Gerritsen Beach is a neighborhood in the New York City borough of Brooklyn, located near Marine Park and Sheepshead Bay. The area is served by Brooklyn Community Board 15.Gerritsen Beach lies on a peninsula in the southeastern part of Brooklyn, near Marine Park; it is bounded on the north by Avenue U, to the east by Gerritsen Avenue, to the south by the Plumb Beach Channel, and on the west by Shell Bank Creek and Knapp Street. It is bisected, from west to east, by the Gotham Avenue Canal. The area north of the canal, known as the "new section" by local residents, has traditional city streets lined with stores, brick houses, and wide sidewalks. The area south of the canal (the "old section") is a popular spot for party boats and chartered fishing boats to be berthed. The streets in Gerritsen Beach are in alphabetical order (that is, Aster, Bevy, Celeste, Dictum, etc.), and they are patrolled by officers of the New York Police Department's 61st Precinct.
The neighborhood is named for Wolphert Gerretse, a Dutch settler, who, in the early seventeenth century, built a house and mill on Gerritsen Creek (which is now part of the nearby Marine Park neighborhood). The three-hundred-year-old mill was destroyed by fire in 1931.
Until the early twentieth century, the area remained undeveloped except for a few squatters’ bungalows clustered at the foot of Gerritsen Avenue. In 1920, Realty Associates, a speculative real-estate builder, began constructing a middle-class summer resort there. The southwestern section of Gerritsen’s meadow was soon covered by one-story bungalows with peaked roofs and no backyards; typically, these houses were built on tiny 40-by-45-foot lots. The popularity of this venture spurred further growth. Some bungalow-owners made them suitable for year-round habitation; others built two-story houses with backyards; and, within a decade, there were fifteen hundred houses in Gerritsen Beach.
The neighborhood has a large Irish-Catholic presence in the community. A few long-standing residents of Irish descent refer to the community as being cois farraige, which is an Irish language phrase meaning "by the sea". The remaining percentage of the population is predominantly of Italian and German descent.
The Gerritsen Ballfields, consisting of three baseball fields, two athletic fields for soccer or football, and one Little League field, are located on the east side of Gerritsen Avenue. In 1993, this site benefitted from a $192,000 renovation sponsored by Borough Council Member Herbert E. Berman. The park area also supports a "mini-airport" for motorized model airplanes; it is located at Seba Avenue and Gerritsen Avenue.
Recreational fishing is very popular with citizens of the community. Anglers can be found fishing along the shore at the southern end of Gerritsen Avenue and along the adjacent shoreline of the Gerritsen Creek-Marine Park "salt marsh". The Gerritsen Creek estuary and the adjacent salt marsh is also a major spawning ground for various species of marine fish. Riding of quads is also popular, as people ride around the beach and in the trails.