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When residents of this private community leave for nearby Coney Island, they might announce that they are going “out of the gate,” a phrase that aptly depicts Sea Gate’s secluded nature.Read more about Sea Gate
New York City’s first gated community, located on the southwestern tip of Brooklyn, contains fewer than 900 homes, no stores and -- due to limited access -- few outsiders.
Once a stopover for wealthy families such as the Astors and the Vanderbilts, Sea Gate was also the home of folk singer Woody Guthrie, who paid tribute to the community in his songs “Mermaid’s Avenue,” “Go Down to the Water” and “Gonna Get Through This World.”
Formerly known as Norton’s Point, the community was a gambling hub until It was developed into a full residential neighborhood by developer Alrick Man in 1892. A 1917 brochure promised that its patrols would keep out “peddlers, beggars, picnickers, hurdy-gurdies and other jarring factors.” If that didn‘t appeal to wealthy families, those with a penchant for sailing saw Sea Gate -- surrounded on three sides by water -- as an ideal boating location.
That feature, however, made it vulnerable when Hurricane Sandy struck in 2012. While the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers had previously worked to protect Coney Island with wider beaches and a protective sand barrier, federal law prevented the Army Corps from doing work on Sea Gate’s private beach. As a result, the community, with an active Hasidic Jewish population, saw seawalls break, cars totaled and buildings ruined. Still, Sea Gate, known for East Hampton views at Staten Island prices, offers a private beach, a gate, and a private police force to keep everyone safe.
Its biggest landmark is the Coney Island Lighthouse, built in 1890, which was the former home of Frank Schubert, the last civilian lighthouse keeper in the United States, who died in 2003. Another popular place to visit is Lindy Park, named after famed aviator Charles Lindbergh. At Lindy Park, visitors can view rippling dunes and hauling ships, but the best swimming opportunities are found at the end of Beach 42nd Street, where World War II gun mounts remain.
The nearest subway stop, which offers D, F, Q and N trains, is a mile and a half away, though the B36 and B74 buses will take commuters there from the neighborhood’s gates. There’s also an X28 express bus to Midtown Manhattan from Neptune.