What was here before?
This site and the surrounding neighborhood of Bensonhurst grew exponentially following the construction of steam railroads in the 1870s. This new technology led to the development of the agricultural town of New Utrecht, located in the southwestern region of what was the City of Brooklyn. In the late 1880s, developer James Lynch bought land from the prominent Benson family, planted five thousand shade trees, and built 1,000 villas. Lynch named his newly built community Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea after the Bensons, whose ancestry could be traced to the earliest Dutch settlers. Stretching from 20th to 23rd Avenues and from 78th Street to Gravesend Bay, the 350-acre town encompassed the present-day neighborhoods of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst.
The Real Estate Record lauded Bensonhurst-by-the-Sea as “the most perfectly developed suburb ever laid out around New York.” Lynch’s experiment catalyzed the residential development of New Utrecht, attracting working families seeking respite from the increasingly crowded streets of Manhattan.
How did this site become a park?
In 1891, the City of Brooklyn passed a local law calling for “the establishment and government of a public park in the town of New Utrecht, to be known as Bensonhurst Park.” In 1895, the city purchased roughly 16 acres of land from various members of the Benson and Lynch families. This original parcel of land constitutes the majority of the park’s present-day acreage. Two smaller parcels were acquired by condemnation in 1924 and 1944.
Bensonhurst Park is among the 26 parks crossed by the Belt Parkway, a roadway that also divides the park into two sections. A waterfront promenade runs from Bay Parkway under the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to Owl’s Head Park.
In 2021, the park was completely renovated with new multigenerational play areas, spray showers, large seating areas, game tables, and chairs overlooking the lower park and harbor with new welcoming entrances.
Who is this park named for?
This park is named for the surrounding neighborhood, which is named for the Benson family. Their ancestor, Dirck Bensing arrived in New Netherland from Holland in 1648.
Directions to Bensonhurst Park
- Bensonhurst Park