Kensington, Brooklyn

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Coordinates: 40°38′19″N 73°58′23″W / 40.638528°N 73.973167°W / 40.638528; -73.973167

Kensington Victorian Houses
File:Kensington PO jeh.JPG
Kensington Post Office (NRHP)

Kensington is a neighborhood in the center of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It is the area south of Prospect Park and the Green-Wood Cemetery. It is bordered by Coney Island Avenue to the east, Caton Avenue / Fort Hamilton Parkway to the north, Dahill Road and 36th Street to the west, and Foster Avenue and 47th Street to the south. The neighborhoods that border it are Ditmas Park and Prospect Park South to the east (both of which are parts of Flatbush), Windsor Terrace to the north, Borough Park to the west, and Midwood to the south.

Kensington is a predominantly residential area of housing types that run the gamut from brick rowhouses to detached one-family Victorians to apartment buildings. Pre-war brick apartment buildings dominate the Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue frontage, many operating as co-ops. The main commercial streets are Coney Island Avenue, Church Avenue, Cortelyou Road and Ditmas Avenue. Ocean Parkway bisects the neighborhood. Kensington is served by the NYPD's 66th and 70th Precincts.[1]

Kensington is one of the most diverse neighborhoods in the country, containing Ukrainian, South Asian (Bangladeshi and Pakistani), Chinese, Orthodox Jewish, Hasidim, Irish, Polish, Italian, Albanian, Russian, Latino, Mexican, and Caribbean communities.[2]



Kensington, originally colonized by Dutch farmers, was settled in 1737. Developed in 1885 after the completion of Ocean Parkway, the neighborhood was named after the place and borough in West London[citation needed]. Ocean Parkway, which starts in Kensington, was finished by 1880; it features five miles of landscaped malls, benches, chess tables and walking and bike paths, linking Prospect Park to Coney Island, and is now part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. Homebuilding began in earnest in the 1920s and attracted Italian and Irish immigrants. Brick and brownstone townhouses coexist with single- and two-family homes with yards and garages. Five- and six-story pre- and post-war apartment buildings and co-ops are also common.


The IND Culver Line (Template:NYCS Culver IND north trains) runs along the western part of the neighborhood and stops underground at Fort Hamilton Parkway and Church Avenue. Southbound the line rises above ground to an elevated structure (Template:NYCS Culver IND south train) to serve the Ditmas Avenue and 18th Avenue stops. In addition, Kensington is served by the B16, B35, B67, B68, B8, and B103 local buses, as well as, for a premium fare, the BM1, BM2, BM3, and BM4 express buses to and from Manhattan.

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Ditmas Avenue, a main shopping street

Community institutions

Kensington Stables

Kensington Stables was the last remaining stable in Prospect Park. The barn was built in 1930 as the last extension of the riding academy at 11 Ocean Parkway, 57 Caton Place (1917). The original riding academy closed in 1937 and is now a warehouse.

Beginning in 2006, a neighboring development project at 22 Caton Place became the subject of controversy. Some residents of Kensington, including the residents of 81 Ocean Parkway (which adjoins 22 Caton Place), are lobbying for modifications to the development plan.[citation needed]

Public Library

Founded as a deposit station in 1908 by the Mother's Kindergarten Club of PS 134 and the Kensington Improvement League, Kensington quickly outgrew two locations before becoming a full-fledged branch in 1912 at 771 McDonald Avenue near Ditmas Avenue. When it again needed more space, in 1960 it moved to its current location at 410 Ditmas Ave. between East 4th & East 5th Streets, a former catering hall that was known at different times as "Ditmas Gardens," "Savoy Gardens," and "The Manor" and was leased and renovated, arousing national media interest.[3]

Notable residents

Sufjan Stevens


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