Ethnic Brooklyn Part 2 and Coney Island

Brooklyn’s Flatbush, Gravesend, Brighton Beach and Coney Island; discover a thriving African-American community and historic buildings, another ‘Chinatown’ on Avenue U, and a center of Russian culture in ‘Little Odessa by the sea’.   End in world famous Coney Island ...



Prospect Lefferts Gardens, Flatbush and Ditmas Park

  • Carribean population, its historic houses and commercial activity on Flatbush Avenue
  • Tudor style Chester Court landmarked block - Prospect-Lefferts Gardens
  • Flatbush Reformed Church
  • Erasmus Hall High School
  • Loew’s Kings - one of the Loew’s ‘Wonder Theaters’ of the 1920s and now newly renovated
  • Flatbush Town Hall and the ‘town’ of Flatbush pre-unification (1898)
  • Victorian homes of Ditmas Park


Avenue U Chinatown


  • Mostly a secular Jewish and Italian community until 1990s, and surrounding areas today an interesting mix of Orthodox Judaism and Russian people
  • NY area contains the largest ethnic Chinese population outside of Asia
  • The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and its repeal in 1968
  • Expansion of Asian population from Manhattan and Sunset Parkinto other Brooklyn mini-Chinatowns in Bensonhurst and Gravesend areas
  • Mostly Cantonese


Brighton Beach


  • Its beginnings as a seaside resort next to Coney Island
  • Settlement by many Jewish groups, including Holocaust survivors
  • 1970s evolution into ‘Odessa by the Sea’ as Jewish migration of Soviet Union started


Coney Island (walk or bus from Brighton Beach)


  • Its beginnings as a seaside resort reachable by boat and later railroad for the immigrants from Manhattan
  • Originally a barrier island, now more of a double peninsula
  • Famous amusements of the past - Luna and Steeplechase Parks
  • Charles Feltmann and Nathan’s Hot Dogs
  • Decline and revitalization, and return of professional baseball to Brooklyn
  • The historic Cyclone, Wonder Wheel and B&B Carousell [sic]
  • What is the Parachute Jump all about?


NOTE: On this walk please bring a METROCARD, either an unlimited ride pass or with at least THREE FARES since we will be using the subway (B/Q) intermittently, and possibly one bus in Brighton Beach.    After the walk, enjoy on your own hot dogs at Nathan’s, an Italian meal at Gargiulio’s, Patsy’s Pizza in Coney Island, or backtrack to one of our earlier stops.










Google maps - approximate route (3 sections):








NYC Five Boro Tours





Willyumdelirious at English Wikipedia [CC BY-SA 3.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons