Sheepshead Bay

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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.

The Astor Cup auto race at the Sheepshead Bay Race Track in 1915. Photo via the Library of Congress

The waterfront community Sheepshead Bay comprises the end of Brooklyn’s alphabetical grid, with Avenues W, X, Y and Z criss-crossing the former barrier island, which has since been artificially extended. 

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Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams and street-safety advocates joined at the site of a recent pedestrian fatality last week to unveil a $1 million plan to improve dangerous intersections.

The plan was unveiled at Nostrand Avenue and Avenue Z in Sheesphead Bay, where nine fatal or critical crashes have occurred this year (most recently, Carol Carboni was killed in a crash at the intersection in August).

Adams spoke of creating “bulb-outs” and “neck-downs” — otherwise known as sidewalk extensions — at five areas that have a large elderly population.

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Tucked away in an oft-forgotten corner of Brighton Beach and Sheepshead Bay are the weathered remains of Brooklyn’s once prosperous summertime bungalow communities. Built in clusters near the coast, these low-lying colonies have fared poorly as both the seas and new development rise around them, casting shadows and bringing floodwater. Nathan Kensinger recently photographed the surviving Bungalows for Curbed.

Originally intended exclusively for warm-weather use, Brighton Beach’s surviving bungalows were built in the 1920s on the grounds of the former Brighton Beach Racetrack, Kensinger reported. The quaint, antiquated homes began falling on hard times beginning in the 90s, as neighborhood crime rates rose and squatters, drug dealers, and prostitutes took to utilizing the frequently abandoned abodes.

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Renderings released Tuesday by Rybak Development at a Community Board 15 meeting show the developer is planning an ambitious mall with condos above as well as a large public plaza in Sheepshead Bay.

The glass-fronted retail space is broken up with zig zagging and horizontal concrete divisions, and the whole thing comes to nearly a point at one corner, like the prow of a ship. (Perhaps the marine look is a reference to the nearby waterfront area.) The architect of 1809 Emmons Avenue is Brooklyn-based Zproekt.

The renderings were first published by Sheepshead Bites. The developer plans eight stories with 50 to 60 condos. Rybak will need a zoning variance to build that many apartments, which is where the big public plaza comes in.

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This post courtesy of Explore Brooklyn, an all-inclusive guide to the businesses, neighborhoods, and attractions that make Brooklyn great.

North of Manhattan Beach and south of everything else in Brooklyn, this waterfront district is brimming with old-school Brooklyn character. Sheepshead Bay is named for a striped fish species that was once catchable in the adjacent bay, but these days is found in more southerly waters. The neighborhood once boasted a race track—originally for horses and later for automobiles—that shuttered in the early 20th century.

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A huge waterfront site in Sheepshead Bay is on the market for $2,300,000. However, there’s a catch: Not only was Sheepshead Bay in general hard hit during Sandy, but 68 percent, or 53,000 square feet, of this 78,000 square foot property at 2433 Knapp Street sits “below the median high water line,” according to TerraCRG, which is marketing the site. That leaves approximately 25,000 square feet for residential development.

The empty site comes with proposed plans (they have not yet been approved, as far as we can tell from DOB records), including the above rendering, for a three-story building with 18 units. Not only would there be 18 outdoor parking spaces but the property would also come with 36 boat slips!