NYC Resources311Office of the Mayor

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 2 service interruptions affecting access within this park.

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.

BeachesRockaway Beach and Boardwalk

The United States Army Corps of Engineers has resumed pumping sand onto Rockaway Beach in efforts to repair and restore the beach. Access to the beach area from Beach 61st Street to Beach 19th Street may be limited while the pumping operation continues. The Corps expects sand placement work to be completed by the end of October, weather permitting. Swimming is not permitted at Rockaway Beach, or any NYC beach, after Labor Day. Please visit the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ website for more information.

Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways Weather

  • Thu
    Rain Likely
    57°F
  • Fri
    Mostly Cloudy
    66°F
  • Sat
    Mostly Sunny
    67°F
  • Sun
    Breezy
    61°F

7-day forecast

Was this information helpful?