, 2018 - 3:48 pm

True. But before then it was the Dime Savings Bank. When i was a kid, my mother took me there to meet the Brooklyn Dodgers, and i shook hands with Gil Hodges, Roy Campanella, Duke Snyder, etc.

Kenny B. January 5, 2019 - 5:22 pm

You wouldn’t by any chance be the same Abe Goldstein who lived on Bay Parkway off of Cropsy Ave.? PhD in Medieval literature? If so, I can be reached at Ken@mahays.com

Fay Cheifo May 14, 2019 - 2:19 pm

What are you, some kind of frigin intellectual, leave me alone or I’ll get Vinny Ch. on your case.

Anonymous September 5, 2019 - 2:17 am

Did you graduate from Lafayette around 1963 and go to Brooklyn College?

Dr shoe August 9, 2020 - 8:46 pm

Yep and we use 2 play hand ball on the 86th street side add and get yelled at

Susan Amatucci September 27, 2020 - 8:04 pm

What was across the street from the Dimes Savings Bank. Wasn’t there another bank there?

Gil October 28, 2020 - 2:43 pm

The Oriental, I believe.

Norm Cherkis April 16, 2022 - 9:48 pm

The Dime was on the corner of 86th and 20th Ave. I had an account there until I moved to Washington DC in 1963. I bought my bedroom furniture with the savings. I am still sleeping on it, some 58 1/2 years later.

Jeana November 21, 2022 - 5:09 pm

Chase Manhattan. I think it was called
manufactuers bank or something

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 6:42 am

Across from the Dime Savings bank was Woolworth later to become Jahns. Circa 1947 -1957 PS 128 was up the street on 21St Ave.

Susan December 6, 2020 - 6:38 pm

Wonderful details on the early days of our neck of Brooklyn…Really appreciate all the history & photos !!!!

Francine H January 26, 2021 - 6:15 pm

There is an error in this well researched entry. The ethnic makeup of post WW2 Bensonhurst when I lived on 19 AAve anCropsey, attending PS 200 and junior high at PS 128 from about 1950 to 1961 was 49% southern Italian, 49% Jewish ( mostly Ashkenazi with a minority of Sephardi who spoke Ladino) and a few Greeks and others. The Jewish population mostly moved to the suburbs around 1960.My synagogue, Beth Shalom People’s Temple merged twice with other congregations and no longer used the Bensonhurst building.

Ryan Konkoski March 29, 2021 - 3:24 pm

Does anyone remember or have pictures of the Bensonhurst Discount Book Store? Was on 86th Street off of 19th Ave. When I was a kid I would shovel all the neighbors houses and blow the money comics and books here.

john redden August 5, 2022 - 11:22 am


Fred Phillips December 25, 2011 - 9:49 pm

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.

Susan April 14, 2021 - 4:55 pm

Does anyone remember the Famous cafeteria on 86 street. They moved to Florida somewhere. Does anyone know where

Sandy Belkin April 27, 2021 - 7:02 pm

In 1954-1956, my home away from home was 86St & Bay Parkway
We were in and out of famous on a nightly basis. We hung out in the pool hall, the Bay Bar and most of all the
the corner,
It was my, “Good Old Days”. Like everyone good old days, memories I still carry with me to this day.

Norm Cherkis April 16, 2022 - 9:50 pm

Was that Doyle’s Pool Hall? It was near the end of the block, near the Vim’s store, down a couple of steps. They had a 4 lane bowling alley there.

Robert Levinson December 20, 2022 - 3:26 pm

Graduated Lafayette in ‘63. Shopped on 86thSt with my grandfather in the 50’s. Worked at the Met Food on Bay Parkway between 85th & 86th. Whenever I had a quarter I’d go the Famous. If I had a dollar I’d go to Jahn’s. My heart is still there.

Richie O December 25, 2011 - 10:44 pm

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

Tal Barzilai December 25, 2011 - 11:32 pm

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.

Stephanie December 28, 2011 - 10:35 am

There are also small Mormon houses of worship in Chelsea and upper Manhattan.

howie December 26, 2011 - 4:53 am

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 December 28, 2011 - 10:37 am

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 February 11, 2012 - 11:43 pm

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 March 23, 2012 - 2:07 pm

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 March 26, 2013 - 8:23 pm

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 February 21, 2014 - 4:54 pm

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 October 26, 2017 - 8:17 am

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

mike santa September 29, 2017 - 8:15 pm

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. March 31, 2014 - 7:41 pm

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. March 31, 2014 - 8:03 pm

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

freddy abrams April 8, 2015 - 1:01 am

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 June 12, 2017 - 10:15 am

hey Freddie i was just thinking of Bruce his brother Austin

louis c governara June 12, 2017 - 10:27 am

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

Norm Cherkis April 16, 2022 - 9:56 pm

Ya got me by 2 years, Mike. My brother, also from 2031 85th St. lived in Vegas and has since 1970 or so, after he got out of the air force. He is a photographer there–write me at nzhcherkis@yahoo.com and I will send you his name and address.

Anonymous February 18, 2018 - 2:48 pm

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

al salvatore March 14, 2020 - 7:04 pm

i remember you louie, you were known more as louie bop, thats what everyone knew you by. you would once in a while come to the ps 200 school yard and play touch football,. you were fast and you were tough, you hung with a tough crowd, but i know you enjoyed playing in those saturday games

Peter Bonacci January 23, 2021 - 9:08 am

hey Louie your neighbor from Staten Island i will never forget you .Snow mobiles up and down Notus Ave .All the rides you gave me to Brooklyn .Ella your wife you guys will always be in my heart forever .almost forgot crashing your car LoL you were the best hope all is well

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 7:24 pm

There was a Black family that inhabited a basement apartment of a building on the corner of Bay Parkway & Benson Ave. They were the caretakers I believe. You are right about the paucity of Blacks in
Bensonhurst at least until 1969 when I left. Indeed, my 1960 and 1961 Bensonhurst Junior High school yearbooks show I believe only one Black student in each of those years’ graduating classes (I’m typing this away from home where those yearbooks are but I believe I am correct or nearly so in this). One of these was a Denise Cave who was a gifted illustrator and writer whose drawings and prose graced the
yearbooks. Anyone know what became of her?

Melvga August 7, 2018 - 5:03 pm

I grew up on Benson Avenue and Bay 19 street, and up until the 70s, there were African-American families living on Bay 19 street and 18 avenue between Bath and Benson Avenues. They were there for a very long times but I am not sure of their origin. As someone else said there was always a large presence in the Coney Island area, and particularly on Gravesend Neck Road, where the groom’s lived who too care of the horses from the McDonald Avenue racetrack. I believe some descendents are still living there.

Al September 9, 2019 - 7:40 am

I went to ‘128 from about ’57 to ’60. I had Mrs. Deutsch and the loathsome Miss Mesmer as social studies teachers. There were only about 20 or 30 “negroes” at ‘128 with hundreds of whites. But, in one of those years we elected Douglas Lanier, whose family came from the West Indies to settle in Bensonhurst, as class president.

Vivian Piccirillo Gerfo April 2, 2020 - 10:28 am

I attended 128 from about 52 through 54, was in the SP. Mrs. deutsch ran the Dance Club and we were close to her. Remember mrs Mesmer, Mr Fingerman, Mr. Somer,, Mrs. Cascio. Wonderful memories!!,

Roger Anthony November 10, 2019 - 9:31 pm

The Wikipedia article on Bath Beach mentions that it had an early African American community on land given to freed slaves in the 1840s and 1850s. I remember the small community left there in the early 1950s. I went to PS 101 in the mid 1940s and then to JHS 128 and then to Lafayette – there was only one African American in my classes before High School – a nice girl named Wilhelmina Thomas.

Mark B Shernicoff December 20, 2020 - 10:51 am

I went to the same schools. Graduated 101 in 1954; 128 in 1957 and Lafayette in 1960.

Norm Cherkis April 16, 2022 - 10:00 pm

Roger–did you draw cartoons for the Marquis mag at Lafayette? I have the Spring 1957 issue–has your “Animal Soup” cartoons.

Rita Weinstein Schrader Bromwich March 24, 2022 - 1:51 pm

Lived in Bensonhurst from 1940 to 1979.Lived on 77th st and new Utrecht ave.Went to new Utrecht HS.Then went to Brooklyn Jewish hospital nursing school.Many wonderful memories most good and some sad but they made me who I am today.

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 6:50 am

THere was a small a small community of Afro Americans as you mentioned on 18th Ave between Bath and 86th Street Rex Bakery and Vim Store were on the comers, they blended in just fine with everyone. I don’t remember the name for the Funeral home on 18Th Ave between Bath and Benson. Was it Garafolo Bros?

Angie June 20, 2014 - 11:08 pm

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.

frank July 28, 2018 - 8:04 am

Sandy Kofax went to Lafayette HS as did Larry King. Fred Wilpon jut to name a few. there has bee a large Jewish presence in the Neighborhood for decades. As people got older and children moved to the burbs Neighborhoods change.

Sal January 21, 2018 - 4:24 am

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

Mark July 31, 2019 - 10:42 pm

Isn’t that more Gravesend, since it’s across Stillwell on the east side?

kallikak December 26, 2011 - 1:15 pm

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 December 29, 2011 - 10:50 am

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

kallikak January 1, 2012 - 12:28 pm

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 January 5, 2013 - 12:39 am

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 May 8, 2013 - 9:28 am

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 February 8, 2014 - 8:26 am

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

Richie June 22, 2017 - 12:24 pm

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 June 22, 2017 - 12:39 pm

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. November 4, 2017 - 8:06 pm

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 January 21, 2018 - 3:15 pm

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.

charlie October 18, 2018 - 8:02 am

hi karen, this is charlie lived on 85st bet 21st ave and bay parkway, i found you on classmates one time years ago and we emailed each other a few time, i went out with fran that lived on top of phllips you and fran stoped by my house a few times we were like 12 13 years old lol, i remember you very well you had a dark complexion and black hair we went to ps 128,, fran had blond hair and she had a brother named philip crazy little kid back then,,,lol,, hope to hear from you my email sonnyone711@mail.com .

Sheila March 24, 2022 - 10:41 am

My grandfather loved going to Dubrows

walter January 11, 2013 - 3:18 am

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 April 8, 2015 - 1:17 am

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.

MARIO IANNOTTA September 8, 2018 - 8:40 pm

I lived on Harway and 27th Ave. I remember Murphy’s had the best meatball hero’s and malteds. Still can picture all the sanitation trucks double parked as the workers ate there daily.

Pearl January 2, 2012 - 7:43 pm

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

LRA November 7, 2014 - 6:18 am

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 July 27, 2015 - 6:25 pm

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

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 3:49 pm

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" February 18, 2016 - 6:24 pm

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 January 10, 2018 - 7:07 pm

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

esta schwartz hirschman December 25, 2018 - 7:06 pm

I also went to ps 128 and then to lafayette h.s. sandy koufax was a basketball player 2 yrs before I came to lafayette everyone went to benson cafeteria . I lived on 2128 84th st between 21st ave and bay parkway. Great memories

Michael Schlossberg MD December 19, 2019 - 10:12 pm

Hello Fred,I played basket ball with Sandy at the JCH.Your name is familiar to me.I used to eat at the Famous and Irving’s and knew the corner well.Larry King hung out there too.My younger brother’s buddy at that time was Larry’s .I still think of Bensonhurst and visited several years ago.It was emotional for me.
I’m a retired physician and have lived in Atlanta since 1967.

Norm Cherkis April 16, 2022 - 10:06 pm

Remember the Aspromonte brothers? They were older than me but could see them when they played at Ebbets Field

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 7:31 pm

Mike, did you have a brother named Miles (tall, glasses, well built, chess player)?

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 4:21 pm

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 September 5, 2015 - 4:06 pm

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 September 12, 2015 - 4:42 pm

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 September 15, 2015 - 2:16 pm

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 December 18, 2015 - 12:33 pm

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 March 14, 2017 - 6:36 pm

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 August 29, 2017 - 4:18 pm

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.

Joseph D'Antona August 22, 2019 - 5:59 am

I am still looking for a pizza that comes close to Uncle Mario’s . I remember Ross and Albert and those big ovens cranking out bread and pizza. Those were memories that last a lifetime.

Andy M April 5, 2020 - 12:35 pm

Absolutely true. His name was Hymie. If you gave him a quarter or more he would punch a lower amount or double the meat on the sandwich. We used to pull 2 tickets at once as a bunch of kids at the same time and then turn in the cheaper one. I went to PS 101 then 128 where a slice and orange or grape drink at pizza stop was 25 cents. Anyone remember Katz’s deli on 86tjh and bay parkway or Hy Tulip Deli? I worked at both.

Roger Anthony November 10, 2019 - 10:04 pm

My parents were Jim and Lil Anthony, with a nursery, landscaping and flower shop business at 2340 Cropsey Avenue – at the foot of Bay 34th Street. For a number of years we provided plants for the front of the Famous, where there was some kind of long low planter outside. We kept getting complaints that they didn’t last – but it was because all the kids hanging out in front of the place would sit on the front of the planter.

Maurice Margulies March 26, 2020 - 3:33 pm

Maurice Margulies here. My parents and I lived in the apartment building at the southeast corner of Bay 28th and Benson Avenue,diagonally across the street from the Talmud Torah. That was about 1935. Ira Hader and I played together. I certainly remember the Famous Dairy Cafeteria north side of 86th Street between Bay Parkway and 21st Avenue. When I was bout five (born 1931) we moved to Bay 31st street. At that time the neighborhood was about half Jewish and half Neopolitan-Sicilian. I certainly remember the Reliable Bakery. I have not been able to fine Italian bread made with semolina flour since I left Bensonhurst in 1952.

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 5:49 am

Roger, you and I went thru schools together, I am Johnny Iuzzini, 211 Cropsey Avenue. I remember so many places in Bensonhurst from the 40s;and 50s up to when I joined the Navy. I cam out and became a Plumber, Restaurant business with my older Brother Lou aka Uncle Lou in Bensonhurst Park. That was the Dime Savings Bank on 21St and 86th across from Jahns up the block from Famous Cafeteria below Ames Billiards and Richland Clothing on the corner of Kingsway & 86th St.
Harvey Richland was his son and e hung out on 23rd Ave,

Maurice Margulies March 27, 2020 - 4:24 pm

I knew Ira Hader as a kid when we lived in the apartment house at Benson and Bay 28th diagonally across from Sons of Isreal Talmud Torah.

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 8:37 pm

Regarding the Talmud Torah: Though my parents weren’t particularly religious, I was forced to attend Hebrew school there and Bar Mitzvahed there against my will (I was an atheist even then). The rabbi there at the time was Morgenstern, or something like that. Well, there is this Jewish holiday, I believe it is Yom Kippur, during which observant jews are supposed to fast for the day. A few days before the holiday Morgenstern came into our class and gave us a little talk. Basically he said, “I know you are young and I don’t expect you to be able to fast the whole day but do the best you can.” After the holiday he again visited our class and we all had to stand up in turn and state how long we were able to keep the fast, some being more successful than others, with Morgenstern heaping praise on those who were able to keep the fast the entire day or nearly so. When it came to me I answered, “breakfast.” With a look of dismayed resignation he asked what I had for breakfast and I replied, “bacon,” which we had every weekend. Had Morgenstern gone to law school he would have learned what trial lawyers are told their first year: Never ask a question of someone on the witness stand unless you know ahead of time what the answer will be. Sandy Beitsch, sbeitsch@yahoo.com .

Maurice Margulies July 31, 2020 - 3:07 pm

Maurice Margulies here. Lived in apartment house at southeast corner of Bay 28th and Benson. The Hader’s lived in that building and I used to play with Ira. We lived there probably around 1935/6/7. I very well remember the Famous Dairy Cafeteria run by the Hader family. Now I am in suburban Washington DC.

Maurice Margulies January 25, 2022 - 10:43 pm

for Herb Hader. Was Ira your father? I played with Ira whenI I was like 4 or 5 and lived in the apartment building catty corner to the Talmud Torah. Maurice Margulies

stella April 21, 2016 - 8:16 am

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 August 19, 2017 - 4:42 pm

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.

Winnie December 26, 2011 - 10:11 pm

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 May 3, 2015 - 10:25 pm

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.

Regina June 19, 2019 - 9:55 pm

Hi Dorothy, I lived on 54 st between 5 & 6.ave. Went to PS 94 from 1961- 1965. Had Miss McDonald in 1 st grade. Loved Seebodes ice cream parlor on 50th st and 5th. Golden’s Pizza on 49 & 5 ave. Moved to Bensoin 6 th grade and discovered a second wonderful neighborhood to grow up in.

Ken P November 18, 2015 - 6:00 pm

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

Francine Williams November 3, 2020 - 5:29 pm

Club 24, under the El?

Old Skool December 27, 2011 - 7:04 pm

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?

Suzanne December 28, 2011 - 1:28 pm

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 June 2, 2014 - 1:04 pm

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.

Anonymous February 19, 2019 - 11:31 am

hung out on that corner throughout the 60s. just turned 72

Ferryboi December 28, 2011 - 2:53 pm

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.

Ferryboi December 28, 2011 - 3:45 pm Reply
walter January 11, 2013 - 2:22 am


chris December 28, 2011 - 3:21 pm

The winged wheel symbolizes swiftiness

Allen Benett December 28, 2011 - 4:56 pm

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.

Adrastos December 29, 2011 - 10:51 am

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 February 8, 2014 - 8:28 am

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

jeff frankel June 27, 2014 - 3:38 pm

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.

Sylvester August 15, 2017 - 12:50 pm

Jeff Sarachick? I remember him. He was friends with my brother Angelo Matera. LOL!

Lisa February 3, 2018 - 6:45 am

Jeff Sarachik is my step-dad!

charlie October 18, 2018 - 8:10 am

i remember a eric sarachik lived on 84st

Sheila Goldberg May 3, 2020 - 5:06 pm

I knew Eric Sarachik. Yes he lived on 84th Street between 21st Avenue and Bay Parkway. The last time I saw him was about 20 years ago when he visited his Mom before she died. From Florida

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 3:56 pm

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 August 17, 2015 - 1:26 pm

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 March 27, 2016 - 12:53 pm

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 April 4, 2017 - 9:35 am

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 April 9, 2017 - 6:11 pm

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 April 5, 2018 - 7:02 pm

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.

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 9:40 pm

I believe it was Rex bakery that also sold Italian ices in a white paper cup. I loved the lemon (it had actual lemon pits in it so it was the real thing). Sandy Beitsch sbeithsch@yahoo.com

Joe ferraro June 13, 2017 - 10:42 pm

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

charlie October 18, 2018 - 8:07 am

is this janet marx

Wayne Q March 6, 2018 - 11:41 am

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!!!!

Anonymous May 14, 2018 - 6:00 pm

Hi, Jahn’s as on 86th street and corner of 21st avenue

Norm Cherkis April 16, 2022 - 10:14 pm

Jahn’s had a sign that said, “You get the second one free if you can eat the first one by yourself.” I was skinny as a rail but had a metabolic rate that people would kill for. I could eat a Kitchen Sink, and then get the second one free, for all my friends. They paid for the first one!

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 9:55 pm

I remember Jahn’s had a large fish tank.

Karen February 15, 2020 - 2:50 pm

Loved Jahns as a kid..and remember The Farm & Famous Cafeteria? Awesome memories.

John Dereszewski December 30, 2011 - 11:39 am

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.

K-Train December 31, 2011 - 10:20 am

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).

KevinJWalsh December 31, 2011 - 5:18 pm

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

Dave C. January 1, 2012 - 7:59 pm

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.

Vincent La Marca January 13, 2012 - 1:25 pm

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.

Don Cuevas January 15, 2012 - 8:15 pm

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 May 8, 2013 - 9:32 am

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.

Camille DeRosa Widdows April 19, 2015 - 8:49 pm

and the pickles in the barrels were the BEST!!!!!

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 4:01 pm

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.

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 9:52 pm

Well Fred, maybe you couldn’t cut the mustard. How about free buns? Sandy Beitsch sbeitsch@yahoo.com

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jack February 24, 2012 - 8:33 am

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

carri Levy June 20, 2017 - 2:22 pm

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

Meir Frank March 6, 2020 - 6:12 pm

My brother bought his ’65 Pontiac Catalina at Alpine Motors, in late 1964. It was a white convertible. When he went to Viet Nam he lent it to me and then he gave it to me while I was in Chcago. But I moved to Brooklyn and visited the dealership once. I was 20 when he lent me the car. I’d never had a convertible before. I’m 73 now and every car I’ve owned since then has been a convertible. (My brother is a doctor and spent a year in Cu Chi but wasn’t injured.)

Dawn March 26, 2012 - 9:22 am

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 November 26, 2013 - 12:38 am

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 January 6, 2015 - 1:41 am

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.

