2003-11-06 / Little Old Canarsie

The Flowers Still Bloom On Canarsie’s E. 92 St."Main Road"

John Denton
The Flowers Still Bloom On Canarsie’s E. 92 St."Main Road"

The Flowers Still Bloom On Canarsie’s E. 92 St."Main Road"

John Denton

When passing in our present time as we ride up E. 92nd St. (formerly known as Main Road) past the beautiful row of new homes and see the beautiful display of roses at the corner house of what is now standing on Ave. J, we can’t forget at this very same spot when there was no Ave J and E. 92nd St. was a dirt road leading as one of the only two outlets to get to and from the city. In the year of 1909 here on this spot was the big barn of a well known blacksmith and horseshoer Al Skidmore, with helper Sam Giles, where most of the farmers and oystermen dealers brought their horses to get new shoes put on. This was before the auto came into use. In front of the shop stood a big oak tree, where on a hot summer day we kids would stand and watch Al & Sam doing their jobs. Al would stand by the open fire and turn a handle with a bellows on to keep a red hot flame and Sam would bring a brand new pair of steel shoes on a big pair of pliers. When they were placed on an anvil to hammer into the shape of the horse’s foot, the sparks would fly all over the spot when placed on the foot of the horse you would get a good whiff of burnt hair. As they measured to fit him and as Sam or Al cut away a part of the hoof we thought this hurt the horse, but this wasn’t true, and when all four feet had new shoes on, the horse stood up very proud.

Across on the opposite corner was the well known ice cream parlor of Joe Trent, a well-known old timer of Little Old Canarsie who also was the superintendent of the new Canarsie Cemetery at Remsen Ave. and Ave. K. The old one stood in the back of Grace M.P. Church where many of the original settlers of Canarsie, which was part of the town of Flatlands were buried.

When the City of N.Y. decided to open up what is now E. 91st St. all the way from Flatlands Ave., the contractor who put the sewer through the center of this cemetery threw up with his steam shovel many parts of the remains of old times. The people protested but could not get anywhere, and when this work was finished they opened the street. During the depression in the 1930’s they used a gang of W.P.A. men to break up the tombstones and bury them except a couple of them which were moved over to the new one. As you ride down E. 91st St. now you see a fence on each side of what was the former cemetery between Church Lane and Ave. K.


The house at the corner of East 92nd Street and Avenue J stands similar to the way it did nearly a century ago.                           Charles RogersThe house at the corner of East 92nd Street and Avenue J stands similar to the way it did nearly a century ago. Charles Rogers

In the back of the church where the kids played leap-frog a terrible tragedy occurred when one of the tombstones toppled and crushed little Sam Giles who was the son of the horseshoer Sam.

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