Canarsie, Brooklyn

Neighborhood of Brooklyn

Rockaway Parkway in Canarsie

Location in New York City

Coordinates: 40°38′33″N 73°54′04″W / 40.642598°N 73.90121°W / 40.642598; -73.90121Coordinates: 40°38′33″N 73°54′04″W / 40.642598°N 73.90121°W / 40.642598; -73.90121
Country  United States
State  New York
City New York City
Borough Brooklyn
  Total 7.51 km2 (2.898 sq mi)
Population (2010)[2]
  Total 83,693
  Density 11,000/km2 (29,000/sq mi)
  Median income $58,463
ZIP codes 11234, 11236

Canarsie (/kəˈnɑːrsi/ kə-NAR-see) is a working- and middle-class residential and commercial neighborhood in the southeastern portion of the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City, United States.

Canarsie is bordered on the east by Fresh Creek Basin, East 108th Street, and the BMT Canarsie Line (L train); on the north by Linden Boulevard; on the west by Remsen Avenue to Ralph Avenue and the Paerdegat Basin; and on the south by Jamaica Bay. It is adjacent to the East Flatbush, Flatlands, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, and East New York neighborhoods.

The area is part of Brooklyn Community Board 18.[3] It is patrolled by the NYPD's 69th Precinct.[4] Canarsie is also served by Engine 257, Ladder 170 of the FDNY, and Station 58 of the FDNY Bureau of EMS.


"Canarsie" is an adaptation to English phonology of a word in the Lenape language for "fenced land" or "fort". Europeans would often refer to the indigenous people living in an area by the local place-name, and so references may be found in contemporary documents to "Canarsee Indians".

As of the 2010 United States Census, approximately 84,000 people reside in Canarsie.[5]


The current neighborhood of Canarsie lies within the former town of Flatlands, one of the five original Dutch towns on Long Island. Canarsie was built on swamps near Jamaica Bay. It was a fishing village through the 1800s, until pollution contaminated the oysters[6][7][8][9] In the 1920s, Southern Italian immigrants along with Jews settled in the area, although the Jewish population in Canarsie in recent years has been steadily shrinking.[10] Ferry service at Canarsie Pier withered away after the building of the Marine Parkway–Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge.[11][12]

Murphy's Carousel

Murphy's Carousel was created in 1912 by the Stein and Goldstein Artistic Carousell Co. of Brooklyn and installed in Golden City Park in Canarsie, on the Brooklyn waterfront, where it operated for 20 years. The New York Times notes: "The horses were carved in Coney Island style, which eschewed the look of docile ponies and prancing fillies and produced much more muscular, ferocious creatures with bared teeth and heads often lifted in motion."[13] In the spring of 1940,[14] when the Belt Parkway was planned in the area, the carousel was moved to Baldwin, on the border abutting Freeport, on Long Island.[13][15]

"By way of Canarsie"

"By way of Canarsie" was a mid-twentieth century American English figure of speech meaning "to come to one's destination by a roundabout way or from a distant point." It presumably arose when the Wilson Avenue Line was a principal route to Canarsie Landing. The expression has dropped from modern common parlance.[16]


Based on data from the 2010 United States Census, the population of Canarsie was 83,693, a decrease of 1,365 (1.6%) from the 85,058 counted in 2000. Covering an area of 1,959.94 acres (793.16 ha), the neighborhood had a population density of 42.7 inhabitants per acre (27,300/sq mi; 10,600/km2).[2]

The racial makeup of the neighborhood was 81.0% (67,816) African American, 5.9% (4,928) White, 0.2% (192) Native American, 2.6% (2,198) Asian, 0.0% (8) Pacific Islander, 0.4% (332) from other races, and 1.5% (1,278) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 8.3% (6,941) of the population.[17]

During the 1990s, much of Canarsie's white population left for Staten Island, Long Island, Queens, and New Jersey, part of a national phenomenon referred to as "white flight" from the inner city to the suburbs.[18] Today, Canarsie's population is mostly black due to significant West Indian immigration in the area. East Brooklyn Community High School now serves the transfer student population.[19]

Places of interest

Canarsie Pier

At the southeast end of Canarsie is Canarsie Pier on Jamaica Bay, a fishing spot and recreation area. The pier is part of Gateway National Recreation Area, a unit of the National Park Service.[20]

At the western end are mostly commercial warehouses and buildings. Canarsie has many one- and two-family homes, although there are two large public housing developments; NYCHA's "Breukelen" houses, and "Bayview" houses, and a number of small apartment buildings scattered throughout the neighborhood.

The neighborhood has many parks, including a large one (over 100 acres (40 ha)) commonly referred to as Seaview Park, but officially named Canarsie Beach Park, which expanded to the southwest in 2007.


Subway platform at Rockaway Parkway

The BMT Canarsie Line, on which the L train of the New York City Subway runs, has its terminal in Canarsie. MTA bus routes B6, B17, B42, B60, B82, B103, BM2 also run through Canarsie.

The principal roadways through Canarsie are Rockaway Parkway and Flatlands Avenue.


Canarsie is home to three high-school campuses, Canarsie Educational Campus, South Shore Educational Campus, and the newer East Brooklyn Community High School, as well as several junior high schools and elementary schools. In late fall 2006, Mayor Bloomberg announced that five troubled high schools would close by 2010:[21] Two were Canarsie's South Shore and Canarsie High School. According to a New York City Department of Education spokesperson, the closings were attributed to "dismal graduation rates, consistent low test scores, a poor history of educating, low performing students, and lackluster demand."

