2005-08-11 / Little Old Canarsie

“Steamboat Creek,” Canarsie, U.S.A.

Little Old Canarsie
John Denton


This photo from the Ray Luck collection shows the grouping of boats near the Marine Boat Shop on Steamboat Creek, circa 1915. The creek ran into where the shopping center is now, around Schenck Street.
This photo from the Ray Luck collection shows the grouping of boats near the Marine Boat Shop on Steamboat Creek, circa 1915. The creek ran into where the shopping center is now, around Schenck Street. As this story begins, it will show the area as it was in Little Old Canarsie in the year of 1915, when a creek ran along in and along side of the Murphy Merry-Go-Round, past Boegels Dance Hall, then Rigby’s Cabaret, then Schieliens and last Rose Victors, where families sat on the open porch to eat their own lunches and enjoy a bowl of clam chowder.

This creek was known as Steamboat Creek, which was filled in about 1921 with sand pumped in with a dredge boat from a point (where the side road is at present) to go west on the Belt Parkway along this creek bed you now have the shopping center, with (what once was) the Seaview movies and all the various stores all along with the big wide Rockaway Parkway, from Seaview Ave. down to the Canarsie Pier, which came about in the early 1920’s.

At the end of the creek were all the boats, with the Marine Boat Shop of John Vorbeck, who repaired the engines of all the boats when needed. At a distance was seen the Flagman shanty, where you were warned when a train was coming in or out of the yard alongside the high-wire fence to get to the station at Canarsie Shore, which was located at what is now Schenck St.

It was always good to see a man who was very popular in those days loading up his horse and wagon with black mussels, which he called black- diamonds, and the next day, he would go all through the Flatlands and Flatbush Streets selling for ten cents an 8 qt. pail full. He was a hard working black man, Mr. Henry Simmons.

Alongside of where the train pulled in, was a building which housed a place you could buy all the things needed for boats, especially sails, which boats were quite an attraction on the waters of Jamaica Bay. The sail maker was for many years located here. His name was Hodgh-son, who had a daughter who taught school in P.S. 114.

The trolley of the Wilson Ave line came down a hill from just where a gas station is at present on the N.W. corner down along what was a continuation of Rockaway Ave. (now the home of St. Jude Church), then left past Grant’s Carousel and Roller Coaster and the Arcadia Inn and Biggs Schooner House, then Mother Vieths and Whitakers to turn around a circle just on the outside of Golden City Amusement Park to go back again all the way to Delancy St., N.Y. for a big nickel fare.

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