Escape from Hipsterville on the L train to Canarsie: Part One

Eye On Real Estate

April 15, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to Canarsie, where the architectural eye candy includes the Church @ the Rock. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan
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Everybody needs a break from Hipsterville once in a while.

So Hipsters, take heed: When Billyburg gets to be a bit much, the L train offers an excellent escape — and we don’t mean a ride to the East Village.

Try taking the Hipster Express (as the Urban Dictionary calls it) to the end of the line in Brooklyn — the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway stop.

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The trip from Williamsburg’s Bedford Avenue station is just 27 minutes long.

If you’ve been yearning for a change of scenery but don’t have the time or cash for a trip to Coachella, visiting a neighborhood that’s new to you is a quick and entertaining way to clear your head.

If you visit Canarsie, you will find a neighborhood with eye-catching old homes, churches and even an American Legion Memorial — plus block after block of ranch houses with lawns like you’d see in a Midwestern suburb.

But there’s nothing Midwestern-looking about Canarsie Pier, where you can while away the afternoon listening to the waters of Jamaica Bay “lapping with low sounds by the shore,” to borrow a line from one of our favorite poets, Yeats.

Canarsie took a beating from the foreclosure crisis a couple years ago — and was hard hit by Hurricane Sandy. But you can sense the neighborhood’s resilience as you walk its streets, and see landlords renovating storefronts and homeowners shaping up their gardens for spring.

We love Williamsburg with an enthusiasm you wouldn’t expect from someone in our (advanced) age bracket. If we could devote our days to doing nothing but eating lunch at Marlow & Sons and going to the movies at Nitehawk Cinema, we would consider our life well spent.

Even so, we imagine it must be wearying to inhabit Hipsterville 24/7, month after month, without an occasional respite.

Here are some of the places you should check out during your escape to Canarsie.


Coconut rolls and a log cabin

* The Jerry Building at 1397 Rockaway Parkway is a distinctive-looking old retail building in a prime location next to the L train station. It is worthy of notice because of who owns it.

City Finance Department and Buildings Department records identify Solil Management as the Jerry Building’s landlord. Solil Management is run by the children of the late Sol Goldman, who was a famed New York real estate investor. In 2013, the firm’s Manhattan holdings were estimated to be worth around $6 billion, according to The Real Deal.

* The fire station for FDNY Engine 257/Ladder 170 at 1361 Rockaway Parkway is a red-brick beauty with a tower and windows with stone eyebrows above them.

* At Tastee Pattee at 1431 Rockaway Parkway, you can fortify yourself with a cup of tea and a slice of coconut roll before you really start walking in earnest.

* The coolest house in Canarsie, or certainly a strong candidate for that honor, is at 9527 Glenwood Road. The dignified Victorian home with terrific old trees in the yard belongs to Florence Ippolito, city Finance Department records indicate.

* Another home we really like is 9220 Avenue K, a big, old-fashioned green shingle house on the corner of E. 93rd Street. The ornamental ironwork on the porch is painted to look like a trellis with flowers all over it.

The house belongs to Francesca and Pierre Louis Thevenin, city Finance Department records show.

* Canarsie’s coolest church is the Canarsie Community Reformed Church at 76 Conklin Ave. The graceful structure with a tall spire looks like an illustration in a picture book about 19th Century New England.

* Across the street, there’s a surprising sight in the back yard of the house at 75 Conklin Ave.: Pigeon coops filled with fine feathered friends. According to the Canarsie Courier, various members of the Scott family have been caring for pigeons since the 1940s.

A family member owns the house, city Finance Department records indicate.

* Another eye-catching house of worship is the massive but graceful Church @ the Rock at 1280 E. 92nd St.

* The American Legion Memorial, which we mentioned earlier, is nearby at 1130 E. 92nd St. The graceful brick building looks a little like a palazzo. The date on the cornerstone is 1928.

* Another house of worship that’s worthy of mention is Holy Family Roman Catholic Church at 9719 Flatlands Ave., which is built of golden brick. The date on the cornerstone is 1950. The parish was founded in 1880.

* Another piece of architectural eye candy on this avenue is the Charles Vanderveer House at 10620 Flatlands Ave. It was built in 1829, according to the always astute website Forgotten New York.

The house belongs to Olga Thomas, city Finance Department records indicate. A marketing firm called IMC Media Group is a tenant.


 Want to know more? See Part Two of this story.

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