Gerritsen Beach, Long Island
Gerritsen Beach is a neighborhood located in the borough of Brooklyn near Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay, Long Island, New York. It is part of Brooklyn Community Board 15 and resembles a quaint fishing village on the southern coast of Brooklyn. The area is bounded to the north by Avenue U, to the east by Gerritsen Avenue, to the south by Plumb Beach Channel, and to the west by Shell Bank Creek and Knapp Street. It is bisected from west to east by Gotham Avenue Canal. The canal divides the length of Gerritsen Beach in to lateral portions. It is a primarily residential area with quaint single family dwellings and with suitable access to shopping, entertainment and business areas. As of the 2000 census, there were 5,528 people with a median price of $300,000 in one family house.
In the early seventeenth century, a settler named Wolfert Gerritsen built a house and mill on Gerritsen Creek (now part of Marine Park). The mill was destroyed by fire about 1931. Until the early twentieth century the area remained undeveloped except for a few squatters’ bungalows at the foot of Gerritsen Avenue. The rapid development of Gerritsen Beach started in 1920. The firm of Realty Associates began constructing a middle-class summer resort in the area and the southwest corner of Gerritsen’s Meadow was soon covered by one-story bungalows with peaked roofs and no backyards. The popularity of this first venture goaded further growth. Some bungalows were made suitable for year-round habitation, two-story houses with backyards were built, and within a decade there were fifteen hundred houses.
European immigrants have always been attracted to the charms of Gerritsen Beach and the area has been especially favored by Germans, Italians, and the Irish. The area north of the canal, called New Gerritsen by local residents, is lined with stores and brick houses. The area south of the canal retains the character of a small fishing village and is a famous station for party boats. The volunteer fire department, which began operation in 1921 when the population began to grow, is headquarted at 52 Seba Avenue and the only remaining volunteer fire department in Brooklyn. The area is truly a community school with the Roman Catholics attends Resurrection Church, and many send their children to Resurrection School too. At Gerritsen Beach's public school, there is an extensive marine biology program takes advantage of the area's salt-water ecosystem. The holistic quality of education in the neighborhood is an additional attraction of living in Gerritsen Beach. The famous St. James Evangelical Lutheran Church which was built in 1924 is located on Gerritsen Avenue, the main road in the neighborhood. The stone and wood building displays classic Gothic architecture and has an atmosphere of piety. Inspired pieces of stained glass adorn the upper reaches of the Church and a simple Cross rules the top of the Belfry Spire.