Rosemary January 22, 2021 - 10:43 am

I am so grateful I stumbled on this, I lived on 86th between 20th and 21st. Looked at all the photo’s and reading everyone’s comment brought tears to my eye.I loved Uncle Bobs bagels and everything made from there. :(…

Jennifer April 11, 2012 - 4:08 pm

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.

PAUL July 3, 2012 - 6:25 pm

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.

Irving D. Kaplan July 22, 2012 - 5:49 pm

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 January 5, 2013 - 12:50 am

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

karl constantino May 8, 2013 - 9:37 am

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 February 8, 2014 - 8:29 am

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

Helayne June 20, 2014 - 10:16 pm

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 March 31, 2015 - 12:13 pm


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 August 8, 2015 - 4:27 pm

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

Louie July 4, 2015 - 9:52 am

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 July 4, 2015 - 11:14 am

Karl you can contact me at summerfevr@aol.com

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 4:09 pm

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.

mindy August 10, 2018 - 7:42 pm

I grew up (well may just got older) at 7920-19th avenue. My parents lived there from 1943-2011. Best times of my life……

Irving D. Kaplan July 22, 2012 - 5:50 pm

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

Karen January 5, 2013 - 12:53 am

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 February 3, 2014 - 11:45 am

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 November 7, 2014 - 6:11 am

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.

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 10:39 pm

Speaking of final “R’s”: When I came to Minnesota in ’69 as a grad student I was teaching a geology lab and used the word “idea” which caused a student to ask what I was talking about. After repeating myself several more times and still getting no comprehension I said, “I-D-E-A-R, idear”). People here in Minnesota can still peg me as a former New Yorker.

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 4:32 pm

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 August 8, 2015 - 4:15 pm

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 September 15, 2015 - 2:23 pm

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

Gil September 17, 2015 - 10:26 am

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.

Sheryl September 6, 2012 - 10:27 pm

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 January 5, 2013 - 12:58 am

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 January 11, 2013 - 2:21 am

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 August 8, 2015 - 4:47 pm

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 April 15, 2016 - 5:52 pm

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 April 18, 2018 - 10:09 pm

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 August 12, 2013 - 4:09 pm


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 December 7, 2014 - 2:27 pm

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

Sandy April 4, 2015 - 4:14 pm

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

Vito Murgolo August 12, 2018 - 9:23 pm

I was in Dennis Lupo’s 9th grade graduation class at ps128. I recall comments in the graduation book
regarding Dennis “Never early, never late, never comes to 128”.

Roger Anthony November 10, 2019 - 10:16 pm

In the late 1950s and early 1960s I was fiends with a group of kids who graduated Lafayette in 1956 – one year ahead of me, including Denny Lupo. The others were Jason Gilbert, Michael Merendino and Norman Sabowitz. For some reason one summer everyone got interested in playing bridge and remember having a game at my house where Denny insisted on saying “trumf” instead of “trump”. Paul Sorvino was at that game – we were not friends but at that time a few of the others and Paul were involved some sort of theater workshop in the city (at the east side amphitheater) with Michael Alaimo. In the Fall of 1963 I was on an art scholarship in India and got a letter from Jason telling me that Deny’s mother had not seen him for some days and asked his friends to look for him – but it did not help and he was found drowned,

Paul October 16, 2012 - 9:28 am

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.

Leo October 22, 2012 - 10:55 pm

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.

Patricia November 21, 2012 - 12:31 pm

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 December 2, 2012 - 8:59 am


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 January 5, 2013 - 1:00 am

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

Steven March 13, 2013 - 4:37 am

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 June 20, 2014 - 11:20 pm

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! 🙂

Donald August 16, 2015 - 1:09 pm

I moved to New jersey in 1987 on rte 35 north in hazlet the normandie still thri

Angie Callahan June 17, 2020 - 8:21 pm

Hi Donald… I’m just seeing your reply now. I also live in Monmouth County NJ now (Howell). Would love to find a good Jewish bakery, especially for the leaf cookies!

Jason November 17, 2014 - 11:45 am

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 August 8, 2015 - 4:51 pm

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

Vito Murgolo August 12, 2018 - 9:29 pm

I worked as a delivery boy for an italian deli which was near schlom & Deutsch. Esposito brothers
Frank and Tony owners.

harvey February 5, 2014 - 10:56 am

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

Irv February 14, 2013 - 2:17 pm

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

traci March 7, 2013 - 9:27 am

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?

traci March 7, 2013 - 9:35 am

I also forgot to mention..I loved shopping at Caesars Bay Bazaar

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 10:42 pm

The other movie house in Bensonhurst was the “Benson.”

Dan Hoagland April 24, 2013 - 11:32 am

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.

karl constantino May 8, 2013 - 9:45 am

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 April 16, 2014 - 12:39 am

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 June 20, 2014 - 10:24 pm

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 April 2, 2015 - 12:57 pm

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 May 7, 2015 - 6:26 pm

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 October 19, 2017 - 1:18 pm

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.

Sandy Beitsch June 5, 2018 - 10:53 pm

Well, you are half correct. I am the son of Jack (sure beats being Son of Sam, if you remember that charming fellow). My legal first name is Sanford but I’ve never liked it (sounds too formal, high class, and respectable for my tastes) so I go by Sandy. You are not the first person to have inadvertently given me a sex change; it happens frequently. I’ll sometimes get calls from strangers looking for donations who, not knowing how to pronounce my last name, ask to speak to “Ms. Bitch.” I always find that hilarious; they must have failed Marketing 101.

Sandy Beitsch

Hilary November 4, 2015 - 3:14 pm

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.

Coney Ride ’87 May 16, 2013 - 6:35 am

[…] And, look, it’s the Loew’s Oriental movie palace–shuttered in 1995 and turned into a Marshall’s. […]

Sheryl May 21, 2013 - 7:23 pm

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.

Frank D'Onofrio July 28, 2013 - 1:29 pm

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 June 1, 2014 - 7:54 pm

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

AG August 13, 2013 - 7:18 pm

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

robert August 19, 2013 - 4:03 pm

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

Marlene March 4, 2014 - 11:44 pm

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 July 1, 2014 - 2:46 am

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

Steve July 9, 2022 - 3:06 pm

I know i’m Responding to a posting from 2014, but if you’re still alive & well & interested I would love to hear from you, especially about Jack. & Irvs. Why?…because I am married to one of Jack’s daughters. And you are most likely Shelley Brodsky. Phone no. Is 609-448-7864.

Roberto Cambria March 30, 2021 - 11:41 am

Regarding….Smolinsky’s Kosher Deli on 65th Street and Bay Parkway in Bensonhurst,Brooklyn…YES ! I remember it so well as a child in the 1960’s.The had jars of dill pickles and green tomatoes in vinegar-brine on the tables that were delicious ! My brother and i ordered beef hot-dogs or chicken salami on rye with fries and my dad ordered pastrami on rye and my mom corned-beef on rye with lots of Jew mustard and sometimes the hard Wurst beef salami, and a cream soda and two knishes. We would share the food and loved Jew deli,but we were not Jewish….just real native New Yonkers and true Brooklynites ! We went there often on Saturday afternoons after shopping at the nearby E.J.Korvette’s ,18th Avenue,or Century-21 on 86th Street,….back in the day !

Inky August 31, 2013 - 5:45 pm

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 July 30, 2015 - 3:52 pm

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?

Inky April 15, 2016 - 6:07 pm

Yes ! My address was 1967-81 Street. They called me Inky because I was the ink monitor in JHS 128/

frank previte January 21, 2018 - 3:38 pm

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

harvey October 2, 2013 - 1:39 pm

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 August 8, 2015 - 5:02 pm

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.

joan luchen October 20, 2013 - 11:05 am

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.

Paul Newman November 11, 2013 - 10:35 am


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 August 24, 2014 - 12:24 am

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…………………………

Gary Tomei November 25, 2013 - 11:03 pm

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 November 25, 2013 - 11:05 pm

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

Steve Schreiber June 19, 2014 - 10:35 am

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 June 19, 2014 - 4:48 pm

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 August 8, 2015 - 5:05 pm

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

Steve March 17, 2016 - 10:28 pm

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 February 18, 2015 - 4:53 pm

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.

jaye Artuso Grochowski November 26, 2013 - 8:22 am

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”.

Marty L December 20, 2013 - 10:20 am

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 May 30, 2014 - 2:01 am

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 June 20, 2014 - 11:29 pm

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.

Sandy Beitsch October 20, 2014 - 6:36 pm

Thank you Angie.

Sandy Beitsch October 28, 2014 - 9:23 pm

I checked this out and found a Vinny Trains but it doesn’t look like the Vinny I remember and this Vinny is way too young.

Thomas Bergman February 6, 2022 - 2:33 pm

Hey JIM i dont remember Waldbaums or Ceasers but do remember Nathans YEAAAY on the Bay Pkwy side of the parking lot.I was last there in the early 70s. and remember that was part of the bay where we caught bait fish to sell to fisherman back when you wouldnt get Ptomaine poisoning from eating them fish.I believe thats what closed up Famous cafeteria because they were getting their fish from there and around coney island piers.

donny cohen July 15, 2014 - 5:31 pm

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 October 21, 2014 - 2:42 pm

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 November 29, 2014 - 1:22 pm

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.

Kenny B. January 5, 2019 - 5:12 pm

Hey Donny, Amazing. I just left a response for Sandy Beitsch and here you are as well! This internet thingy really breaks through the time barrier. I used to play with your brother all the time. My brother Bernie briefly dated your sister Barbara. She was his first girl friend! As I mentioned to Sandy, I often wonder how we all turned out as adults. If you or your brother care to reach out, I can be reached at ken@mahays.com.

don forman January 23, 2014 - 5:28 pm

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 October 28, 2014 - 8:53 pm

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 January 24, 2015 - 6:32 pm

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 April 5, 2018 - 7:25 pm

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.

Sherry Azriel Abbate January 26, 2015 - 9:42 am

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

michael July 18, 2015 - 1:28 am

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

Sandy Beitsch July 24, 2015 - 6:20 pm

No, they made GREAT pizza!

harvey February 5, 2014 - 11:08 am

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 November 21, 2014 - 4:31 pm

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

Allan Bass February 13, 2014 - 9:06 am

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.

Gary February 15, 2014 - 7:35 pm

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.

allan bass June 15, 2014 - 2:05 am

Are you Gary Gordon? I knew everyone you mentioned and still have an active friendship with Herbie Goldenberg for seventy years. Email me at bass9932@bellsouth.net.

