2004-05-13 / Little Old Canarsie

Steamed Clams and Chowder Were Around Every Creek Bend

John Denton

Steamed Clams and Chowder Were Around Every Creek Bend

John Denton

Strolling along, about the year of 1916, we shall take a look at one of Canarsie’s "famous creeks which came in from Jamaica Bay at a point about where the circle of the entrance- and exits of the Belt Parkway are now. This area was all water at this time and as we follow it, we enter past the "Frank and Helen McAvoy" tied up at the dock waiting for customers 46 be taken over to Barren Island and the Rockaways. Next we pass the float of John Hitchler, then O’Connors, also, the Sellers, floats of, William and Frank and Max Casey who all rented out row boat for the fine crabbing-add fishing in the-waters of Jamaica Bay.

At this time, we pass the Carousel owned and operated by the Murphy family. In this creek were kept many boats which took parties out for Blue Fish and, weak Yish and also some others that took the ‘Various baymen out to the oyster grounds in the middle of the Bay or over to Ruffle Bar which was about 5 miles, away from the Canarsie dock.

Among some that I can remember were Capt. Louis Klee’s which was operated by son Louie and the Bevis Boys, Denman and Joe. Another boat was owned and operated by John Bogart, Sr. Also "Blue-Fish" Charlie Mayer and another by a colored man named Kelly who’’. wa’s well liked at the Shore; also’ the. Vernie S. owned by Capt, Chas Sofield.


“Steamed clams ’round the bend...” was the call along the many creeks around Canarsie at the turn of the century.“Steamed clams ’round the bend...” was the call along the many creeks around Canarsie at the turn of the century.

Can you remember a couple of horse and wagons waiting to be loaded? These were owned by John Arthur Bousley, George E.Mathews and Nicholas F. Ryder who were dealers of shellfish and were waiting for the clam diggers to come in from the days toil with their various catches of mostly steam clams or what we called soft shells to be distributed around the City to many stores and bars which gave. out clam broth and. steamed clams to their customers.

Next to the Ryder place was a machine shop owned by John Vorbeck who repaired and sold motors for the boat owners. Just past his creek took a bend for about a block in length then straight up to its bulkhead (which is where the big chain store Key Food is.) This Creek ran a long where the Shopping Center is located.

This land was all filled in around 1922 and 1923 along with old Steam Boat Creek and there wasn’t any Rockaway Parkway at the shore in.those days. It was called Rockaway Avenue and turned down the hill (Seaview Ave.) and into what is now St. Jude’s Place.

Return to top

Copyright© 2000 - 2014
Canarsie Courier Publications, Inc.
All Rights Reserved