New York Times Profile Of Bensonhurst Fair But Limited

Houses facing Seth Low Playground (source: Michael Kirby Smith via New York Times)

[UPDATED 5:08 p.m.] As Southern Brooklyn bloggers, it sometimes seems as if we’re expected to criticize any attempt by larger, non-hyperlocal publications to curate, define or otherwise classify our turf – especially in terms of Real Estate.

However, even a locally crafted curmudgeon such as myself has to admit that the most recent profile of Bensonhurst in the New York Times Real Estate section last Friday (What, we’re not good enough for Sunday!? grumble grumble…) seems, for the most part, pretty fair.

Reporter Jake Mooney was able to avoid the cliches and overstatements made by others with regards to Bensonhurst’s slowly fading rep as the Little Italy of Brooklyn, while still acknowledging the perseverance of a still-significantly large Italian-American minority.

The piece also refuses to frame the neighborhood’s new demographics merely in terms of older Italians versus newer Chinese families – avoiding another common mischaracterization. Whether in his own words or by quoting realtors and local officials, the author makes a point to detail the diverse influx of Russian, Orthodox Jewish, Polish, Latin American and Middle Eastern, as well as Chinese residents to a place described by John Intoci, associate broker at Fillmore Real Estate, as an increasingly cosmopolitan neighborhood.

Some of our greatest strengths – low crime, affordable living in a peaceful, relatively quiet corner of New York City with access to multiple Subway lines – are highlighted, while our past – both good and bad – is acknowledged but tempered by the obvious changes.

The few things about the article I was critical of were of minor importance. The main one being an unnecessarily confined demarcation of Bensonhurst’s borders.

My definition of Bensonhurst is a slightly more generous version of Community Board 11 – from Gravesend Bay in Bath Beach all the way up until about 59th Street and from 14th Avenue to either McDonald Avenue or 26th Avenue.

The Times chose a very strict definition – 86th Street to 65th Street, and from 14th Avenue to Bay Parkway.

What do you consider the borders of Bensonhurst to be? Do you count Bath Beach as part of Bensonhurst?

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