Mapleton is one of New York City’s best-kept secrets, in part because it is so small.
Often confused with Bensonhurst or Borough Park, the neighborhood is a small wedge of land, surrounded by Bensonhurst, Borough Park and Midwood. Originally demographically separated – Italians on the Bensonhurst side, and Jewish families on the Borough Park side – currently it is home to many Chinese and Hispanic immigrants as well, many of who have settled in the heart of the community.
Almost exclusively residential, Mapleton’s restaurants and shops are few and far between, but although tiny the neighborhood does house a branch of the New York Public Library, and a school. Shops and restaurants are moving in, many of them Asian, so in the near future, Mapleton may go from sleepy to bustling community, and the diversity of the neighborhood can be seen in the Arab, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, Hebrew, and Korean food shops. Many of the stores and restaurants on the Borough Park side of Mapleton are kosher, reflecting the influence of the original immigrants to populate this community.
Mapleton was part of a Dutch town called New Utrecht, which also included Borough Park and Bensonhurst, as well as Bay Ridge, Fort Hamilton and Dyker Heights, and was home to one of the countries earliest baseball fields, Mapleton was originally developed as Mapleton Park early in the last century, the community was then comprised of brick houses with large porches. The next wave of construction is what defines the landscape of Mapleton today, and during the mid-20th century semi-attached homes were erected, and along the outskirts of the community there are several apartment buildings. Washington Cemetery, the largest Jewish cemetery in New York City, is one of Mapleton’s landmarks.
Today there is no remnant of Mapleton’s ballfield, but Gravesend Park is close by, and offers tennis and bocce courts, as well as ballfields and a playground. The playground is in the process of being upgraded, and millions of improvements to the playground and athletic facilities were completed in 2013.
Manhattan is just a subway ride away, and residents can take the N or the F train, and the commute is under an hour.
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