Come see Birdland, aka Sheepshead Bay
Eye on Real Estate
Hail to thee, blithe Spirit!
Bird thou never wert.
– Percy Bysshe Shelley
Emmons Avenue is one of the best places in town for our fine feathered friends to find a good snack.
Folks love the birds that flock to the Sheepshead Bay shoreline — and feed them well.
The other day, when we were strolling along the avenue, especially animated swans and seagulls were bickering over a bagel.
We were going to refer to them as a bevy of swans and a colony of gulls. We found these expressions on a list of collective nouns for animal and bird groups. But whenever we see lists like this, we’re never sure if they’re real, or a piece of satire produced by the Onion.
For instance, can you say “a shiver of sharks” with a straight face? How about “an intrusion of cockroaches” — doesn’t that sound like a made-up expression?
But back to Emmons Avenue. Sometimes, when people get especially enthusiastic about casting their bread upon the waters, the avid gulls look a little bit like they’re rehearsing a scene from “The Birds.”
The rest of the time, the gulls are nonthreatening. They line up single-file on a railing at the water’s edge as though they’re posing for photos.
A favorite footbridge
Another picturesque spot for the birds to perch is the Ocean Avenue Footbridge. As of course you know, the wooden walkway connects Emmons Avenue and neighboring Manhattan Beach’s Shore Boulevard.
The footbridge is a deep shade of blue like a crayon. It opened in 1880.
The railroad executive and developer who commissioned the footbridge, Austin Corbin, was a vile man who’s remembered for his anti-Semitism.
According to the Hidden Waters blog, Corbin tried to have the bridge torn down to keep Jews and other minorities away from Manhattan Beach, where he’d built a snobby hotel. Opponents stood up to him and saved the bridge.
The Rheingold brewers’ summer house
Besides being Birdland, Emmons Avenue is Boatland, too.
Some of Sheepshead Bay’s prettiest sailing vessels are tied up right by the sidewalk. You can pose for selfies with birds and boats in a single backdrop.
Other boats are tucked away behind the walls of private clubs.
One has a clubhouse that’s particularly picturesque even if you see it only from the sidewalk.
The family that brewed Rheingold Beer back in the day had a summer house at 3076 Emmons Ave. It’s now the gathering place for members of the Sheepshead Bay Yacht Club, which was founded in 1908, the club’s website says.
Beer drinkers and nostalgia buffs know that Rheingold’s brewery was in Bushwick. The property is the site of a residential mega-development.
As for the Emmons Avenue clubhouse, it has two porches.
Waterfront lunches, 12 months a year
If you don’t have a waterfront home or a yacht-club membership, another way to get an up-close look at Emmons Avenue’s shoreline scenery is by eating lunch in the neighborhood.
There are eateries with glassed-in back porches so you can sightsee 12 months a year.
A Turkish restaurant called Liman has water views, and so does Italian restaurant Il Fornetto.
The other day we got a seat right by the waterside windows at Rocca Cafe. Even on a sunless, freezing afternoon, the boats docked right outside were beautiful.
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