I took the D train to Bath Beach last Thursday. Because of maintenance, it ran along the N line to Coney Island, then back along its usual route. I got off at the Bay Parkway stop, the northeastern corner of Bath Beach. The station is elevated, so I got a good view of the Bay Parkway from above. Turns out the first glimpse I had was uncharacteristic of most of the neighborhood.
Bath Beach is surrounded by busy roads: 86th Street, Bay Parkway, Shore Parkway, and Bay 8th Street (the access-point to the Shore Parkway). 86th Street, the neighborhood’s boundary with Bensonhurst, is the most bustling. To the south, its many shops lie in the shadow of the BMT West End Line; to the north, it is a four-lane thoroughfare with strip malls.
Everywhere else, Bath Beach is generally quiet and suburban. The north-south avenues have plenty of shops, but they did not seem too busy today. I did go into one bodega offering two eggs on a roll for $5.25. I hope there were gold flecks in the eggs!
Many of the residences are uniform by block, but there are also mansion-like houses. Also present are the Shore Haven Apartments in the southeast corner, a project from 1949. As you might expect given the neighborhood’s proximity to the Shore Parkway, deference is given to the automobile. I can’t recall hearing a single horn, though.
I came across two beautiful houses of worship: Congregation Sons of Israel and Saint Finbar Catholic Church.
The neighborhood’s complexion seems to change as you move north. Around Bay Parkway, many signs are in Cyrillic and Arabic, with plenty in Chinese along 86th Street. Outside of that, it’s mostly Italian.
There’s a pedestrian and bike path along Gravesend Bay; of course, to get there, you have to get across the Shore Parkway. I found a bridge at Bay 15th Street, right next to Bath Beach Park. It was chilly day, so sweatpants were out in force among those exercising.
Many houses were decked out in Halloween attire. The winning block I saw was Bay 14th Street between Cropsey Avenue and the Shore Parkway.
I had lunch at Lenny’s Pizzeria, on the far side of 86th Street at 20th Avenue. This was the place featured in the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever. The grandma slice was enjoyable, but the vodka slice was overdone and could have used more sauce.
I took home a chocolate mousse ball from Mona Lisa. I should have found someone to share this with – it was a bit too rich to take down by my lonesome. I did anyway. I regret nothing.
Remember how I said 86th Street has strip malls? How about this? Completely unexpected.
Here’s the map: