- Sunset Park, Brooklyn
Sunset Park is a
neighborhoodin the southwestern section of the New York Cityborough of Brooklyn, USA. According to the New York City Department of Planningthe neighborhood's boundaries are 15th Street with Park Slope and Windsor Terrace to the north, 9th Avenue and Borough Park to the west, 65th Street and Bay Ridge to the south and Upper New York Bayto the west. Sunset Park also encompasses the sub-neighborhood of Greenwood Heights located on the slopes of Green-Wood Cemeteryin the northern section of the neighborhood.
There is a namesake city
parkwithin the neighborhood, located between 41st and 44th Streets and 5th and 7th Avenues, which is the second highest point in Brooklyn. The hilly terrain of the park affords visitors magnificent views of Downtown Brooklynand the Brooklyn Bridge, Lower Manhattan, the Statue of Liberty, Staten Islandand New Jerseybeyond. The "main drag" of the neighborhood lies along 5th Avenue. The area is also home to the Jackie Gleason Bus Depot.
Brief history and overview
In the heyday of the
New York Harbor's dominance of North American shippingduring the 19th century, Sunset Park grew rapidly, largely as a result of Irish, Polish, and Norwegian immigrant families moving to the area. The neighborhood grew up around the Bush Terminalof Irving T. Bush, a model industrial parkcompleted in 1895 between 39th and 53d Streets, and continued to grow through World War II, when the Brooklyn Army Terminalbetween 53d and 66th Streets employed more than 10,000 civilians to ship 80% of all American supplies and troops.
Sunset Park's fortunes began to decline after the war. The rise of truck-based
freightshipping and ports in New Jersey, the growth of suburban sprawland white flight, the closing of the Army Terminal, and the decreasing importance of heavy industry in the American northeast, all became factors. Families who had lived in the community for decades began moving out, and the homes in the neighborhood — largely modest but attractive rowhouses — lost value. The construction of the Gowanus Expresswayin 1941 effectively cut the neighborhood off from the harbor, which further wounded the area, in a fashion often associated with the expressway's builder: power-broker Robert Moses.
Sunset Park's second age began with a wave of immigration from
Puerto Rico, Mexico, and the Dominican Republic, as well as other Latin Americancountries. By 1990, Hispanics comprised 50% of Sunset Park's population, rehabilitating property values and developing a thriving community. Many people also immigrated from Indiaand China.
Since the 1980s, the neighborhood has attracted many East Asian immigrants, centered on an area now known as "Brooklyn's
Chinatown", along 8th Avenue from 42nd to 68th Street, where the city's third-largest Chinese community (after Manhattan's Chinatown and Flushing, Queens) can be found. Some claim the reason the Chinese settled on 8th Avenue is because in Chinese folklore, the number eight is lucky for financial matters, and "8th Avenue" can be loosely interpreted as "road to wealth". Another explanation is the direct subway ride to Manhattan's Chinatown on the N/R and D lines.
8th Avenue is lined with Chinese businesses, including grocery stores, restaurants,
Buddhist temples, video stores, bakeries, and community organizations, and even Hong Kong Supermarket. Some Chinese businesses are also appearing on parts of 7th Avenue, and east on 9th Avenue. Recently in the community, the issues of overcrowding and more efficient sanitation have been raised. A plan was proposed to turn 8th Avenue into a one-way streetdue to traffic congestion, but this has not been confirmed to happen anytime soon.
Gujarat, India, have also been settling in and around the Sunset Park area since 1974. They are mainly Christianand mostly go to three of the area's churches. The churches are at 45th Street and 7th Avenue, 56th Street and 4th Avenue, and 52nd Street and 8th Avenue. These churches have a mainly Indian congregation, and many times have very festive parties in the church halls. As of the year 2000, many of them have been moving to nearby Staten Island.
The 2000 Census [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/SAFFFacts?_event=Search&geo_id=&_geoContext=&_street=&_county=11220&_cityTown=11220&_state=&_zip=11220&_lang=en&_sse=on&pctxt=fph&pgsl=010] for Sunset Park, Brooklyn approximately shows that there were 120,441 people living in the neighborhood; 50.5%
maleand 49.5% were female; The medianage was 30.8; 17.8% of residents were children, 73.2% were adults(18 years and over), and 9% were senior citizens(65 or over).
There were 29,723 total housing units, of which 95.8% were occupied, and 75.1% were rented and 24.9% were
owned; The median property valuewas $235,400. The median household incomein 1999 US dollars was $30,152, and the median family incomewas $31,247; The per capitaincome was $13,141; 27.9% of individuals, and 26% of families were living below the poverty line. 93.9% of residents were of one race, while 6.1% were multiracial; Roughly 42.6% of residents were Hispanicor Latino, 36.2% were "white", Caucasian/Arab, 29% were Asian (mostly Chinese), 3.2% were "black" or African American, and 24.7% were "some other race".
Sunset Park was hit by the
2007 Brooklyn tornadoon August 8. Significant damage was reported to homes on 58th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues.
Sunset Park is extensively served by
road, rail, and ferryservice. Sunset Park has access to three expressways; the Gowanus Expressway/ Interstate 278, the Prospect Expressway/NY-27 and the Belt Parkway.
NYCTAbus lines serve Sunset Park: B9, B11, B35, B37, B63, B70.
Three subway lines run through Sunset Park. The
BMT Fourth Avenue Line(NYCS Fourth center) has stations at Prospect Avenue, 25th Street, 36th Street, 45th Street, 53rd Street and 59th Street. The BMT West End Line(NYCS West End) has a station at Ninth Avenue. The BMT Sea Beach Line(NYCS Sea Beach) has a station at Eighth Avenue.
Freight trains run on embedded tracks along 1st and 2nd Avenues and on the old
Long Island Rail Road Bay Ridge Branchrails which are adjacent to the BMT Sea Beach Line.
Ferry service is available at 58th Street and 1st Avenue at the
Brooklyn Army Terminalto the Wall StreetFerry Pier at the Financial District in Manhattanor the US Coast Guard's Riis Landing in Roxbury, Queensduring the rush hourand on summerweekends. Ferry service was created in the aftermath of the September 11th attackswhen the Gowanus Expressway and New York City Subwaywere at capacity. It was free from October 2001until April 2003, when the Federal Emergency Management Agencyannounced that it could not subsidize the service anymore. Today it is operated by the Red Hook, Brooklyn-based New York Water Taxicompany on its Rockaway Beach and Commuter route. The Water Taxi service from the Brooklyn Army Terminal was part of the crucial contingency planduring the 2005 New York City transit strike.
Much of the traffic between Brooklyn Chinatown and Manhattan Chinatown is handled by privately held vans known in English colloquially as "Chinese vans". They cruise down 8th Avenue from 48th street to the 65th Street onramp to
Gowanus Expressway/I-278. These vans can be seen during commute hours picking up and unloading passengers on 8th Avenue. As early as 2004, additional vans took passengers to Flushing, Queens. Despite prices of $5 per passenger, these vans were the real contingency plan for people living in Brooklyn Chinatown during the 2005 New York City transit strike.
* Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help
List of Brooklyn, New York neighborhoods
Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow (OBT)
* [http://sunset-park.com/main/index2.html Sunset-Park.com] Information about Sunset Park attractions, upcoming events, news, neighbhorhood history, etc.
* [http://www.nyc.gov/html/sbs/html/bid.html Sunset Park Business Improvement District]
* [http://www.flickr.com/groups/sunsetpark/ - Pictures of Sunset Park, Brooklyn]
* [http://web.honorscollege.cuny.edu/student-projects/2005/neighborhoods/14/ Sunset Park "A New Perspective"] from
CUNY Baruch College
* [http://www.mta.info Metropolitan Transportation Authority]
* [http://www.nywatertaxi.com New York Water Taxi website]
* [http://imdb.com/title/tt0117784/ The Movie Sunset Park] at
* [http://gunsetpark.blogspot.com/ Pictures of the neighborhood]
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
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