Canarsie High School was phased out at the end of the 2010-2011 school year. There are now three small schools operating in the Canarsie Educational Campus: High School for Medical Professions (HSMP), Innovation in Advertising and Media (IAM), and Urban Action Academy (UAA). These schools had their first graduating classes at the end of the 2011-12 school year.


The Canarsie Courier, published every Thursday, is the oldest weekly publication in Brooklyn and is still in publication. It was founded by Walter S. Patrick on April 22, 1921. The Courier was then purchased by brothers Bob and Joe Samitz in 1959.[22] After the passing of Joe Samitz, Mary Samitz became co-publisher of the paper with her husband Bob and then became the sole publisher after he died. After his death in 1998, the Samitz family sold the paper to Donna Marra and Sandra Greco. Marra became the sole publisher in 2010. The newspaper's estimated circulation is fewer than 5,000, including paid, mailed subscriptions and subscribers to their website, as well as newsstand and over-the-counter sales. In addition to Canarsie, the Courier is distributed in various communities in southeast Brooklyn, such as Georgetown, East New York, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, and Spring Creek, among others.

While the Courier focuses on local community news, it also offers readers a variety of features for the discriminating reader, plus local sports, culture news, guest columns, and opinion columns by in-house editors.[23]

Notable residents

Notable current and former residents of Canarsie include:



  1. "Canarsie neighborhood in New York". Retrieved June 4, 2014.
  2. 1 2 Table PL-P5 NTA: Total Population and Persons Per Acre - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, February 2012. Accessed June 16, 2016.
  3. Brooklyn Community Boards, New York City. Retrieved December 31, 2007.
  4. 69th Precinct, NYPD
  6. Jamaica Bay Ecowatchers at
  7., 10,000 Oysters Are Being Installed In Jamaica Bay, With Beds Made From Recycled Toilets, by Jen Chung in Food, Sep 6, 2016
  8. Annual Report of the State Department of Health of New York, Volume 2, page 471
  9. NY Times, Jamaica Bay: Wilderness on the Edge, By ALAN FEUER, JULY 29, 2011
  10. "Jewish Community Shrinking, But Surviving |". Canarsie Courier. 2004-12-23. Retrieved 2010-04-09.
  11., Brooklyn Beep Has More Talks About Canarsie Pier Ferry Service, By Dara Mormile, Aug. 2015
  12. Brooklyn BP proposes ferry plan to serve residents in transit deserts, January 17, 2016 by Justin Jean-Louis
  13. 1 2 Toy, Vivian S. (May 1, 2005). "A Carousel Becomes the Brass Ring". The New York Times.
  14. "Nunley's Carousel". Cradle of Aviation Museum. Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  15. Tagliaferro, Linda (Long Island, NY Expert). "Nunley's Carousel at Museum Row, Garden City, NY". Retrieved August 26, 2014.
  17. Table PL-P3A NTA: Total Population by Mutually Exclusive Race and Hispanic Origin - New York City Neighborhood Tabulation Areas*, 2010, Population Division - New York City Department of City Planning, March 29, 2011. Accessed June 14, 2016.
  18. "They Drew A Line". New York Times. March 31, 1985. Retrieved 2013-03-28. Canarsie expanded during the 1950's and became a quasi-suburban homeowner community. Since then, however, more and more of the newcomers have been escaping older Brooklyn areas as they turned into black slums
  20. Canarsie Pier Visitor information
  21. "SOUTH SHORE H.S. TO CLOSE BY 2010 - - Canarsie Courier". Retrieved 16 August 2016.
  22. "The History of the Canarsie Courier". Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  23. " - Canarsie Courier". Retrieved August 16, 2016.
  24. Black Canarsie: A History, Brooklyn Public Library. Accessed June 23, 2016. "Famed weatherman and television personality Al Roker (b. 1954), the son of Bahamian immigrants, lived part of his childhood in the Bayview Housing complex during this period. Roker would later regale that Canarsie 'epitomized the melting flavor of Brooklyn with the variety of nationalities who lived there all bonded by their lower middle-class status.'"
  25. Witchel, Alex. " COFFEE TALK WITH: Howard Schultz; By Way of Canarsie, One Large Hot Cup of Business Strategy", The New York Times, December 14, 1994. Accessed October 1, 2007. "'It's ironic that no matter where I go, I meet people from Brooklyn,' says Howard Schultz, 40, who grew up in Canarsie."
  26. Weber, Bruce (2012-01-19). "Richard J. Sheirer, Official in Charge of Sept. 11 Rescues, Dies at 65". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-02-04.
  27. Barbanel, Josh. "Preparing for Bonus Season", The New York Times, December 10, 2006. Accessed October 10, 2007. "Mr. Sliwa grew up in Canarsie, Brooklyn, and talks about also having lived in Brownsville and near Fordham Road in the South Bronx (though he lived most recently in a rental apartment in Kips Bay)."
  28. Schwarz, Alan. "Fan Exits Wall Street, and the Rays Profit", The New York Times, October 11, 2008. Accessed June 23, 2016. "Sternberg, the Tampa Bay Rays’ principal owner, finally sat down and leaned his forearms on his team’s dugout roof and finished watching his Rays lose, 2-0, to the Boston Red Sox on Friday night in the first game of the American League Championship Series. He cheered and high-fived and carped like the baseball nut he has been since growing up in the Canarsie section of Brooklyn, rooting for the Los Angeles Dodgers and abhorring the Yankees."

Further reading

External links

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