Close-Up on Bensonhurst

Politicians: Councilmembers Vincent Gentile (D), Simcha Felder (D), James Oddo (R), and Dominic Recchia (D); Assemblymembers Peter J. Abbate (D) and William Colton (D); State Senator Martin J. Golden (R); and Congressman Vito J. Fosella (R).

Community Issues: Bensonhurst’s new ethnic composition breeds both tension and tolerance. Since 2001, Asian students have reported several incidents of discrimination in local schools, even filing complaints with the city’s human rights commission. But many Asians say they feel welcome in the neighborhood. "I feel like people treat you with respect," said deli worker Walker Abbas. "[They're] nice and open-minded. If there's a minor incident, that's part of life."

"After 9-11, some people asked me why I was renting to Muslims," confided Kelly's Kreations owner Kelly Sessa. "I said, 'Oh yeah, right, and remember World War II when we threw Japanese in concentrations camps?' Everyone's an immigrant here."

Crime Statistics: The 62nd Precinct, which serves Bensonhurst, reported three murders in 2003, up two from 2002; 11 rapes, down five; 224 robberies, down 47; 533 burglaries, down 75; and 158 felonious assaults, down 4.

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