One of Brooklyn’s oldest towns, Gravesend, lies in the Southern part of the borough with Coney Island Avenue to the east, Stillwell Avenue to the west, Kings Highway to the north, and Coney Island Creek and Shore Parkway to the south. This is a small neighborhood with lots of families and a cultural mix of Italian Americans, Russian, Chinese, and Mexican immigrants, and Sephardic Jews.
The story of how Gravesend got its name is very debatable. Some historians believe Gravesend was named after the waterfront U.K. town with the same name and others believe it was named after a Dutch settlement known as “'s-Gravesande,” which means “Count’s Beach.” Gravesend is notable for being founded by a woman, Lady Deborah Moody, who came to the area escaping religious persecution. The religious freedom of early Gravesend made it a desirable home for ostracized or controversial groups, who briefly made their home in the town.
The entertainment options in Gravesend are far and few in-between. One famous eatery in the area is L&B Spumoni Gardens, an Italian eatery known for its upside-down Sicilian square pizza. There are few places to go out there including the hookah bar La Boheme Lounge. The area is close to the beaches and amusements of Coney Island Brighton Beach and a few blocks into Sheepshead Bay, on Coney Island Avenue, is a strip of restaurants including offerings from Eastern Europe, Turkey, and Afghanistan. There are a few small playgrounds and parks, including McDonald Playground on McDonald Avenue, which has tennis courts and handball courts. There’s also Calvert Vaux Park in Bath Beach, where residents fly model planes and play baseball and basketball.
The housing market in Gravesend is a relatively affordable alternative to the more happening neighborhoods closer to Manhattan, and even to some of its southern Brooklyn peers. The architecture of Gravesend includes lots of attached and detached single- and multi-family houses. Houses in the Sephardic enclave—centered on Avenue T and Ocean Parkway—tend to be the largest and the most ostentatious in the neighborhood. There are also a good number of condos and co-ops and many pre- and postwar buildings. Until recently, there weren’t many new development projects in the neighborhood. Recent projects include a 24-story building with 170 apartments. The average sales price in the neighborhood currently is $792,935.
Gravesend is serviced by three subway lines: the D train, The F train at Kings Highway and the N and W trains on the BMT Sea Beach Line at Kings Highway. It takes about 45-minutes to get into Lower Manhattan.