7. Brighton Beach had (and still has) a high concentration of Holocaust survivors

Holocaust memorial

Because Brighton Beach was a prominent Jewish neighborhood prior to World War II, many Holocaust survivors moved to the area to be with family or fellow Jews. As of 2011, a majority of the 55,000 Holocaust survivors living in New York City called Brighton Beach home. The area’s Jewish population grew in the 1970s due to the migration of predominantly Ashkenazi Jews from Ukraine and Russia. The area quickly became known as “Little Odessa,” and many more Jews settled here following the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. These more recent waves of migration also brought over more Holocaust survivors, many of whom continue to share their stories with locals today.

In nearby Sheepshead Bay about a five-minute walk from Brighton Beach’s main stretch is Holocaust Memorial Park, the only public Holocaust memorial park in New York City. At the park is a 14.5-foot sculpture of granite and exposed steel that includes a bronze “Eternal Flame” and the word “Remember.” A granite slab details briefly the events of the Holocaust. Granite markers surrounding the sculpture are inscribed with names, places, and historical events that are related to the Holocaust.