Manhattan Beach was the most upscale of the three major resort areas that developed at Coney Island shortly after the American Civil War; the other two areas were Brighton Beach and West Brighton. It was developed in the last quarter of the 19th century as a resort by Austin Corbin, later president of the Long Island Rail Road, for whom the street Corbin Place was named. In 1877, Corbin built the famous Manhattan Beach Hotel, followed by the even grander Oriental Hotel in 1880. The Coney Island Jockey Club horse racing track opened nearby at the same time as Corbin's Oriental Hotel; together, these three establishments drew thousands of visitors to Manhattan Beach. The hotels held daily concerts led by famous conductors such as Conterno, Gilmore, and John Philip Sousa, and hosted elaborate nightly fireworks displays, drawing tens of thousands of visitors on summer nights and making Manhattan Beach a renowned summer seaside resort. Sousa composed the "Manhattan Beach" march in 1893 to commemorate the beach resort. Corbin, an antisemite who served as the secretary of the American Society for the Suppression of Jews, barred Jews from the resort. In 1895, Corbin built a 12,000 capacity third-mile concrete cycling track behind the hotel at a cost of $30,000.
Manhattan Beach is patrolled by the 61st Precinct of the NYPD, located at 2575 Coney Island Avenue.
The 61st Precinct ranked 5th safest out of 69 patrol areas for per-capita crime in 2010.
The 61st Precinct has a lower crime rate than in the 1990s, with crimes across all categories having decreased by 88.2% between 1990 and 2018. The precinct saw 1 murder, 17 rapes, 150 robberies, 170 felony assaults, 169 burglaries, 584 grand larcenies, and 72 grand larcenies auto in 2018.
The New York City Department of Education operates public schools in the area. Manhattan Beach is zoned to PS 195 Manhattan Beach School for grades K–5 and PS 225, the Eileen E. Zaglin School for grades 6–8. In 1992, special education school PS 771K was opened at this building.
Private schools in the area include the Yeshiva of Manhattan Beach, a Jewish day school for grades K–8, and the Yeshiva Gedolah Bais Shimon of Manhattan Beach, which is a post-high school rabbinical program.
^The New York and Manhattan Beach Railway, LIRR History. Accessed June 4, 2007. "Immediately the whole purpose of the new RR was changed from freight to passenger, in order to service Corbin’s proposed line to the site of his immense Manhattan Beach Hotel that was being constructed on the east end of Coney Island."
^Hamilton, Sue L. Jack Kirby, p. 16. ABDO Publishing Company, 2010. ISBN9781617842641. Accessed February 20, 2018. "Financially, Jack Kirby was doing well. He and Roz moved into their own apartment in Manhattan Beach, New York."
^Lieberman, Gerlad F. "Brooklyn Survives Without Historian", The New York Times, July 23, 1972. Accessed February 20, 2018. "Justice Leibowitz, long a resident of Manhattan Beach, was born in the East New York section of Brooklyn, a place he describes as a suburb of Brownsville."