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Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

Canarsie Park

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Canarsie Park and neighborhood take their name from the Canarsie (or Canarsee) Indians, who lived in western Long Island and were related to the Delawares. They called this area Keskachauge or Kestateuw, but the Dutch renamed it New Amersfoort soon after they settled here in the 1630s. The Canarsie Indians probably had a burial ground on the current parkland.

In 1675 Jan Martense Schenck, a Dutch immigrant, built a house in the area of New Amersfoort, on Mill Island, within the current boundaries of the park. When the British took control of the territory, the land called New Amersfoort became the Flatlands. The house consisted of two rooms, and was built as a simple box of 20 feet by 40 feet, but the family expanded the house into an L-shaped plan containing eleven rooms. It is believed that the house was either entirely refurbished or rebuilt during the 1720s.

In 1895-96 the City of Brooklyn purchased land for Canarsie Park. Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Frank Squier stated that "this [Schenck] house will be preserved, and will always be one of the Park's attractions." Fifty-seven years later the house was dismantled, removed from the park, and reassembled at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

Canarsie Park continued to grow. The park originally stretched from 93rd Street to 88th Street, and from Seaview Avenue to Skidmore Avenue. It was extended in 1934 with land from the Department of Docks, in 1938 and 1949 with parcels from the Board of Estimate. In the 1950s Parks Commissioner Robert Moses requested the transfer of land that had been used for temporary housing during World War II to expand Canarsie Park. A parcel at the corner of Fresh Creek Basin and Seaview Avenue was assigned to Parks in 1958. Most of the city parkland south of the Shore Parkway was transferred to the National Park Service for the creation of Gateway National Recreation Area. The playground at East 93rd Street and Seaview Avenue was built in 1936 and renovated in 1995-97. It was named for Joseph F. DiNapoli, a former Principal Parks Supervisor of Canarsie Park, in 1990. With its playgrounds, basketball and tennis courts, and baseball diamonds, Canarsie Park provides much recreation space for the residents of Brooklyn.

Directions to Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways

Know Before You Go

There are currently 4 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

ParkTribute Park

Due to the effects of Hurricane Sandy, this park is closed until further notice.

BeachesRockaway Beach and Boardwalk

The area of Rockaway Beach from Beach 116th Street to Beach 109th Street will be temporarily closed as the US Army Corps of Engineers begins sand moving operations. Once work begins in this area, we expect the closure to last approximately one week.

More information about the Army Corps’ work to replenish Rockaway Beach is available on their NY District website.


BeachesRockaway Beach and Boardwalk

Work is starting on the Rockaway Boardwalk Reconstruction Project. Read our April 2014 update for more information.
Anticipated Completion: Spring 2014

PlaygroundsSeba Playground

Seba Playground will be closed to reconstruct the current Seba Tot Lot into a playground for children of all ages. The new design will enlarge the toddler area by adding a custom spray shower, seating, and two new tot play units. Additional play spaces will also be added for 5 to 12 year olds, and will include a large accessible play unit, a second spray shower and seating area. These two play areas will be joined by 15 additional swings for both age groups. The site will also feature an accessible drinking fountain, attractive plantings, and a bicycle rack.
Anticipated Completion: Spring 2014

Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways Weather

  • Sun
    Sunny
    51°F
  • Mon
    Sunny
    58°F
  • Tue
    Chance Showers
    60°F
  • Wed
    Partly Sunny
    56°F

7-day forecast

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