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.
As well, many of the bungalows never recovered from damage wrought by Hurricane Sandy, and now sit open to the elements, or boarded up awaiting sale or otherwise.
While watching any old time New York community disappear feels abrasive, it is hard to defend such a vulnerable, dated housing set, originally built only for temporary use. “If a bunch of rundown temporary summer bungalows can’t be replaced with much-needed modern housing, then I don’t know what to say,” said one commenter in response to Kensinger’s article. “One could hardly find a more ideal housing typology for redevelopment.”
However much longer the bungalows last, it is certainly a good thing Kensinger has photographed them now, to document this period, or end, of their existence.
Photos by Nathan Kensinger
A Sheepshead Bay bungalow going for $205,000, Kensinger reported.