Life in Bensonhurst, According To This 1969 Brochure, “Will Not Change Much In The Near Future”

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Photos by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

Photos by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

Take a trip down memory lane with this 1969 Brooklyn Community Planning District 11 brochure on what it was like to live in Bensonhurst at the end of the 1960s.

The pamphlet reads like a vacation brochure to southern Brooklyn, written by a city planner. “With no natural boundaries separating it from neighboring districts, this distrct blends almost indistinguishably into the solid residential landscape of Brooklyn,” it begins.

Photo

Photo by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

After providing a little history about Bensonhurst, it discusses population, stating:

“In 1970 it is estimated there will be about 120,000 people in the district, a slight decline from 1960. Shifts in population have been minimal, and the percentage of whites is estimated at 98 per cent. The largest groups are of Jewish and Italian descent.”

Photo by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

Photo by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

The packet goes on to predict “little future development” due to the area’s residential zoning. It mentions Korvettes department store and its “good parking”.

Under schooling, it is noted that “there were more than 3,600 unused school seats in the fall of 1967.”

Photo by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

Photo by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

As for recreation, “There are several large movie theatres, a roller rink, bowling alleys and, in the industrial area near the shore, a golf driving range, miniature golf course and kiddieland park.” Most likely, they were referring to Nellie Bly.

Almost 60 percent of the employed used rapid transit to get to work.

Photo by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

Photo by Charles Harbutt via NYPL

In conclusion:

“This stable residential district will not change much in the near future. Some improvements are needed: increased facilities; revitalization or reuse of decaying commercial areas; better parking facilities in commercial areas, and improved through roads. The sound and moderately priced housing, vigorous commercial activity and excellent recreation potential will keep this area in an appealing residential community.”

  • ROSALIE907

    These pictures and the memories of Bensonhurst and 1969 brought a tear to my eyes. Thanks for the memories.

  • Jon Antis

    “Little change”? Wonder what they said back then about Bay Ridge looking into the future?? Lol