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 Canarsie Park
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