Gravesend is located in the southern part of Brooklyn, just north of Coney Island. The neighborhood’s name is pronounced as “Graves-end” (not “Grave-send”). One of the original Six Towns that made up the City of Brooklyn, Gravesend was the only English settlement among Dutch towns, and the first town in the New World founded by a female, Lady Deborah Moody. Gravesend borders Bensonhurst at West 3rd Street, Sheepshead Bay at Coney Island Avenue, Coney Island at Avenue Z, and Midwood at Avenue P.
Gravesend’s “prime district”, bordered by McDonald Avenue, Ocean Parkway, Kings Highway, and Avenue U, features imposing brick Spanish-style mansions and a private security force. The rest of the neighborhood offers a selection of semi- and fully-detached brick houses, located on generous lots. Neatly trimmed yards and well-kept iron fences guard the 2- and 3-story houses, evidence of Gravesend residents’ dedication to their community’s appearance.
The housing market in Gravesend has undergone a dramatic change in recent years. The neighborhood has attracted the attention of affluent New Yorkers, and now includes a sizeable percentage of upper-class professionals, with the resulting price increases. Gravesend houses sell for double, and in some cases more, the price of similar houses in nearby neighborhoods. Condo development has also skyrocketed along with housing prices.
Gravesend is intersected by several major avenues, with commercial districts located along each thoroughfare. Coney Island, Ocean, McDonald, and Stillwell Avenues all feature thriving shopping areas. More stores can be found along Kings Highway, the famous 86th Street, and Bay Parkway. This abundance of shopping is one of the perennial reasons for the district’s popularity.
The shopping districts also offer a selection of restaurants, diners, and cafes. One neighborhood favorite is L&B Pizza’s “Spumoni Gardens”, an excellent pizza shop with an outdoor seating area, which is very popular with Little League players after a tough game of baseball on the fields nearby.
Gravesend residents enjoy several parades and special events throughout the year. Next-door Bensonhurst features the annual feastin honor of St. Rosalia, one of the patron saints of Sicily, and the Feast of Padre Pio, another important Catholic figure. Nearby Bay Ridge features the annual “Ragamuffin Parade”, a unique freestyle event that showcases the talents of over 3,000 Brooklyn kids.
Gravesend’s parks include the Jim Franco Field, William Kelly Memorial Park, and Scarangella Park. Bensonhurst’s Seth Low Park and the 17.5-acre Bensonhurst Park (with sports equipment and a safety-enhanced playground) are located only a few minutes away.
Just south of Gravesend, the shorefront communities of Coney Island and Brighton Beach offer miles of sandy beaches, dozens of amusements, and a selection of multi-ethnic restaurants and shops. Coney Island’s Keyspan Park is home of the Brooklyn Cyclones, New York Mets’ minor-league team.
The school network in Gravesend consists of several public schools, two dozen or so yeshivas and Torah Academies, and a few Catholic schools. The main campus of Touro College is located in next-door Bensonhurst, and CUNY’s Kingsborough College in Manhattan Beach is minutes away.
Gravesend is well-situated in terms of transportation. Coney Island Avenue and Ocean Parkway provide a direct route to Downtown Brooklyn, while the Belt Parkway and east-west avenues put the shopping and nightlife of Bay Ridge, and the seaside promenades of Sheepshead Bay and Bergen Beach within easy reach. Public transportation is provided by the Q/B train (Sheepshead Bay side), the F train (Bensonhurst side), and the N line along West 8th Street. Bus routes include the express X29 to Manhattan and the local 1, 2, 3, 4, 31, 36, 49, 68, 82, and 100 buses.