Walk This Way to a Bath Beach getaway
Eye On Real Estate
Head for the shoreline and swing left.
Another neighborhood awaits.
Even when your own neighborhood has everything you need to live well, an occasional change of scenery is good for the soul.
It’s Bay Ridge we’re thinking about at this moment, a much-loved place where residents could happily hunker down and never need to leave.
But then they’d never see Bath Beach, which has myriad charms all its own.
The Shore Park promenade, a popular walkway and biking path on the Bay Ridge waterfront, has an entrance at the foot of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. There’s a fork beneath the bridge where most people turn right, and who can blame them?
Head in that direction and you wind up at the 69th Street Pier — where the sight of newly built 1 World Trade Center shimmering above the harbor will lift your spirits, and Lady Liberty lifts her torch, too.
But just for the fun of it, when you have time to spare, turn left instead and go see Bath Beach.
In 20 minutes you’ll arrive at an overpass that allows you to walk over the Belt Parkway to Bay 8th Street. It’s a brief trek even if you stop to photograph the giant American flag flying at Fort Hamilton and the side of the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge that you don’t see from Bay Ridge. If you have a long-range camera lens, you’ll also get good shots of seabirds wheeling above the waters and resolutely flying against the wind.
Later, you can return to the promenade by walking over a pedestrian bridge situated between Bay 14th and Bay 16th streets or by heading down Bay Parkway, which ends at a cluster of public tennis courts.
Bath Beach is a smallish neighborhood. You can cover a lot of ground in an afternoon.
It is separated from Bay Ridge by the military base and Dyker Beach Golf Club, and is south of Bensonhurst and west of Gravesend.
This is Brooklyn, the foodies’ paradise, so of course there are great things to eat, from beef and spring rolls wrapped in lettuce leaves at Pho Tay Ho 86 to Ukrainian borscht at Polish restaurant Chris’s, both on 86th Street. For nostalgia’s sake you should swing by Lenny’s Pizza which is also on 86th Street. It’s the location where the opening of “Saturday Night Fever” — with John Travolta’s character ordering two slices — was filmed.
There’s other movie trivia worth mentioning about Bath Beach. Curly Howard of the Three Stooges was born in the neighborhood. Vincent Gardenia, who played Cher’s father in “Moonstruck,” lived on 16th Avenue for the last half of his life. A sign on the corner of 16th and Benson avenues proclaims this segment of 16th Avenue to be “Vincent Gardenia Boulevard.”
Houses that are easy to love
The neighborhood’s housing stock is interesting to look at.
Many blocks are lined with 20th-Century brick homes with lovely roses or irises out front. Grassy lawns and fabulous trees make Bay 13th Street a standout among these.
There is eye candy in the form of big, beautiful old houses at every turn.
Villa Regina at 1527 Cropsey Ave. is one of our favorites. It’s okay for us to speak of favorites — we’re not trying to help anybody sell real estate; we’re just admiring it.
The villa has a turret, a big porch to while away the hours and a front lawn graced by a statue in a fountain. The name of this casa meravigliosa is displayed on a fence, which is how we know what it’s called.
The house has belonged to members of the Regina family since 1959, city Finance Department records indicate.
Another old-fashioned house that wows us, 1445 Cropsey Ave., has two turrets. It has belonged since 1968 to spouses John and Catherine Perrotti, according to Finance Department records.
Between these stellar houses, there’s charming 1511 Cropsey Ave., which has a pot of yellow posies out front. The house belongs to spouses Charles and Mary A. DeGenaro, Finance Department records indicate.
An eye-catching house at 8686 Bay 16th St. has a pointy-topped turret like a witch’s hat and is painted a deep shade of gray that’s dark as a thunder cloud. The door is cherry red. It belongs to Laura Messiana, Finance Department records show.
Twin houses at 8731 and 8733 21st Ave. look like one big mansion. Their façades don’t quite match, which enhances their charm.
While 86th Street is mostly a busy retail corridor, there’s an interesting row of homes near 17th Avenue. The front yard of one of them, 1671 86th St., is bristling with big pinwheels, which adds a touch of whimsy.
A historic precinct house and church bells in the evening
The NYPD’s stellar 62nd Precinct station house at 1925 Bath Ave. is a century-old red-brick building with green trim around the roof that will draw your eye from several blocks away.
Another institutional building that’s particularly eye-pleasing is the domed, Neo-Classical Congregation Sons of Israel synagogue at 2115 Benson Ave. It was designed by Emery Roth, one of New York City’s important 20th-Century architects, and built in 1918.
An ear-pleasing institution is St. Frances Cabrini Church at 1562 86th St., whose bells sound forth at 6 p.m. Outside the church, there’s a statue of this Catholic saint. An inscription on the pedestal says she is the Patroness of Immigrants.
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