Come see Canarsie, before or after the L-pocalypse starts
Eye on Real Estate
The L-pocalypse is coming. Oy vey.
There’s something Brooklynites should keep in mind amid the planning for mitigative measures to deal with L-maggedon, as the looming L train line shutdown is also called.
When the rightfully dreaded 15-month closing of the train between Williamsburg and the West Village commences next April, the hexed, vexing subway line will keep operating within our borough.
You’ll still be able to ride it to various fascinating Brooklyn neighborhoods.
We’ve decided to show you some of them. It would be nice if Brooklynites visit them next year when day-trippers from Manhattan are likely to be in short supply.
As our first destination, we chose Canarsie.
The other day, we rode the rails to the Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway stop, which is located at the very end of the L line.
We love Canarsie.
It’s not a posh place. It is neither a brownstone neighborhood nor a hipster haven.
But the Eastern Brooklyn neighborhood is full of eye-catching 19th-century churches and beautiful old houses.
It has Canarsie Pier, which is part of the Gateway National Park Recreational Area.
The pier, which juts into glittering Jamaica Bay, is a prime fishing spot. People picnic there, too, on a tree-shaded snippet of the shoreline.
You can get to the pier by walking down Rockaway Parkway from the subway station. You access the pier via an underpass with sidewalks beneath the Belt Parkway.
A log cabin and historic churches
Once you’ve gotten an eyeful of the picturesque pier, you should go see Canarsie’s log cabin. It’s a little odd, and very charming.
It’s on the corner of East 93rd Street and Flatlands Ave.
This log cabin isn’t some vestige of Brooklyn’s very, very distant past. Brooklyn’s surviving 17th- and 18th-century farmhouses are clad in shingles or clapboard and have swooping roofs. They don’t look remotely like the eye-popping log cabin at 9301 Flatlands Avenue.
It was constructed in the 1930s. Back in the day, it was an ice cream parlor and luncheonette.
It is now a Fillmore Real Estate office.
* The nifty log cabin shares the block with Canarsie Community Reformed Church.
The date inscribed over the front door of this house of worship is 1876. It’s clad in white clapboard and has a picturesque steeple.
Its address is 76 Conklin Ave.
At the time of its founding by the Rev. John Conrad Dickhaut, it was known as the Flatlands German Evangelical Church, a posting by nycago.org says.
* Also on Flatlands Avenue, at the intersection of Rockaway Parkway, stately yellow-brick Holy Family Roman Catholic Church stands. It was constructed in 1950.
Outdoor statues of Jesus, Mary and Joseph were dedicated in 1936.
The parish was established in 1880.
* There are two historic churches on the same Canarsie street.
St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church at 1187 East 92nd St., another classic white clapboard church with a steeple, dates back to 1879.
* Methodist Protestant Church, established in 1839, was long known as Grace Protestant Church. This big, beautiful house of worship at 1288 East 92nd St. now serves a non-denominational congregation and is called the Church @ the Rock.
‘Pigs’ corner’ and other back streets
European settlement in Canarsie dates back to the 1600s, when the area was part of Flatlands.
Nevertheless, a lot of Canarsie’s development occurred in recent decades. According to Kenneth Jackson and John Manbeck’s indispensable book “The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn,” there were truck farms in the area all the way into the 1950s.
During our stroll, we noticed lots of apple trees in people’s yards, which made us think of the farms that were there not too long ago.
* Our favorite houses in Canarsie are the older ones. Some pretty ones can be found on Glenwood Road and blocks near it in the East 90s and East 80s and on Remsen Avenue.
* Our favorite Canarsie street name is Varkens Hook Road. An entrance to it is marked by street signs near the corner of Farragut Road and East 87th Street.
A posting on the Fading Ad Blog says “varken” means “pig” in Dutch and “hook” is an English adaptation of “hoek,” the Dutch word for “corner.”
The neighborhood’s various back streets are lined with charming old houses.
* For instance, Beach Place is a pedestrian-only pathway that’s parallel to Avenue L and runs between East 88th and East 89th streets.
* Several shortie streets have entrances on or near Canarsie Road, which is smack in the middle of the neighborhood south of Avenue M.
You’ll find Schenck Place, Matthews Place, Rost Place and Kaufman Place.