10. Famous residents have included Larry King, Carl Sagan, Sandy Koufax, and others

Larry King's former home in Bensonhurst
Larry King’s former home

Bensonhurst was the home of many famous residents and has appeared quite frequently in television and film. Larry King, the talk show legend who passed away last year, lived at 2136 83rd Street, where he was raised by a single mother on welfare. His mother Jennie worked as a seamstress and attended nearby Lafayette High School. Cosmologist Carl Sagan lived on Bay 37th Street and Bay Parkway, taking inspiration from his readings at the New Utrecht branch of the New York Public Library. The New York Times included an excerpt by biographer Keay Davidson about Sagan’s time in Brooklyn. Other famous residents included Sandy Koufax, the Howard brothers of the Three Stooges, and Abe Burrows, who wrote Guys and Dolls and Can-Can.

Bensonhurst has also featured frequently in pop culture. Bensonhurst perhaps first appeared in a major television show in The Honeymooners, and shortly thereafter, the neighborhood was a filming location for shows like Brooklyn Bridge and the movies The Warriors and The French Connection. A 1992 Saturday Night Live sketch called “Bensonhurst Dating Game” depicted Italian-American men who wanted to commit racial violence because of their views on interracial romance. Batman villain Harley Quinn is also from Bensonhurst, going home to see his family there in a comic from Gotham City Sirens.

Next, check out the Definitive Food Guide to New York’s Many Chinatowns!