2004-07-08 / Letters/Opinion

Canarsie Museum Interest Fading


Over the past 2 years, we at the Canarsie History Museum have been attempting to implement a cultural institution by way of Museum. Unfortunately, our efforts have not been well received.

In the process, many individuals in Canarsie were contacted, including every civic association and community group, over 70 local merchants and over 2,000 people by direct mail. This does not include the many people that know of the Museum’s efforts by way of advertisements and newspaper stories.

Many people do not realize that we are under a limited time State charter and this charter will expire in less than 2 years.

Therefore, if significant support is not achieved by the end of 2004, the Museum project will have to be terminated in Canarsie. Museum volunteers have spent an enormous amount of time and thousands of dollars of their own money to accomplish this project. Funding is minimal and extremely inconsistent. The changing community has shown very little interest, while other communities outside of Flatlands have actually shown a tremendous amount of interest. Almost 85% of funding has come from outside Canarsie.

We are in the process of possibly moving the Museum to a different community that has shown more appreciation. If this happens, the Museum will also be changing its name to reflect Canarsie’s main tribe name being: Wappinger, Lenape or Delaware. The fact that the Canarsees owned all of Brooklyn and had settlements all over New York City makes the move a possibility and an accurate historical step.

It’s shameful; the neighborhood with the most historical influence in New York hasn’t had a real chance to make an impact in Brooklyn. The possibilities for Canarsie are slowly diminishing on the 70th year. anniversary of the last tourist attractions demise, things are looking very bleak. Canarsie will continue to live in Brooklyn’s shadows and will continue to only get headlines for its crimes and ridiculed schools.

We would like to thank those handful of people who have assisted, written and participated, and, more importantly, shown no selfishness in having pride in Canarsie’s classy past.

Thank you.

R. Martinez

Museum Director

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