The only community college in Brooklyn, Kingsborough, occupies the east end of the short peninsula south of Sheepshead Bay, at the east end of the Manhattan Beach community. The College was formed in 1963 and its campus was relocated here in 1966.
Previously, the east end of Manhattan Beach had been occupied by the US Coast Guard and US Merchant Marine.
This 1924 aerial view shows the peninsula partly developed. The Manhattan Beach street grid had been developed for about 20 years by that time.
By 1951 the Coast Guard was in control of the east end of the peninsula.
1949 Hagstrom map showing the Manhattan Beach peninsula. Today, the street grid runs as far east as Pembroke, with Quentin on the KCC campus. I am unsure if Ripley, Somerset, Udall and Channel Drive ever existed past the planning boards.
FNY contributor Sergey Kadinsky visited the KCC Campus recently and now shares some information:
The little-known beach on campus makes Kingsborough the only college campus in the state of New York with its own beach. Students serve as lifeguards.
A panoramic shot of the beach. In the background is a senior home shoehorned between KCC and Manhattan Beach Park.
Most of the KCC shoreline is a concrete bulkhead with riprap to hold back the advancing sea. The southern shore of KCC appears on old maps as John Barry Boulevard, named after the Revolutionary War naval commander. The first American to attain the rank Commodore. The title was no longer assigned after 1947.
The MAC (Marine and Academic Center) completed in 1991 features the city’s newest lighthouse. It is located at the eastern tip of Coney Island. While its western tip in Sea Gate was historically called Norton’s Point, the eastern tip never had a formal name. Until the 1940s, this tip was a sand spit that extended further east into Rockaway Inlet. Currents from the east continue to move the barrier island and peninsulas of the south shore, as seen in the gradual westward drift of Breezy Point and Fire Island.
The Library building is the tallest structure on campus. 1970s modernism.
Leon Goldstein was the founder of KCC and strong voice for the expansion of CUNY.
Monument to the Merchant Marines, who occupied the campus before it was a college. Although Manhattan Beach never had a fort, many of New York’s points and capes had military bases to discourage the British from returning.
Public art inside the MAC by Bruno Lucchesi.
KCC is the only CUNY campus with its own public aquarium. Meet the harmless sand shark!
York College and LaGuardia Community College also have them: a hall of flags to celebrate a diverse student body. The KCC flags hang above the cafeteria. Among the flags are the UN (not a country), Kosovo (not fully recognized) and Palestine (subject of a longstanding dispute). Also, non-sovereign lands like Macau, Puerto Rico and The Sioux Nation.
KCC is the only CUNY campus with its own seaworthy vessel and on-campus marina, located on Sheepshead Bay.
Kingsborough Community College Way used to be Quentin Street, the last on Manhattan Beach’s alphabetic street sequence that begins with Amherst, Beaumont, Coleridge, Dover… Not to be confused with Quentin Road, the ‘Avenue Q” of Brooklyn. For the neighborhood’s planners, Q was not the end. A never-built Reynolds would have been the tip of the neighborhood. It was never built. Outside the campus, the last public street on the Manhattan Beach alphabet is Pembroke.
[Ripley shows up on maps, not Reynolds, but as I suspected those streets were not built. –ed.]
The dramatic entrance gate to KCC marks the eastern end of Oriental Boulevard, the main drag of Manhattan Beach. Once lined with resorts, it also leads to Manhattan Beach Park, one of the city’s smallest public beaches.
The nautical map has numerous shoals surrounding the tip of KCC, some are long-gone islands drowned by the currents. Perhaps soon, I’ll explore another overlooked tip of land in our city or college campus. Any you would recommend?
Sergey Kadinsky can be contacted via facebook or at firstname.lastname@example.org