Kensington is a neighborhood in the center of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, located south of Prospect Park and the Green-Wood Cemetery. It is bordered by Coney Island Avenue to the east, Fort Hamilton Parkway and Caton Avenue to the north, McDonald Avenue and 36th Street to the west, and 18th Avenue to the south. The neighborhoods that border it are Ditmas Park and Prospect Park South to the east (both of which are parts of Flatbush), Windsor Terrace to the north, Borough Park to the west, and Midwood to the south.
Kensington is a predominantly residential area that consists of housing types that run the gamut from brick rowhouses to detached one-family Victorians to apartment buildings. Pre-war brick apartment buildings dominate the Ocean Parkway and Coney Island Avenue frontage, including many that operate as co-ops. The main commercial streets are Coney Island Avenue, Church Avenue, Ditmas Avenue and McDonald Avenue. Ocean Parkway bisects the neighborhood east-west. Kensington's ZIP Code is 11218 and it is served by the NYPD's 66th Precinct.
Kensington is a very diverse neighborhood, containing African-American, Ukrainian, South Asian (Bangladeshi and Pakistani), Chinese, Orthodox Jewish, Hasidic, Irish, Polish, Italian, Albanian, Russian, Latino, Mexican, Australian and Caribbean communities. More than 300 immigrants from Darfur have also settled in Kensington as of 2010.
The land where Kensington now sits was first colonized by Dutch farmers during the seventeenth century within the Town of Flatbush. It was re-settled by British colonists in 1737. Developed in 1885 after the completion of Ocean Parkway, the neighborhood was named after the place and borough in West London, at the turn of the century.
Ocean Parkway, which starts in Kensington, was finished in 1880; it features about five miles (8 km) of landscaped malls, benches, chess tables and walking and bike paths, linking Prospect Park to Coney Island, and is now part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway. Homebuilding began in earnest in the 1920s and attracted Italian and Irish immigrants to the neighborhood. Brick and brownstone townhouses coexist with single- and two-family homes with yards and garages. Five- and six-story pre- and post-war apartment buildings and co-ops are also common.
Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Kensington-Ocean Parkway was 36,891, a decrease of 46 (0.1%) from the 36,937 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 364.84 acres (147.65 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 101.1 inhabitants per acre (64,700/sq mi; 25,000/km2).
The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 47.9% (17,686) White, 6.9% (2,558) African American, 0.1% (49) Native American, 24.1% (8,879) Asian, 0.0% (9) Pacific Islander, 0.7% (274) from other races, and 2.5% (926) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 17.6% (6,510) of the population.
The New York City Subway's IND Culver Line (F and G trains) runs along the western part of the neighborhood and stops underground at Fort Hamilton Parkway and at Church Avenue. The line rises above ground to an elevated structure (F train) to serve the Ditmas Avenue and 18th Avenue stations. In addition, Kensington is served by the B8, B16, B35, B67, B68, B69, B70, B103 local buses, as well as the BM1, BM2, BM3, BM4 express buses to Manhattan.
The Kensington branch of the Brooklyn Public Library is located at 4207 18th Avenue, near the intersection with Seton Place and East Second Street. It was originally created in 1908 as a "deposit station" with a small collection, and was located at P.S. 134, three blocks east of the current library. Within four years, it had moved twice, and in 1912, it relocated to 770 McDonald Avenue, at the southwest corner of Ditmas Avenue. The library moved again in 1960 to a location four blocks east, on 410 Ditmas Avenue, between East 4th & East 5th Streets. The current facility opened in 2012.
Public schools in Kensington include four public primary schools: P.S.1 30 (shared with Windsor Terrace), P.S. 230, P.S. 179, and P.S. 134. There are two middle schools: J.H.S. 62 and J.H.S. 23. The area has no public high schools.
- Bryce Dessner (born 1976), composer and guitarist.
- Jo Freeman (born 1945), feminist scholar.
- Sid Luckman (1916–1998), Hall of Fame quarterback for the Chicago Bears from 1939 to 1950; led them to four NFL championships. According to the 1940 Federal Census, Luckman lived at 318 East 8th Street in Kensington.
- Sufjan Stevens (born 1975), singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist.
- Frank Terpil (1939–2016), rogue CIA agent, arms trader, international felon.
- Albert Shanker (1928–1997), president of the United Federation of Teachers from 1964 to 1985 and president of the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) from 1974 to 1997.
- 66th Precinct, NYPD.
- "Little Bangladesh". All City New York. Retrieved February 28, 2009.
- "From Darfur to a Corner of Brooklyn". New York Times. April 10, 2010. Retrieved August 18, 2010.
- "Ask the Historian". WNYC. Retrieved July 31, 2010.
When the developers were buying up the farmland at the end of the 19th and the early 20th centuries, they wanted to attract the wealthy to buy their new homes. Giving English-sounding names made it an attraction. Kensington is a suburb of London.
- Table PL-P5 NTA: Total Population and Persons Per Acre - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, February 2012. Accessed June 16, 2016.
- Table PL-P3A NTA: Total Population by Mutually Exclusive Race and Hispanic Origin - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, March 29, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2016.
- "Subway Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. May 1, 2019. Retrieved January 18, 2018.
- "Brooklyn Bus Map" (PDF). Metropolitan Transportation Authority. November 2017. Retrieved April 24, 2018.
- "Kensington Library". Brooklyn Public Library. August 19, 2011. Retrieved February 21, 2019.
- Mooney, Jake (May 25, 2008). "Living in Kensington, Brooklyn Name From London, People From Everywhere". New York Times. Retrieved April 10, 2015.
- Ryzik, Melena. "Mr. Strummy-Strum Tries a Synth Sound", The New York Times, October 14, 2010. Accessed May 15, 2016. "'Music comes really easily to Sufjan,' said Bryce Dessner, a founder of the band the National and a neighbor of Mr. Stevens’s in Kensington, Brooklyn."
- Geberer, Raanan. "Former volunteers, now in Brooklyn, recall Summer Voting-Rights Project of 1965", Brooklyn Daily Eagle, April 23, 2015. Accessed August 7, 2017. "Jo Freeman, a lawyer, professor and writer, moved to lower Park Slope in 1979 after she was admitted to NYU Law School and has lived in Kensington since 1985."
- "Frank Terpil - Confessions Of A Dangerous Man". YouTube. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
- Media related to Kensington, Brooklyn at Wikimedia Commons