Here’s a beach and community that got its name from a contest. In 1868, William Engemen developed the area just east of Coney Island and held a contest in 1878 to name it. A local businessman won with the name Brighton, from the resort community bearing the same name in England. Being so close to New York City and such a great beach, everyone knew the community would last. In fact, Brighton Beach has the largest Russian community in the United States! Many locals call Brighton, “Little Odessa” since a lot of them migrated long ago from that city in the Ukraine.
So what about this area for a beach holiday? Here you’ll find open markets and rich culture that will teach and entertain you. Drop into M & I market and grab a coffee and pastry and take it to the beach. There are markets along the beach, but items are overpriced.
Since Brighton Beach is one of the better beaches in the greater NYC area, plan on it being very crowded whenever people can get to it (weekends, holidays.) Some say you’ll see a lot of culture right on the beach; people from different nationalities dressing the way they do when they come to the beach. It’s all part of the heart of Brighton, and won’t likely change soon. If you don’t like doing the beach thing, stroll the boardwalk and catch the ocean breeze.
The beachside area is more a neighborhood and not really what you’d think of for a resort area, so don’t expect attractions and the sort along the boardwalk. I suppose they left that for Coney Island. Service around here may seem bad and take you back to the Soviet era but think of it as part of the whole ambiance. Not everyone is rude and crude, but take it in stride if someone rubs you the wrong way.
– Drinks overpriced on the beach, bring your own.
– Parking is a headache. Leave your car and hop on the Q or B. Get off at the Brighton Beach stop and walk 3 blocks to the beach. If you must park here, the lot is at Brighton 2nd Street at the Boardwalk, south of Brighton Ave. $1.50 an hour with a 5 hour limit. There is a large part of the lot restricted by permit. You’ll get a ticket if you park there. But one bright spot in Brighton Beach – on Sundays the parking meters are free!
– Lifeguards, and flag warnings for rip tides.