Deborah March 8, 2014 - 5:46 pm

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

Deborah March 8, 2014 - 6:11 pm

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

Noodles April 1, 2014 - 5:28 pm

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

Helayne June 20, 2014 - 10:32 pm

Ah jimmy Emma. Now that brings back live memories. Wow.

Bert July 7, 2014 - 6:59 pm

Jimmy Emma? OMG!! This was the little hood with the “gee” jacket who wrote in the Class of 1960 Lafayette HS graduation yearbook that his sole aspiration was to join the Navy.

maria September 14, 2014 - 1:32 am

wow that brings back memories I remember Pappa Bear ( Jerry) and jimmy Emma ,I’m still in Bensonhurst , where are u from Noodles??

frank curto June 23, 2017 - 11:56 am

Yep the rampers i grew up on 81st st in 1965 i remember the rampers they were a real tuff crew emma pappa big louie v joe vitale sammy gravano

frank curto June 23, 2017 - 12:01 pm

they all hung out by 79st and utrect i lived on 81st i remember pappa emma big louie joe vitale sammy gravano they were crazy kids very bad

frank previte January 21, 2018 - 3:48 pm

jimmie emma, was wacked near new utrecht high i believe, l knew alot of those guys.

savino April 5, 2014 - 9:59 am

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 November 30, 2015 - 10:46 am

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?

M MEHLMAN May 27, 2014 - 7:00 am


joseph spinelli May 29, 2014 - 9:04 am

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

Loretta Tormenia Purpura June 2, 2014 - 8:26 am

I only remember Del Rio dinner. Always went there after going to 4th Ave clubs. Dancing and having a good time. Many dinners on 4th ave. but always went back to The Del Rio.

Santo August 8, 2014 - 9:35 am

Wasn’t it called the Bay diner

Anonymous October 15, 2017 - 5:38 pm

skylight diner

Sandy Beitsch May 30, 2014 - 1:50 am

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 November 30, 2014 - 11:00 am

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 December 14, 2014 - 7:07 pm

Nope, never heard of her. Sorry.

Phyllis or assent krieger November 1, 2015 - 5:20 pm

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 December 10, 2015 - 11:35 am

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. October 20, 2017 - 12:20 am

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.

Kenny B. January 5, 2019 - 5:03 pm

Hey Sandy, Wow! Kenny Block here. I often think of the kids we grew up with on Bay 29th St. and wonder where are they now: you and your sister, Patty , Alan Cohen, Leslie, Paul, Alan Perl, etc. Amazing that Donny Cohen located you through this site! His older sister Barbara briefly dated my brother Bernie. And there were some of the girls like my cousin Carolyn and her sister Judy, Bonnie, Marilyn, Barbara, etal. Your dad was one of the great adults who would go to the park with us to play baseball. I wonder how we all managed to lose touch with each other rather suddenly (maybe that was when adolescence hit us. Don’t ask….oy!

Loretta June 2, 2014 - 8:15 am

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!

Stephen Shea June 2, 2014 - 8:25 am

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.

Sandy November 30, 2014 - 11:17 am

Yeah, Stephen.

Shelly from Jack and Irv's July 1, 2014 - 2:36 am

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 August 19, 2014 - 6:55 pm

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 April 12, 2015 - 9:53 am

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.

Marilyn Orlow April 27, 2016 - 10:45 pm

Hi Scott…I remember you. We had several mutual friends. I lived on 85th st. between 20th & 21st. Ave. Went to Lafayette class of 1969.

Scott Paris April 12, 2015 - 10:01 am

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 January 20, 2016 - 9:18 am

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 March 17, 2016 - 10:33 pm

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

Rita Plush August 3, 2014 - 2:31 pm

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 April 20, 2018 - 5:25 pm

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.

Rita Plush August 3, 2014 - 3:43 pm

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

Many thanks.

Rita Plush

Rita Plush August 3, 2014 - 3:54 pm

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

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 5:20 pm

Marty Zeiger and I were the only Cardinal fans in Brooklyn.

PAUL NEWMAN August 9, 2014 - 9:18 pm

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”.

keith allahand December 29, 2014 - 1:09 am

allahands was my grandfathers place, great memories from that area

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 5:21 pm

Doesn’t anyone remember Sids Pants?

Pauline Poremba August 27, 2014 - 1:18 am

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

Mike in fla via Bklyn October 14, 2014 - 1:28 pm

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.

owen blatt November 29, 2014 - 9:11 am

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.

David October 23, 2019 - 6:55 pm

Hi Owen, et al., Mr. Adler was my grandfather. Reading through the posts here, initiating lots of images. Remembering, hanging out behind the counter, watching the master slice lox, smoked sable,… thank you!!!

Tommy January 8, 2015 - 12:26 am

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.

Mariann January 8, 2015 - 7:06 am

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 August 8, 2015 - 5:24 pm

How about the Feedbox on Bay Parkway?

Bobby December 22, 2015 - 10:06 am

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

Jerry Jacob January 9, 2015 - 1:15 pm

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

Robert Francos January 9, 2015 - 3:14 pm

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 July 4, 2015 - 10:37 am

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

Bobby December 22, 2015 - 8:41 am

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.

Alan Sciandra November 6, 2018 - 4:50 pm

Remember the bowling alley and Tolins. I lived on 85th between 20th and 21st. Went to St Mary’s Mother of Christians school on 23rd between 84th and 85th. Then Xaverian HS. till relocated to NJ and now Fl. Would love to hear from old classmates and when I say old, I mean it, we are all around 70 by now. alan_sciandra@att.net

Anonymous September 5, 2019 - 2:39 am

Was the bowling alley Frankie and Johnny’s?

John Rinaldi September 15, 2020 - 11:20 pm

Frankie and Johnny’s bowling alley became Micali’s Banquet Hall on 86th St between 15th & 16th Aves. It was Louisiana Lanes on 86th St between 19th & 20th Aves, downstairs near the Dime Savings Bank.

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 7:09 am

Oriental Gardens, I used to run from Cropsey ave to 86th St and back to make sure it was still hot. Loved that place, they would give me a bowl of WonTon soup while I waited. I want to correct myself regarding Alba Poll Hall on 86th, I called it Ames, by mistake, I used to go to Ames in the City to watch the money games.
I went to 1947 PS 200, 128 and Lafayette,1957 US Navy, 1964 Bklyn College at night after work. I am 83 and I am still working after 35 years as a Plumber in NYC, I manage a Hi Rise Condo located in Mid Town East, 31 years on the job. Not ever thinking of retiring!!
Too young for that!

Peter D'Adamo January 11, 2015 - 5:16 am

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.

Lon Seidman June 13, 2022 - 8:44 pm

This comment was from a long time ago but I think the record store you’re referring to was owned by my grandfather. It was called Seidman’s Records I believe. I had no idea he was selling Woodstock tickets!

Mildred January 11, 2015 - 4:01 pm

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 January 17, 2015 - 4:41 pm

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 August 8, 2015 - 5:34 pm

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.

Anonymous February 15, 2019 - 8:07 pm

That was the Francis School of Music. I took trumpet lessons there from a guy named Vinnie Delesio. He eventually left the “school” so he could make more money so he gave home lessons at $5/week.

Sandy Beitsch February 4, 2015 - 10:12 pm

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 February 11, 2015 - 2:01 pm

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.

DJ October 12, 2020 - 7:02 pm

That house sounds like my grandparents house on 21st between Bath and Benson. It was a very large single family house with a yard because it was also my grandfathers office who was a doctor.

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 7:45 am

PS 128, I Remember Ms, Messmer wearing the same dress everyday and threatening me with the bottle of poison in her closet if I
didn’t behave, Like a Schmuck, I believed her, that was the only class I behaved in. PS 200, Mrs Kalish was my 6th grade teacher
and she had a son Bobby that I had to watch whenever we went on a field trip to a museum. I got left back because my mother started me to early in PS5 on Atlantic Ave and Tillary Street, she wanted to get me out of the house, I used to drive her crazy with my wild imagination, I was 5 years old when I moved to Bensonhurst 1946, 2111 Cropsey Ave. across from Bensonhurst
128 I loved Mrs Dewar, they called her a nasty nickname and I had many fights defending her name. Lafayette, Mrs.?? taught english
and drama and put me in the play in class Our Town as the lead character, when I got my cue for my very long prolog I blew right
past it, but she liked me and gave me a passing grade anyway. Mr Pocai, he always had an eye for the good looking guys in
Lafayette he taught Italian and was the Dean of Attendance, my mother visited him many times, because we spoke the Napolitano
dialect and he wanted me to learn grammar, I could not communicate with my grandparents in grammar and often got a beating for
calling my grandpa and bad name in grammar compared to the translation in dialect. I took Italian 3 years and failed!!

Kay RX was on the corner of Bay Pkwy and Bath Ave, I went to high school with their daughter. Very pretty girl and much sort after in school.

Kevin April 18, 2015 - 9:05 pm

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

Karen Amy Tanz October 2, 2018 - 10:55 pm

Did you know my mom? She too, was a concert pianist. We lived at South Hampton apts, 1429 Shore pkwy from 1959 to 1965. Her name was Janet Seidel. I am Karen Amy. Married name is Tanz. I also went to ps 200, but just for k and 1st grade. Then we moved to jersey. I am now 59 years old

Maurice Margulies March 27, 2020 - 11:30 pm

Kay’ pharmacy was not at Bay Parkway and Benson(forget the street – trolley ran on it). It was one block further to the ocean. There was nothing commercial at that intersection Benson & Bay Parkway.

Maurice Margulies March 28, 2020 - 10:49 am

I remembered. Kays Pharmacy was at Bay Parkway and Bath Avenue.

Sandy January 17, 2015 - 2:53 pm

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.

Michael Anzalone January 27, 2015 - 2:08 pm


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.


dave larkin February 21, 2015 - 1:02 pm

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 August 8, 2015 - 5:37 pm

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

Ron March 9, 2015 - 3:09 pm

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.

BeeBee March 25, 2015 - 10:52 pm

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.

joseph furia April 6, 2015 - 9:37 am

will mever be the same ====

Jim Dee April 16, 2015 - 8:34 am

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!

Loretta A. May 20, 2015 - 12:28 pm

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 November 4, 2015 - 3:34 pm

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?

