In all of New York City, there’s nothing quite like the Bensonhurst Statue House. Located halfway down 85th Street between 20th and 21st avenues, number 2056 would be fairly nondescript were it not for the nearly forty life-size sculptures of pop culture figures that stand guard. Superman flies out from a second story balcony, Batman keeps watch at the foot of the driveway, Marilyn Monroe and Elvis flirt and and croon, James Dean looks over at Humphrey Bogart, Betty Boop eyes an unseen interloper, Dracula and Frankenstein look forebodingly from above the garage. The tableau is replete with kitschy accoutrements ranging from an old-school phone booth, street signs, lamppost, and other memorabilia from the mid-century.
The whole creation is the work of Steve Campanella, a retired Marine who uses the spectacle to express his love of the pop culture from his childhood and his deep pride in his hometown of Brooklyn. Memory Lane, reads one sign attached to a lamppost. The driveway and garage are fashioned like the approach to the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, with two “lanes” where you can choose Cash or EZ-Pass. Many of the signs are about Brooklyn, including one that points to Ebbets Field. Steve’s Playland, Campanella calls it, and even more can be found inside his massive garage where thousands of collector items are stored.
The Bensonhurst Statue House is so renown that former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz has paid a visit, who told the New York Daily News, “Steve is a real Brooklyn character.” With a sense of humor and very self-aware of the oddity of his pastime, Campanella hung a sign on one of the sculptures that says “Pray for The Campanellas – especially Steve, who needs the most help.”
Bensonhurst has many other great discoveries, including the childhood home of Dr. Anthony Fauci. The Bensonhurst Statue House is one of 150+ locations inside our book Secret Brooklyn. Get an autographed copy. below!