Sea Gate is a private gated community at the far western end of Coney Island at the southwestern tip of the New York City borough of Brooklyn. It contains mostly single-family homes, some directly on Gravesend Bay.
The area that is now Sea Gate was once known as Norton's Point. "Norton" was the name of the owner of a casino, which was situated where the Coney Island Light now stands. The neighborhood held a reputation for gambling before it was developed into a residential neighborhood.
Sea Gate was developed into a full neighborhood in 1892 by developer Alrick Man. By 1899, Sea Gate property owners included the Morgan, Dodge family, and Vanderbilt families. Governor Al Smith and others frequented the Atlantic Yacht Club, whose clubhouse was designed by Stanford White.
Sea Gate is still surrounded on three sides by water with private beaches. In 1995, the Army Corps of Engineers completed its work of replenishing Coney beaches and building new jetties, including a long jetty at the border of Sea Gate and Coney Island.
Residents refer to Sea Gate as "the gate," and venturing into adjoining Coney Island as going "out the gate." There are no stores in the neighborhood. There are express buses to Manhattan which take 80 minutes.
Residents pay for Sea Gate Police, sewer, beach, Life Guards, street lights, and street cleaning.
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In addition to the large and private beach areas, Sea Gate has two parks:
- A playground with a basketball court and children's jungle gym pieces next to the Sea Gate Community Center on Surf Avenue.
- Beach Reservation (as referred to on the map of Sea Gate, VI.a, 1894) is near the Coney Island Light House and extends before and beyond Norton's Point. A sandy/grassy patch of land with views of Lower New York Harbor and the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. It is nicknamed "Lindy Park", commemorating Charles Lindbergh. The "Lindy Park" sea wall was painted for the celebration of the United States Bicentennial in 1976; it read, "SEA GATE USA--WELCOME WORLD".
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In the summer, "Sea Gaters" walk on the streets in only bathing suits. Children play in the streets until well after sundown; vehicular traffic is relatively sparse on many streets. Many visit the amusement area and boardwalk of adjacent Coney Island.There are often fireworks on Friday nights.
Fishing is available for several seasonal species, including fluke (summer flounder), porgies, blackfish, flounder and even small striped bass. Sometimes there are also snapper blues, pilotfish, blowfish and eels.
The Sea Gate beach is private and residents pay to maintain it. Residents pay the salaries of Lifeguards. Residents pay ( in addition) for a Beach Pass and visitors must show beach passes as well. It is uncrowded and patrolled by lifeguards in season. Beach access is also offered to members of the Sea Gate Beach Club. The beach club, originally for residents, is now privately run and open to anyone who pays for membership. It adjoins the hub of Sea Gate summer life, the Riviera or the "Riv," with its handball and basketball courts, benches for card playing, restaurant/café, and a jukebox, spinning discs into the evening.
Located on Beach 47th Street in Sea Gate is the 75-foot-tall (23 m) Coney Island Light, is a lighthouse built in 1890, before the area was populated. The lighthouse is the former home of Frank Schubert, the United States' last civilian lighthouse keeper, who died in 2003.
The chapel, once used for services and built in 1901, is a historical building now used for social events, yoga classes, and is a polling site at election times. The Chapel with its stained-glass windows is the first structure seen when entering the main (police protected) gate.
The New York City Department of Education operates public schools that serve Sea Gate.
Sea Gate is largely populated by middle and lower middle income families living in single- and two-family houses, 54% being rentals. As of 2000, the median age was 38.6 years and the median household income was $41,659. In addition to city and state taxes, residents pay dues and charges to the Sea Gate Association.
In October 2012, Hurricane Sandy devastated Sea Gate. The neighborhood was inundated by ocean water and battered by strong winds. The area sustained significant damage and numerous houses were destroyed. The "Lindy Park" sea wall/ bulkhead (officially known as Beach Reservation extending from Beach 48th Street to Beach 50th Street) was destroyed leaving Sea Gate, Coney Island and beyond open to any rough seas and additional damage.
- Michael E. Berdy, Capt., US Army, KIA 26 Dec 1967 while serving in Vietnam, PS 188 is named in his honor, described as a man of humor, conviction, imagination, drive and incredible courage.
- Leonard Everett Fisher, 4810 Beach 48th Street, Sea Gate>, Writer. Among his many books one called "The Jetty Chronicles" was based on the view from his childhood window of the Norton's Point Jetty.
- Jack Foley, the inventor of movie sound effects, called "Foley"
- Adam Lance Garcia, author Green Lama Unbound
- Yossi Green, Jewish music composer
- Herbie Kronowitz, middleweight contender in the 1940s
- George Reeves, portrayed Superman on television, rumored to have lived there one summer
- Ludwig Satz, an actor in Yiddish theater and film, best known for his comic roles. A 1925 New York Times article singles him out as the greatest Yiddish comic actor of the time.
- Michoel Schnitzler, American Hasidic singer
- Beverly Sills, opera singer
- Isaac Bashevis Singer, Yiddish author
- Al Smith, former New York Governor
- Lou Stallman, Grammy nominated songwriter, wrote "Round and Round" and "Treasure of Love"
- Irwin Winkler, film producer and director, won an Oscar for Best Picture for "Rocky"
- Yeedle, singer and son of Mordechai Ben David
The Atlantic Yacht Club building, which burned down in 1933
- Hughes, C.J. (2010-09-03). "Living In Sea Gate, Brooklyn". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-09-05.
- Broker Website for Sea Gate, Brooklyn
- http://www.oregonlive.com/today/index.ssf/2012/10/superstorm_sandy_residents_sur.html Superstorm Sandy: Residents survey damage in New York's famed Coney Island
- Teitelbaum, C. S. "Songs for the Soul: The man behind 'Neshama Flam'". Hamodia Magazine, 16 June 2011, p. 18.
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