DON COHEN May 20, 2015 - 5:34 pm

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

Joey Congiusta June 1, 2015 - 3:27 am

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 December 22, 2015 - 8:31 am

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 March 1, 2017 - 1:46 pm

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

Joe Congiusta November 14, 2017 - 9:29 pm

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 April 5, 2018 - 7:47 pm

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.

Anonymous September 10, 2018 - 3:42 pm

Hey Steve:

I had Mrs. Fischer in the fifth grade. She was one stern gal. I don’t think she smiled once all year……


jenny June 24, 2015 - 10:22 pm

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

Fred Horwitz August 8, 2015 - 5:39 pm

What does it mean that my posts are awaiting moderation?

Kevin Walsh August 9, 2015 - 2:56 pm

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

Sandy Beitsch September 15, 2015 - 2:39 pm

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 September 15, 2015 - 2:51 pm

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 February 3, 2016 - 4:16 am

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.

Sandy Beitsch May 16, 2019 - 1:02 pm

So, Don, there you were there, bat in hand, when little Donnie walked by. You realize of course, that at that moment you had in your hand the ability to change the course of history; and you blew it!
I don’t believe we non-Catholics were able to get out of school early (and yes, to my recollection, it was about 2PM on Wednesday) to attend religious indoctrination, but as I would have considered that the greater of two evils, I have no regrets (had I been allowed to leave I probably would have just gone home). Sandy Beitsch, sbeitsch@yahoo.com

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 7:54 am

My mother was the Manager at Rands Dry Cleaners and Shore Haven was just finished when we moved to 2111 Cropsey Ave. I remember getting lost coming home from PS 200 and when I saw ShoreHaven I knew where I was.
Thank you Trump Sr. or building ShoreHaven.

Please leave Politics out of this, we didn’t know a damn thing about it growing up, all we knew was sports, girls, school,
girls, School Sings, girls etc.

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 11:09 pm

I think that shop teacher’s name was Nisgoray or something like that and I believe it was metal shop, not wood. The rumor at the time was that he had a side business cutting tombstones and that he was perusing the obituaries looking for clients.

dorothy September 7, 2015 - 2:18 pm

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 September 15, 2017 - 9:25 am

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.

Tina Marie August 18, 2022 - 12:22 pm

Hi Ellie.
You said 80-90s
Do you remember a billards place “NAME” that was
located off of 86th & Utrect?? By “Miraglia Funeral home”.
If you know, please respond to me

fran September 30, 2015 - 11:57 am

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

fran October 2, 2015 - 3:41 am

sorry it used to be on 611 W and 207 st.
So does anybody recall an ice cream parlor named:Frantzeka?

Bobby December 21, 2015 - 11:44 am

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 August 15, 2017 - 11:00 am

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??

marion barreca reisz January 16, 2016 - 4:18 pm

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!!!!!

willy ruffian February 12, 2016 - 9:11 pm

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

Gerard Principio February 21, 2016 - 2:33 am

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 May 12, 2017 - 4:03 pm

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.

Thomas Bergman February 6, 2022 - 1:38 pm

Gerald and Eddie,my mom was born and raised on Bay 19 a few houses up from ST> FINBARS where i was the 1st child baptized by FATHER DE SANTIS in 1948.He hated to see me growing up as he was friends of the family right up to my 30s cause i was a reminder of his age and his early prieshood.If there was any priest i really liked it was him a genuine person who really cared and understood that us young kids at the time didnt really have to be perfect, i certainly wasn’t.

Joe February 23, 2016 - 1:42 pm

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 March 22, 2017 - 7:55 pm

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 September 22, 2017 - 5:58 pm

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 April 5, 2018 - 7:53 pm

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.

Michele February 9, 2020 - 10:00 pm

What is the name of the diner/restaurant that was on 86th and Bay 41? It is Rite aid now!

Thomas Bergman February 6, 2022 - 12:23 pm

Vito are you still here.My first hair cuts in the 50s and early 60s were from Bernie.I believe he charged 85 cents and mom gave me a dollar to give him to inc. 15 cent tip.If i went after or during his lunch he ate a salami sandwich everyday and when he blew the hair off the back of my neck ,well lets just say i can still smell it today at 73 yrs.old.I lived at 8810-24th ave. bet.bath and cropsey ,the only st. in the neighborhood still unpaved and full of potholes.and across the st. were to vacant lots up to the bus terminal.We played punch ball ,stickball on that st. Bay 38th st.We used to sneak in the front door in summer and close the huge overhead door and run.And in winter we snowballed the busses windows as thet drove by on Cropsey.There was a bowling ally on Harway at Bay 37th st. and the ownet wouldnt let us bowl without an adult even though we had money and would have been behaved .after he literaiiy pushed us out we happened across his sporty car alwys parked on corner and it was unlocked ! What luck ! so i figured rhere were lot of grass hoppers and spiders etc. so we found bottles in the vacant lots and gathered probably 100s of bugs and introduced them to the sporty convertible (cant remember the make).we also locked it behind us hoping he wasnt carry the key but couldnt hang around all day to observe the festivitees ,imagine all that poop. the vacant lot on 24th was paved as it became a middle school ,dont remember what happened to the lot on Bay 37th and the butcher that we bought our chicken at and watched be slaughtered .We were quite upset cause we didnt equate chicken with being a living being till then ,and also that people ate doves ,pidgeons and rabbitts ,which also disturbed us ..Those 2 lot s were full of stuff ro play with ,garbaged and stuff that didnt fit in a garbage pail was also dummped,inc parts for our bikes ,wood for a club house in a wooded area,and the cobble stones the city removed from st. as they were paved. Those stones became known to be worth a lot of money . After Christmas we gathered up huge piles of dumped Christmas trees and made some of the biggest fires you can imagine.I barely gtaduated Lafayette in 66 and St.Marys in 62,kindergarden at ps101.,Evert Tues. in summer we gathered on my porch for a great view of amazing fire works shot from barges in Coney Island.Thats a whole nother story.Penny profit next to Bernies,Betty and Joes candy store where we brought all the deposit bottles we found in the lots and spent that money there on penny candies soda fountain drinks and baseball card packs ,wish i still had them toaday i’d be rich >

Thomas Bergman February 6, 2022 - 1:27 pm

The above comment followed a guy named VITO but somehow wound up here.

Thomas Bergman February 6, 2022 - 1:25 pm

hey Ralphy,.are you still with us ? i past by the store some yrs. ago and didnt see it.always think of you then and when i watch The French connection or talk about it i always tell folks look for FRettas Pork store during the historical chase scens cause its past for then once on the way to 18th ave. I remember the car you bought the yellow Skylark i think with sport decals and engine etc. I wound working at my dads too,Hilltop Auto Painting at 1831 Cropsey between 18th ave and Bay 20 something st. I still have the postcards you sent me from your trip to Europe ,it meant a lot to me that you did that. I also still have the 1962 grad picture book , I cant remember if you grad or left St. Marys before that .,I have those things in a self storage unit in New Paltz,been here 7 months . I left Bklyn 5yrs. after getting hitched in 76 upstate to Hurley ny, and Greensboro N.C.divorced in 2002 left X with my home i invested my life in ,moved to Woodstock till 21 ,had to move after land lord sold double wide my girlfriend and i lived in but kicked her out before that,wound up here in New Paltz NY still near my Mom in Kingston she just turned 98..I only just found this site after being on others from Bklyn. Your the first i found that i know or remember.Got injured in 2009 killing my body working in bodyshops for 33 yrs, then had to work in a grocery store for 5 years before i couldnt even do that . This site is great especially if we can still say hi ,restoring all the memories of Bklyn that somehow seem so long ago but a bit closer at the same time..
i still have bruises on my knucles courtesy of the nuns and lay teachers of St. Marys.And i’m not quite as sensitive as i was back in the day ,more meloncholy i guess.

Annette October 3, 2017 - 6:57 pm

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.

Anonymous December 17, 2022 - 9:02 pm

Annette for the life of me I don’t remember you it’s embarrassing. Would think I would remember the capt of the cheerleaders
shopping in my dad’s store! What years was it? In any case I hope all is well with and your family.Thanks for remembering me. There was a Annette I had a big crush on Annette C.

Lou Benitto March 30, 2017 - 2:13 pm

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 July 1, 2017 - 11:58 am


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


Anonymous July 15, 2017 - 7:37 pm

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 July 15, 2017 - 7:42 pm

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 July 21, 2017 - 4:07 pm

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 August 3, 2017 - 4:36 pm

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 August 4, 2017 - 11:30 am

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 September 1, 2017 - 10:25 am

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

Sandra Reid October 21, 2021 - 11:48 pm

Wish we could go back.

Irv Kaplan April 8, 2017 - 7:57 pm

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)

Vito Murgolo August 12, 2018 - 9:46 pm

How about Mr. Bruscher, Miss Pekis, Mr. Corpreal.

Elliot Lauterstein February 28, 2019 - 10:10 pm

A few other teachers in the jhs side Mrs. Kalnitsky{ English} Mr. Litman and Lenny . Freeman (social Studies) Mr. Weiser (Science) and Mr. Morano and Mr. Sabin (Phys. ED)

Sandy Beitsch October 21, 2019 - 10:40 pm

Mr. Finerman (sp) I believe was a near-retirement age algebra teacher. One day as he was walking between the aisles of desks a student (I believe his name was Epstein, but not sure) threw a punch at him for no, to me, apparent reason. Finerman grabbed him by the neck and pulled him out of his chair and the student ran crying out of the class. Today, that teacher would have been fired, but society was smarter in those earlier times. Sandy Beitsch sbeitsch@yahoo.com

DJ June 14, 2017 - 1:00 am

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!!!

Sylvesteter Matera August 10, 2017 - 9:52 pm

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 September 22, 2017 - 10:32 pm

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 ☺

Joy August 23, 2017 - 6:02 am

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!!!

Lou Benitto September 1, 2017 - 10:32 am

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

Adelaide Rubino Fenton September 3, 2017 - 2:27 pm

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

LorettaD September 22, 2017 - 11:00 am

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

Steve October 28, 2017 - 8:16 am

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 “

Steve m October 28, 2017 - 4:35 pm

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

Kelly December 20, 2017 - 5:16 am

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!

Sandy Beitsch August 10, 2018 - 11:57 pm

Around 1950-1960 or so my doctor was a Dr. Halpern. He was a pediatrician whose office was on Bay Parkway close to where it joins Kings Highway. I did a google search, entering the terms “Dr. Halpern” and “Brooklyn” and “Bay Parkway” and several Dr. Halpern’s came up. All of course are too young to be the Dr. Halpern of my youth but you might try contacting them concerning your search. Doctors and medical people often beget doctors and I’d bet that one of them is genealogically related to Sam. Hope this helps, and happy sleuthing!
PS If your search is successful let me know.
Sandy Beitsch

Sandy Beitsch January 6, 2019 - 10:26 pm

A correction to my comment: My doctor’s name was Hauptman, not Halpern. Hope I didn’t send you on a wild goose chase.

