Bensonhurst derives its name from Egbert Benson (1789–1866), whose lands were sold by his children and grandchildren to James D. Lynch, a New York real estate developer. Lynch bought the old farmlands of the Benson family in the mid-1880s, and by 1888, began selling private lots in an area dubbed as Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea, now Bath Beach.
Many of Bensonhurst’s houses are attached or semidetached. These are mostly 20th-century houses made of brick, stucco, and stone, with aluminum siding facades. There are also a cluster of apartment buildings throughout the neighborhood. After rezoning in the 2000s, many houses dating back over 90 years are being torn down and replaced by three-story brick apartment buildings and multi-family condominiums.
As no official neighborhood designations are used in New York City, Bensonhurst does not have any official boundaries. Still, parts of Bath Beach, Mapleton, Dyker Heights, Gravesend, and Borough Park are sometimes considered parts of Bensonhurst. However, Bensonhurst-proper includes the area bounded by 86th Street, 14th Avenue, 60th Street, McDonald Avenue, Avenue P, Stillwell Ave. and Bay Parkway.
Milestone Park is a significant park in the Bensonhurst area. It contains a replica of the oldest sandstone mile marker in New York City (the original is housed at the Brooklyn Historical Society).
The neighborhood is well served by the New York City Subway. The D train, which runs on the BMT West End Line above 86th Street, provides a direct connection to Grand Street in Manhattan while the N and W trains, which run on the BMT Sea Beach Line near 63rd Street, provide a direct connection to Canal Street. This provides convenient commutes into Manhattan’s Chinatown for the growing Bensonhurst Chinese population. The Sea Beach Line has a station at Eighth Avenue in Brooklyn’s Sunset Park Chinatown and a transfer to the West End Line is available at New Utrecht Avenue / 62nd Street. The IND Culver Line along McDonald Avenue, carrying the F and <F> trains, also runs through the most northeastern end of Bensonhurst between the Bay Parkway and Kings Highway stations.The B1, B3, B4, B6, B8, B9, B64, B82 and B82 Select Bus Service lines also operate through Bensonhurst.
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