Brighton Beach is an oceanside neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn. As of 2000, it has a population of 75,692 with a total of 31,228 households.Brighton Beach is bounded by Coney Island at Ocean Parkway to the west, Manhattan Beach at Corbin Place to the east, Gravesend at the Belt Parkway to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the south (at the Riegelmann Boardwalk/beachfront). It is patrolled by the NYPD's 60th Precinct.
Brighton Beach was developed by William A. Engeman as a beach resort in 1868, and was named by Henry C. Murphy and a group of businessmen in an 1878 contest; the winning name evoked the resort of Brighton, England.
The centerpiece of the resort was the large Hotel Brighton (or Brighton Beach Hotel), placed on the beach at what is now the foot of Coney Island Avenue and accessed by the Brooklyn, Flatbush, and Coney Island Railway, which opened on July 2, 1878. After a series of winter storms threatened to swamp the hotel, an audacious plan was developed to move it in one piece 520 feet further inland by placing railroad track and 112 railroad flat cars under the raised 460 ft. by 130 ft. building and using six steam locomotives to pull it away from the sea. Engineered by B.C. Miller, the move was begun on April 2, 1888 and continued for the next nine days, being the largest building move of the 19th century.
Adjacent to the hotel, Engeman built the Brighton Beach Race Course for Thoroughbred horse racing. The village was annexed into the 31st Ward of the City of Brooklyn in 1894.
Brighton Beach was re-developed as a fairly dense residential community with the final rebuilding of the Brighton Beach railway into a modern rapid transit line, known as the BMT Brighton Line of the New York City Subway c. 1920. The subway system in the neighborhood is above ground on an elevated structure.
The years just before and following The Great Depression brought with them a neighborhood consisting mostly of first and second generation Jewish-Americans and, later, a number of concentration camp survivors. Notable establishments included Diamond's (a small clothing store owned by the parents of Neil Diamond), Irving's Deli, Mrs. Stahl's Knishes and The Famous, a kosher restaurant. The summer would bring the crowds, and many world renowned celebrities, to the Brighton Beach Baths (Private Beach Club) and surrounding public beaches.
Today, the area has a large community of Jewish immigrants who left the Former Soviet Union since 1970. Some non-Jewish immigrants, such as Armenians and Georgians, have also settled in Brighton Beach and the surrounding neighborhoods, taking advantage of the already established Russian-speaking community.
Among the charitable organizations serving the Russian-speaking community is the Russian Community Life Center, which provides a variety of classes and programs.
Brighton Beach was dubbed "Little Odessa" by the local populace due to many of its residents having come from Odessa, a city of Ukraine. In 2006, Alec Brook-Krasny was elected for the 46th District of the New York State Assembly, the first elected Soviet-born Jewish politician from Brighton Beach.
Brighton Beach is home to many other ethnic groups. On Brighton 7th Street and Neptune Avenue, there is a mosque where Muslims (mostly from Pakistan and Bangladesh) pray, and another between Brighton 8th Street and Banner Avenue known as Al-Arqam. Nearby areas are sometimes called "Pakistani Brighton". There are numerous Polish, Russian, Armenian, Turkish and Georgian residents, but relatively few Italian-Americans or African-Americans. There are also some Korean markets, but for the most part their owners do not reside in the neighborhood. Notable past residents include former talk-show host Larry King and current General Bancorp President Adnan Mohammad.
Brighton Beach is replete with restaurants, food stores, cafes, boutiques, banks, etc., located primarily along Brighton Beach Avenue and its cross streets. The neighborhood has a distinctively ethnic feel. The proximity of Brighton Beach to the city's beaches (Brighton Beach Avenue runs parallel to the Coney Island beach and boardwalk) and the fact the neighborhood is directly served by a subway station makes it a popular summer weekend destination for New York City residents.