Linda Perillo February 6, 2019 - 11:52 pm

Can this be it? It looks like it was only two blocks away from the home address you posted and stood from at least the 40’s to the 80’s, the dates when the tax photos were taken.


Mikey March 20, 2018 - 5:13 pm

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

Sandy Beitsch May 13, 2019 - 11:30 pm

Nope, it was the Williamsburg bank.

Sandy Beitsch

Jen April 19, 2018 - 6:35 pm

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.


Sandy Beitsch June 6, 2018 - 2:14 pm

Can anyone give me any news, present or past, about the following individuals, all of whom lived at 69 Bay 29: Eli Finkelstein who played a really wicked set of drums, especially if he ever did anything with that incredible talent as an adult, Paul Kerlanchik, and the Frasina boys (Nicky, Pat, and Joe who I heard has died) who also lived there. Also David Sellinger, Alfred DePrado (crippled, used crutches), and Pepito (whose house was next to a barber shop) all of whom lived on Bay 29 between 86 and Benson, as well as Martin Spodek and Nathan Dinitz both of whom lived on Bay 29 between Benson and Bath. They would be, or would have been, about my age, 71, today?

Sandy Beitsch

owen June 29, 2018 - 8:12 am

eli and tillie lived next door to me in 1B my name is owen and I lived in 1A. eli had 2 sons gary and I
cant remember his brothers name. I am now 75 and lived their till I was 13. I remember the frasina boys, the father was
nick and was the super at 69 bay 29th

owen July 3, 2018 - 8:05 am

garys brothers name was leslie

Kenny B. January 6, 2019 - 7:44 pm

Hi Owen, I remember you well along with the other kids of that generation who lived at “Bensonia Arms”.
I lived across the street at 54 Bay 29th St. I moved there from Bay 34th St. back in 1952 when I was seven years old. My aunt and uncle, Mac & Adele Fishgold and their daughters Judy and Carolyn lived on the 6th floor. I was there all the time playing with Leslie and Patty and Alan and Sandy. You, being a year or two older than me, “hung out” with Joe and Gary. This site has now put me in touch with Sandy and possibly maybe even Donny, Alan’s younger brother. Just amazing!

Melvga August 8, 2018 - 11:41 am

I truly enjoyed reading this article and viewing the terrific photos. Best of all were those great comments and questions which brought back so many fond memories. I grew up on Benson Avenue and Bay 19 Street from the 50s to the late 80s, then returned in the mid 90s. I attended P.S. 200, JHS 128, JHS 281 (later Cavallero JHS) and Lafayette HS, graduating in 1970. I am sure that I must know several of those who made comments, and shared their memories. Keep those comments coming!

Vito Murgolo August 12, 2018 - 10:17 pm

I lived on Bay 29 St between Bath & Benson in the 50s. Went to PS 200, PS128 & Lafayette HS. Paul Sorvino friend and classmate. Was a delivery boy for italian Deli on 86th st near Schlom & Deutsch bakery. I used to pick up italian bread at Reliable Bakery, 100 loaves at a time. 3 terrific brothers owned it at the time. While waiting for the bread in the back with them they would say watch us and maybe you can work as a baker for us when you get a little older, meanwhile pizza was at my disposal while waiting. Their sicilian pie was terrific on par with Spumoni Garden Pie. I also lived on Bay 25 st near 86 st much later. walking distance to Lenny;s pizza and Hy Tulip, what could be better.

Alan Sciandra November 6, 2018 - 4:54 pm

was Hy Tulip formally Hebrew National??

Gil December 19, 2018 - 11:17 am

I believe that’s true. Bologna and egg on club was my lunch of choice at Hy Tulip on Saturdays.

Jack S October 25, 2018 - 11:33 am

Cropsey Park and Shorhaven Apartments were a neighborhood unto their own. Respect to those who made it out.

Margaret Macchirella December 2, 2018 - 12:59 pm

Hello all it was so nice reading all your letters, I’m Margaret Macchirella Moscato.we lived on 23ave and 86st.
8652 was the address. I went to layafette high school graduated in 71, myfirst love was Anthony ruggerio he lived two doors down. I married Charlie I met him at the corner where he had his barber shop Mr. Charles. I’m now his caregiver. I miss those days before him. We could hear Christmas music playing from the corner where they sold Christmas trees.we now live in Wayne nj wish I could go back to a better time, the Ruggerio family were wonderful people. margdj52@gmail.com

Martin Solomon December 16, 2018 - 12:04 pm

I was the State Senator from 1978-1995, and a few comments. The Democratic political club was located on Bay 25 street where it still stands dating back to the early 1900’s. We had it renovated in the mid 1980′ s and found dinner journals from the 1920-1950’s. The ethnicity of the neighborhood was originally predominately Irish in the late 1920’s, changed to Jewish and Italians. In fact the majority of voters in the late 1960’s were Jewish with a substantial Italian American presence. there was a kosher bakery on 86th street and of course Hy-Tulip. There was a great appetizer store on Avenue P. The interesting fact is that many of the Italian and Jewish lawyers that lived in the neighborhood and were involved in politics. I interviewed Frank Pino, many years ago and several others. Apparently the discrimination against many of the Italian and Jewish lawyer led them to go into Personal Injury work, and politics. If interested there ar many photograph books that have pictures of 86th street and the area.One is by Brian Merlis. In addition there is an intersting picture in Lennys Pizza the only relic left on 86 street that depicts many of the places mentioned in this blog. In addition there was the Bensonhurst National Bank on Bay Parkway and about 84 street, owned by the Press family,eventually became chemical and and I think it them became part of Citibank.

Gil December 19, 2018 - 11:30 am

If you were born Jewish in Bensonhurst, you were born a Democrat. Saying something bad about Democrats was like slapping your mother in the face. My father taught me that Republicans were bad for business and Eisenhower was a do-nothing President. My mother voted a straight Democratic ticket without fail. I voted for Hubert Humphrey when first old enough to vote. On election eve of the Nixon/Humphrey election in 1968, they were each on competing networks in the evening. I forget which was which. But what I do remember is that Humphrey took calls live while Nixon calls were screened for him. I remember thinking all Republicans were evil until I heard Tip O’Neill lie about what some Republican said about social security. While my taste for Democratic Party politics has done a 180 since those early days in Bensonhurst, to this day, it feels like I am going against my family whenever I pull that GOP lever.

Margaret December 19, 2018 - 11:32 am

My mom had a relative last name Pino but I don’t remember the first names, also do you remember Jahans ice cream parlor they had the desserts.

Andrea Bass December 27, 2018 - 1:22 am

My grandparents owned Frey’s Bakery which was on Bay Parkway. Closed in early 1960s.

Linda Perillo February 7, 2019 - 12:19 am

Here is a website you may find interesting. It is the NYC Municipal Archives website and has all the tax photos from 1940s. There is one photo per property. I found my father’s childhood home on 19th Ave. very quickly. You can search through the information or you can enter any information you have available in the search field to narrow it down (enter using this format: Address = ‘8721’ or Block = ‘6400’). Click on Advanced Search and make sure the 40’s Tax Photos is checked off. All the photos with the address or block # you specified will be shown.


Vincenta Tortomasi Wolfe May 9, 2019 - 5:15 pm

Hi I was born and raised in Bensonhurst! Lived on Bay 41st Street between Benson and Bath and worked for Angelos Bakery on 25th Ave and Carols cleaners! My girlfriend and I are trying to recall a 2 story clothing store not far from Ebingers! Anyone remember! I love this site. Great going down memory lane!

Beefer May 28, 2019 - 5:10 pm

sold hot dogs at bay 16th and shore parkway for years also on bath ave and 18th ave remember Korvetts used to have a soda cart sold soda and water to the fisherman Son of Sam ,the blackout .good old days

harvey July 2, 2019 - 7:45 pm

graduated lafayette in 1960,lived on west ninth st.you guys and girls have brought back a lot of good memories

Tommy DeMartino August 17, 2019 - 3:30 pm

Lived on Bay 14th and 86th and graduated Lafayette H.S. in 72′. Live in Fort Lauderdale now but my heart will always be in Bensonhurst! Any of my ole’ buddies still out there?

Tommy DeMartino August 17, 2019 - 3:34 pm

Almost forgot…my e-mail address…DamienOmenll@aol.com Give me a shout if you know me!
Tommy DeMartino

Tom De Luca September 5, 2019 - 2:44 am

Does anyone have photos of the Famous Cafeteria?

dina rizzo September 10, 2019 - 3:15 pm

anybody remember Fisherman’s Corner in Bay Ridge?? that was my Dad’s place…Joe Rizzo.

Joseph Russo October 17, 2019 - 5:19 pm

I think I may remember the Fisherman’s Corner.. Can you give more info or do you have a picture?

Margaret L Roccanova April 23, 2020 - 3:04 am

I grew up in Brooklyn, Bensonhurst to be exact. My father owned a candy store on 81st & 15th ave, right across the street from PS 204 and we lived above the candy store! I remember he taught me how to make the BEST egg creams. He said the trick was to get a thick head of foam on top of the egg cream.And the trick was to use frozen milk! So you start with the chocolate syrup, then add the frozen milk, and then the seltzer from the fountain. My father kept the milk in a GLASS milk bottle in the freezer so that WHEN he needed it, he took an Ice Cream “Sunday” spoon, turned it upside down, and put the long spoon handle into the neck of the frozen milk bottle & stirred it around to loosen up the frozen milk! So you start by adding about 1 inch of chocolate syrup to the glass, then you add another inch (or more, depending on the size of the glass) of the frozen milk on top of the syrup, and last of all comes the seltzer from the fountain. As you begin to stir, the head forms as the seltzer meets the frozen milk and chocolate syrup .Once the seltzer enters the glass and bounces off the base of your spoon onto the side of the glass, the “head” begins to form as you stir. And that is what my father taught me. I remember it like it was yesterday! What precious memories.. I also remember.my mother & father would take me down 86th street to Famous Cafeteria, Hy Tulip’s, The Loew’s Oriental,even the Oriental Manor! My bridal shower was at the Oriental Manor, 1969! All of those wonderful places are gone but never forgotten. Thank you for bringing them all back to me. I live in Staten Island now but still go back to Brooklyn, still love shopping there and still drive thru my old neighborhood. It’s all different now but in my heart..it’s still the same….

