Mother England and the Amusement Park: How Bath Beach Got Its Name

St. Finbar's Roman Catholic Church in 1913. The church still stands today. Photo via NYPL

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    Brownstoner takes on Brooklyn history in Nabe Names, a series of briefs on the origins and surprising stories of neighborhood nomenclature.

    This remote corner of Brooklyn is isolated at the water’s edge, a blip off the Belt Parkway on the borough’s southwestern shore. Primarily a residential area, the neighborhood contains a variety of small apartment buildings and semi-attached homes. While the working-class nabe may not be known to many Brooklynites, it has made cameos in many iconic 1970s borough movies, like The French Connection, the opening scene of Saturday Night Fever and the opening credits of television series Welcome Back, Kotter.

    Bath Beach Brooklyn

    A 1906 menu from Supper’s Hotel and Restaurant. Photo via NYPL

    The area is named for Bath, England, a town known for its hot springs. While Bath Beach never boasted any hot springs, it was once a popular seaside resort for affluent Brooklynites — it even had its own amusement park, despite its relative proximity to Coney Island.

    Bath Beach Brooklyn

    Lenny’s Pizza, made famous by its cameo in Saturday Night Fever, is located on the border of Bath Beach and Bensonhurst. Photo via Brooklyn Based

    Today, the neighborhood shows little sign of its previous incarnation as a resort. Instead, it is an increasingly diverse residential community, with many Chinese, Russian and Hispanic immigrants joining its traditionally Italian-American populace in recent years.

    Bath Beach Brooklyn

    A postcard showing a Bath Beach trolley station. Photo via Zazzle

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