The Bay Parkway subway station in Bath Beach
|Etymology: The Bath spa in Bath, Somerset|
Location in New York City
|Community District||Brooklyn 11|
|Area code(s)||718, 347, 929, and 917|
Bath Beach is a neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York City, United States. It is located at the southwestern edge of the borough on Gravesend Bay. The neighborhood borders Bensonhurst and New Utrecht across 86th Street; Dyker Beach Park and Golf Course across 14th Avenue; and Gravesend across Stillwell Avenue.
Streets of the neighborhood have a unique nomenclature. Four two-way thoroughfares traverse the neighborhood, running southeast/northwest, parallel to Shore Parkway: these are Cropsey Avenue, Bath Avenue, Benson Avenue, and 86th Street. Another, Harway Avenue, runs from Stillwell only as far as Twenty-Fourth Avenue. The one-way northeast/southwest cross-streets are numbered, with the word "Bay" attached (to distinguish them, for postal reasons, from other numbering systems elsewhere in the borough), from Bay 7th Street in the northwest through Bay 50th Street in the southeast. Every third "Bay" numbered street is replaced with a two-way numbered avenue, from Fourteenth Avenue in the northwest to Twenty-Eighth Avenue in the southeast (except for what would be Twenty-Second Avenue, which is called Bay Parkway). These avenues (as well as 86th Street) are part of the larger grid of avenues and streets encompassing other neighborhoods to the north and west, in the former Towns of Gravesend, New Utrecht, and Brooklyn.
Parks in Bath Beach include Bath Playground, Dreier-Offerman Park, Calvert Vaux Park, Scarangella Playground, and Anthony Catanzaro Square.
Bath Beach is served by the service of the New York City Subway system, along the BMT West End Line. Stations along the line serving the community are 18th Avenue, 20th Avenue, Bay Parkway, 25th Avenue, and Bay 50th Street.
The Brooklyn Public Library's Ulmer Park branch is located at 2602 Bath Avenue near 26th Avenue. It was founded as a subdivision of another library in 1951 before becoming a full-fledged circulation branch in 1956. The current building was opened in 1963 and was renovated in 2016.
Primarily a working class community of semi-attached houses and small apartment houses, Bath Beach is becoming a mixed ethnic community as recent Chinese, Hispanic, Middle Eastern, Pakistani and former Soviet Union immigrants mix with the native-born Italian-Americans. The neighborhood contains a variety of small mom-and-pop businesses intermixed with chain stores, most of which are located at theCeasar's Bay Shopping Center at the terminus of Bay Parkway, as well as on 86th Street.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Bath Beach was 29,931, an increase of 1,359 (4.8%) from the 28,572 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 480.37 acres (194.40 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 62.3 inhabitants per acre (39,900/sq mi; 15,400/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 54.8% (16,389) White, 0.9% (273) African American, 0.1% (21) Native American, 29.9% (8,953) Asian, 0.0% (10) Pacific Islander, 0.2% (67) from other races, and 1.1% (324) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 13.0% (3,894) of the population.
Bath Beach held one of Brooklyn's earliest African-American settlements. Freed slaves were given a parcel of land to settle in the mid-nineteenth century. The church that was once located in the heart of that community, Mount Zion Baptist, has moved to Bedford-Stuyvesant.
The term "Bath Beach" once described the beach resort specifically as part of the community of Bath, New York. Bath and Bath Beach are now more or less synonymous. The population of Bath Beach received a boost at the end of 1863 when steam dummy railroad service connected the community to the City of Brooklyn horsecar system terminal at 25th Street and 5th Avenue in Sunset Park. Bath Beach, named for the English spa, Bath, Somerset, was developed as a recreational seaside retreat for affluent families. It was part of the original Brooklyn town of New Utrecht. Although Coney Island was nearby, Bath Beach had its own amusement park.
Despite its name, the neighborhood no longer has an actual beach. The beach was paved over during the mid-twentieth century to create the Shore Parkway. On the northwestern half, a promenade was constructed to allow residents access to a sea wall. The southwestern half, filled in with land excavated from the construction of the nearby Verrazano-Narrows Bridge during the 1960s, now houses Bensonhust Park, with ballfields and the Ceasar's Bay shopping center.
During the 1970s, Bath Beach's commercial strip along 86th Street was used for scenes in the 1971 feature film The French Connection, in the opening credits to the popular television series Welcome Back, Kotter, and most famously in the opening scene of the 1977 feature film Saturday Night Fever. Tony Manero, the lead character (played by John Travolta), walks along the sidewalk, admires shoes in a storefront window, buys two (stacked) slices of pizza through a pizzeria window-counter at Lenny's Pizza, and ends up at the hardware store where he works (based on a real hardware store on Fifth Avenue in nearby Bay Ridge). The strip was used again in 2016 for the filming of Red Hot Chili Peppers - Go Robot music video.