Joanne Vitale Hughes December 14, 2020 - 1:31 pm

I remember that candy store….I lived on 14th Avenue between 80th and 81st Streets from 1950 – 1972. Egg creams were great – eight cents and twelve cents. I used to get Mellorolls(?) for my grandmother…the oblong cone with the ice cream that fit just that cone.

Robert Levinson February 4, 2023 - 8:14 pm

I love reading these stories, it’s my life retold, but since I grew up on E 10th Street (closer to Midwood & Madison) I don’t know any of the folks leaving notes. Love you all-Lafayette, the JCH, was a classmate of Gary Goldberg, would not change a moment of my youth.

Jay July 7, 2020 - 2:39 pm

Anybody know the former name of the pharmacy on the corner of 86th Street and Bay 35th Street in the 1960’s?

Maurice Margulies July 31, 2020 - 3:36 pm

Although the Reliable Bakery seems to be very well known for its square pizza(delicious) the best about the bakery was its breads of various shapes and sizes. They made some of their breads with semolina fllour. I live in suburban Washington DC(Montgomery County) and have not been able to find breads made with semolina flour. When I was a kid (born 1931) the baguette type Italian loaves were 2 cents, 3 cents, fives cents. I went to PS101, JHS PS 128 and Lafayette HS. Graduated 1948. Went to Brooklyn College graduating 1952. I lived most of the years on Bay 31st Between Benson and Bath Avenues. Probably last time I was back in the neighborhood was twenty years ago. When I lived there it seemed like it was a 50/50 Jewish southern Italian neighborhood.

charlie c, August 1, 2020 - 8:27 pm

85st bet bayparkway ans 21st ave, bensonhurst, just wondering if this site is still active, if so let me know, fla50fl@aol.com

Susan Berman August 12, 2020 - 11:42 am

My parents, Holocaust survivors and immigrants from Czechoslovakia, owned Ally’s Egg Store from about 1954 to 1960 at 2221 86th Street. Leo’s Toys and Novelties was on one side of my parent’s store and
between us was a door to a huge hidden area where bread was made for Schlom and Deutch Bakery which was on the same street further down. They had the best cakes in the world. People stood on
line for them. Toby Lee’s clothing store was on the other side of my parent’s store. We lived at 8655 then 8665 Bay Parkway and I went to PS101 from third to sixth grade, then to Bensonhurst Junior High School 128 for most of seventh grade until we moved, and where my father could get back into the business he had before the War, which was textiles. During our time in Brooklyn my father was able to open a couple of dairy
stores establishing a small chain. I only remember that one was on King’s Highway. And by the weirdest of coincidences, my next door neighbor and I realized that she was the daughter of someone who worked at Toby Lee’s back in the 1950’s. which was, as I said, directly next door to my parent’s Ally’s Egg Store. She and I remain very good friends. Actually we just reminisced about our time in Bensonhurst.

Josephine (Josie) Rosenblatt August 13, 2020 - 12:52 pm

Reading most of the above comments shook loose many lost memories. Especially the egg creams which are unheard of here. Here being Montgomery County just outside DC, as Maruice M. mentioned above. I grew up in Bensonhurst,having moved there in about 1943 when I began 2nd grade at ps101, then on to 128, and Lafayette HS: I attended Brooklyn College and graduated from CCNY. And yes, I remember Miss, not Mrs, Messmer as well. Was friends with Maxine Richland whose father owned a men’s clothing store at the corner of Bay Parkway and 86th St. Also a friend of Judy Lasky. Both lived on Bay 32nd. We lived on Bay 31st between Bath and Cropsey. The pharmacy on the corner of Bath and Bay Parkway still has “Kay’s” on their awning in a picture I recently saw, just as it did when I was growing up.Can’t figure out why it hasn’t disintegrated. And those square, thick pizza pieces for 10 cents at the bakery on 86th street still can’t be matched. I remember two friends from across the street as well: Marie Gullo and Loretta Bergman, our neighbors Alice Cook, and Melvin Ventigmilia (sp?). My father worked at the Brooklyn Museum where he spent at least 35 years. My brother, Barry, also an artist, went to Lincoln HS but remained friends with the neighborhood ‘guys’. And who could forget stopping for a late-night hot dog at Nathan’s at the end of a date. Even after living in the DC area since 1961, Bensonhurst still has a special place in my heart.

Maurice Margulies December 23, 2020 - 3:10 pm

Josie. Maurice Margulies here. My e-mail is mmmargul2@comcast.net. I live near 270 and M Montrose. Too bad most of the friends I grew up with are no longer alive. I ended up research biochemist. After retirement went back t art. You can find me on Web as “maurice margulies” and Maurice M Margulies”

Norm Cherkis April 18, 2022 - 8:58 pm

I know your pain, Josie. I got to the DC area (Suitland) in 1963 and gradually moved west (now outside Manassas). I asked for an egg cream and the question was, “Is that made with an aig?” So I showed her how to do it–in a Peoples Drug Store at their lunch counter. I was just a damnYankee way down i the south. My father worked at Medine’s Clothing Store, on 86th St, near 20th Ave. The Florence Sweet Shoppe was nearby as was a lingerie shop. I worked in the Markell Brothers Jewelry store doing stock, mailings, polishing silver, etc. I always wanted money and this was a way to have some. I left the ‘hood’ in August 1957, and finished high school in Queens Village, where my father had found a better job and a bigger apartment. I finished HS, college and departed for Suitland and a real job in 1963, married my [still] best friend from Roslyn before we blew town. We’ve been here for over 58 years–and counting. Was Judy Lasky related to Linda Lasky (class of ’55 BJHS, ’58 Lafayette)?

Jimmy Rosen August 28, 2020 - 7:49 am

I lived in Harway Terrace when it first opened in 1963. I went to PS 212, then Mark Twain, then Lafayette and graduated in 1969. Jeffrey Epstein was in that class.My friend Alan Feinberg was a fireman and died on 9/11. I worked at the 46th Street Theater as an usher with my friends. I remember Rex and Reliable bakeries and remember the pizza war where I got 2 slices of Sicilian pizza and a drink for a quarter. I played little league ball at the field next to the train tracks for the Williamsburg Savings Bank. .

Phil October 13, 2020 - 3:12 pm

The Sweet Life card and gift store was my first business. It was great. Corner of 25th and 86th.

Susan November 6, 2021 - 2:33 pm

Does anyone remember summer of 1962 hanging out in front of P.S. 128, sitting on the mailbox and the Parcel Post box next to it? There were so many kids sitting on
them. That was a great summer memory.

Georgie January 14, 2021 - 5:38 pm

Does anyone have any information or stories about George Richland?

Larry S February 5, 2021 - 3:11 pm

I lived on Bay 34th Street between 86St and Benson Avenue. I believe Spinners was located on 86St and Bay 34St. Reliable was on same side of street a little ways down. I also attended Ps 101; ps
128 and Lafayette HS. I remember all teachers mentioned here plus Mr Lee! I can’t thank you all for bringing me back to Bensonhurst circa 50’s, 60’s as they were the best years to grow up in Brooklyn.

Martin solomon February 21, 2021 - 12:12 pm

Funny you left out fact tha there was a large Jewish population, in the area, on 86 street alone ther were two kosher relies, empress and Hy Tulip, and a kosher bakery back in 1976,

Alan March 12, 2021 - 3:29 pm

Just some how came into this page…wow… I grew op in Bensonhurst, 21 ave between 61 st on 60 th Street. Went to Lafayette HS graduated in
1964… fond memories of 86 th Street , where we hung out. Had a 1963 Pontiac catalina and later an 1966 Pontiac lemans.. I Remember Sal
the cop who was at Lafayette, and an Italian teacher Mr. Anunciata. They were great times which I Will never forget..my nickname was Mousie.
Drafted in 1967 served my 2 years. have been living in Denmark for the past 47 years, get back to BKLYN . Once and every so often.
The neighborhood has certainly changed, but memories of the old times can’t …. stick ball, stoope ball, crusing Down 86 th Street ,
Marlboro movie theater, Manhattan Beach ……they all live on…..

Norm Cherkis April 18, 2022 - 8:37 pm

Alan: I used to visit Kobenhavn often when I was working for the Navy. The Farvandsvaesenet was at Ovengaden oven Vandet and I worked with them to do seafloor mapping off the east coast of Gronland. I also worked with the Gronlands Geologisk group. I was at Bakken for their 400th year celebration, took in private trips to Aarhaus, Helsingor, Roskilde, etc. I also took the ferry to Malmo and in a much later time, the bridge/tunnel to Sverige. Too bad I didn’t now you were there. We could have met somewhere, maybe even Tivoli or at the Carlberg plant. Norm Cherkis (nzcherkis@yahoo.com

ARNOLD March 17, 2021 - 8:12 pm

I am from England……..I first came to Brooklyn in April 1975 I came to Bay 22cnd st to stay with relatives who lived there and were so kind to me.
Both of these relatives worked during the day so I had to walk around and peruse the area, on my own until they returned back in the evening time.
I mostly walked along 86th st and loved every moment. I also remember walking from bay 22cnd st to the Verezano narrows bridge and could not beleive the non stop traffic that never ended, Day and Night.
Oh how I enjoyed my stay in Brooklyn and it started me off becoming addicted to the USA.
Over the past years I have travelled through 32 States and I wish I could start over and do it all again.
Well done USA and thank you.

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 6:32 am

John Iuzzini here, I lived at 2019 (?) 21St Ave Between 61st and 62nd St. 1960 to 1963 when I got married in 1960, it was my first apartment, ground floor 1 bedroom. I later moved to 74th St between BP and 21St Ave, 2 bedroom with a baby girl Laurie.

Joyce Smith April 7, 2021 - 1:00 pm

Fantastic scholarship!
Awesome attention to detail.
Thank you.

Sebastian Caci May 7, 2021 - 1:35 pm

Does anyone remember Say Hi Lounge on Bath Avenue?

VITO CAPUTI December 20, 2021 - 11:51 am


Thomas Bergman February 5, 2022 - 2:59 pm

Vito are you still here.My first hair cuts in the 50s and early 60s were from Bernie.I believe he charged 85 cents and mom gave me a dollar to give him to inc. 15 cent tip.If i went after or during his lunch he ate a salami sandwich everyday and when he blew the hair off the back of my neck ,well lets just say i can still smell it today at 73 yrs.old.I lived at 8810-24th ave. bet.bath and cropsey ,the only st. in the neighborhood still unpaved and full of potholes.and across the st. were to vacant lots up to the bus terminal.We played punch ball ,stickball on that st. Bay 38th st.We used to sneak in the front door in summer and close the huge overhead door and run.And in winter we snowballed the busses windows as thet drove by on Cropsey.There was a bowling ally on Harway at Bay 37th st. and the ownet wouldnt let us bowl without an adult even though we had money and would have been behaved .after he literaiiy pushed us out we happened across his sporty car alwys parked on corner and it was unlocked ! What luck ! so i figured rhere were lot of grass hoppers and spiders etc. so we found bottles in the vacant lots and gathered probably 100s of bugs and introduced them to the sporty convertible (cant remember the make).we also locked it behind us hoping he wasnt carry the key but couldnt hang around all day to observe the festivitees ,imagine all that poop. the vacant lot on 24th was paved as it became a middle school ,dont remember what happened to the lot on Bay 37th and the butcher that we bought our chicken at and watched be slaughtered .We were quite upset cause we didnt equate chicken with being a living being till then ,and also that people ate doves ,pidgeons and rabbitts ,which also disturbed us ..Those 2 lot s were full of stuff ro play with ,garbaged and stuff that didnt fit in a garbage pail was also dummped,inc parts for our bikes ,wood for a club house in a wooded area,and the cobble stones the city removed from st. as they were paved. Those stones became known to be worth a lot of money . After Christmas we gathered up huge piles of dumped Christmas trees and made some of the biggest fires you can imagine.I barely gtaduated Lafayette in 66 and St.Marys in 62,kindergarden at ps101.,Evert Tues. in summer we gathered on my porch for a great view of amazing fire works shot from barges in Coney Island.Thats a whole nother story.Penny profit next to Bernies,Betty and Joes candy store where we brought all the deposit bottles we found in the lots and spent that money there on penny candies soda fountain drinks and baseball card packs ,wish i still had them toaday i’d be rich >

Jess S June 3, 2021 - 11:45 am

I love that these comments are still going on 2021. Does anyone remember the name of the diner on New Utrecht and 18th? we lived across the street from it and it is a CVS now. searched hoping for photos.

Norm Cherkis April 18, 2022 - 8:46 pm

Wasn’t on the same block as the Brooklyn Public Library-New Utrecht Branch?”

sandra christine reid August 15, 2021 - 8:33 pm

I didn’t grow up there. I moved there in 1967. I lived on 85th St. between Bay Parkway and 23rd Ave. I loved everything about Bensonhurst. It was a short trip to Coney Island. An easy walk to Shore Front Parkway and not far from Sheepshead Bay, where I loved to go fishing. I thought it had everything from great food, fun pool halls, movies and it was accessible to Manhattan for work. I experienced my best memories there. Wish I could go back.

Madge Meaner August 17, 2021 - 9:09 am

Wow ! The Smolinsky’s Deli on 65th Street and Bay Parkway in Brooklyn really brought back a flood of childhood memories ! As a child,we lived on 60th Street and 20th Avenue in the 1960’s and went there often on Saturday afternoons after shopping. What I recall most vividly were the dill pickles and green brined tomatoes in jars on every table.I usually would order a kosher beef hot dog and knish and my mom would get matzoh-ball soup with noodles,corned beef on rye with potato salad and cole-slaw and dad the pastrami and fries.The food was great and authentic New York Jew deli ! Sadly,most of these kosher Jewish kosher delis have disappeared as people eat much differently today and the Jewish population in the city has dropped drastically,too.

sandra+christine+reid November 14, 2021 - 11:14 am

I lived 85th St. off of Bay Parkway. I so loved the neighborhood and the people who lived there. The love of my life lived there as well so that added to the love of that neighborhood.

Sandra May 18, 2022 - 2:55 pm

I haven’t been back to the neighborhood in years. I came back to the neighborhood about a month ago to see my old apartment and the area and it has changed so much. The only thing that hadn’t changed was my apartment and the building. Stores were totally different And the area had a totally different field to it.
I had wonderful feelings though and great memories to think about. I loved living there.


Lou Benitto March 9, 2022 - 2:20 pm

In these troubling times, reading about Bensonhurst 1960’s brings back happy memories! PS128 , Lafayette HS , and all the wonderful friends , who could forget the Friday and Saturday nights on Bay Parkway and 86 street ! Wish I could go back !!

Sandy May 14, 2022 - 11:36 pm

I wish we could go back❤️

Sandra May 16, 2022 - 12:02 pm

I know you’re happily married for years and I’m very happy for you and your children and your family and your life. I just wanted you to know that throughout my life I always wished I could go back and change things And I wish you knew the real reason why. Many blessings to you and yours.❤️

John J Iuzzini April 18, 2022 - 6:27 am

Johnny Iuzzini again Bensonhurst, 1940s to 1960, I am Joseph Succos Uncle, I lived at 2111 Cropsey Ave not 211, our main gathering place
was Bensonhurst Park with Willie Green, Park Attendant and friend to all the kids in Bensonhurst Park, he gave us
Marble Championship Medals when our team The BlackJacks won the Championship in the Park,many times in the park,they didn’t have BB medals. Stickball and street games at night with Mike Tannen, Maxie Mastellone, Rudy Carbone Louie Garafolo, Mike Bazzerman (my baseball buddy) Bobby Lomonaco, Aaron Schneider and Others to many to mention. I went to Lafayette and graduated in “57 and joined the Navy in my Sr year at Lafayette under Chief Bloom in gym class, 12 of us joined up and I think maybe only 2 of us served. Tommy Roma got a hardship
discharge when his Dad died at a young age.They lived in on Bay 8th St.
Jahns, Famous Cafeteria (with punch tickets), Richland Clothes, Ames Billiards, Reliable, Rex, Benson Theater, Feldman’s Toy Store where I
worked after school, I was on the Lafayette baseball field with Sandy Koufax, Bobby Mazzarella, and KiKI Ferra all went to the Big Show.
The JCH with Coach Rosenbloom who also coached Basketball at Lafayette, my younger Brother Anthony was a Star player for the J House
team but could not go to Israel because he was Italian. Coach Rosenbloom was pissed. The Dime Savings Bank, 21st and 86th where my mom hoardered her moolah, my Old Man stuffed the mattress, he was a Plumber too. I could go on and on, so many great memories of friends,
Churches, St Finbar, St. Mary (the old one is where I got married to a New Utrecht girl Lucille Sacca), businesses and cops Sgt.Brown ran the PAL at the 62nd Pct where I played BB for them. I also played BB at the Dyker Park fields under the Rams, another championship team.
Such great memories were brought out with this email, Thanks Bobby LoMo, Love ya.

Norm Cherkis April 18, 2022 - 8:44 pm

The Dime was at the corner of 86th and 20th Aves, not 21st. I stashed all the money made in tips working at Green Orchard greengrocer on 20th Ave between 85th and 86th. I drove their delivery bike and also picket up extra dimes from Mr. Heller, the druggist at the corner of 84th and 20th. If I was going in the same direction, it was an extra dime in the days that my father made $42 a week and minimum wage was 40 cents an hour.

Norm Cherkis April 20, 2022 - 8:21 pm

I bought a Red Ryder bb gun in 1956 at Feldman’s. I still have it and it still works. I used to use it to chase the grackles and fish crows away when they would harass my cat, who was well fed, never bothered them and just wanted to chill and nap on top of the outside barbecue. I never shot one down, but would occasionally knock off some feathers. Did Mike Tannen marry Paula Weisberg? I knew her and her brother Stewie. Stewie played GOOD baskeball at the J. Aaron Schneider had a group that used to meet at some restaurant in the Viillage periodically. i was in town (I live near DC since 1963) and Bernie Block invited me to come along. Among the attendees was Brian Goldstein (20th Ave and Benson on the corner), Rick Ober, Paul Sorvino, Burt Strom and some others. Burt died last year. Anyway…………….!

Norm Cherkis April 20, 2022 - 8:09 pm

I kind of remember that there was an old Dutch Reformed Church on 18th Avenue near 83rd St, also near New Utrecht Avenue. Their cemetery had a bunch of old tombstones made of, I think, red sandstone, and you could barely read the inscriptions on most. since they were from the 1600s and 1700s. I wonder if it is still there and if it is still a church. We used to do “rubbings” on butcher paper that we got from a local meat market, We could split a pencil the long way, and the graphite would be a long strip that one could use to get the inscription on paper. Last time I saw it was in the 1950s.

Norm Cherkis April 20, 2022 - 9:01 pm

Anybody wanting to see the Famous, go to:

They have a black and white photo of the front. Also anybody remember VIMs radio shop, Rainbow Shops (my mother used to shop there), there was a luggage store where she worked for a while in the 1940s.

Tina Marie August 18, 2022 - 12:23 pm

Hi Ellie.
You said 80-90s
Do you remember a billards place “NAME” that was
located off of 86th & Utrect?? By “Miraglia Funeral home”.
If you know, please respond to me

Sandy Beitsch December 3, 2022 - 11:34 pm

A couple of questions: In JHS 128 there were various clubs and organizations one could serve on or belong to. One was called the GO. It is mentioned many times in my ’60 & ’61 yearbooks but nowhere is it stated what it is. Does anyone know what it was? Second question: I had a crush on a girl Michelle Rhindone. She would be about 76 today. Anyone know if she is still alive and anything about her since junior high? If you have any information on either of these please email me at sbeitsch@yahoo.com. Thanks. Sandy Beitsch

Anonymous December 8, 2022 - 3:38 pm

Holly Crap Tommy! Just was cleaning out my bookmarks on my pc and came across your post.So good to hear from a old from a old friend. Well like you lots of things happened between St Marys and now. Left St. Mary’s in the 5th grade then 101
128 then Lafayette. Drafted in 68 went to Never Never Land 1st Inf Div. 1/16 Iron Rangers. Please send my best to
your mom I remember her well.Tommy I don’t want to put my life whole life online. Any way you can send me your
email or a private massage. We have a lot in common I owned a restoration shop specialized in early model Vette’s.

MARTIN J FELDMAN March 7, 2023 - 10:54 am

Does anyone remember Feldman’s Toy Store on 86th Street, below the EL? Decades there supporting 3 families and my grandparents. Grew up working there on Sturdays and vacations, along with my cousins. And made night deposits at that Dime Savings Bank every Saturday!


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