2005-09-01 / Little Old Canarsie

When Canarsie H.S. Replaced A Power House

Little Old Canarsie
John Denton


Powerhouse at East 96th Street and Rockaway Parkway, circa 1974 — just before they tore it down and put Canarsie High School’s football field in its place.          Canarsie Historical SocietyPowerhouse at East 96th Street and Rockaway Parkway, circa 1974 — just before they tore it down and put Canarsie High School’s football field in its place. Canarsie Historical Society For many years, the late John Denton graced the pages of the Canarsie Courier with his column “Little Old Canarsie.” Born here in 1900, Mr. Denton’s knowledge of the area and memories of his life in Canarsie, from the time he was a boy until he died at the age of 85, quaintly chronicled the early history of the community, from the era when there was nothing here but dirt roads, to modern times.

So popular was Mr. Denton’s column that the Canarsie Historical Society looked upon it as a “byword” and an authentic account of the life and times of our burgeoning community from the turn of the 20th century to the present.

Periodically, we are either given or loaned old, historic photos of the life and times of the community and, where space permits, we run those pictures for your enjoyment and, hopefully, education.

We ask that if you have any old photos or written memorabilia of “little old Canarsie,” please contact us and we’ll be glad to run them. They will be returned to you.

In keeping with its popularity — and to further inform our newer readers of our quaint, vast, and most of all interesting history — we are running his thoughtful, nostalgic column, “Little Old Canarsie”

At a spot on East 95th Street, just below Ave. J, stood a power house of the B.M.T. Lines where the electric power, furnished by two large generators inside, made the Broadway elevated trains to Chambers Street able to take people who worked in the city to their destination. They were used by the Lexington Avenue line, which ran along Broadway from Eastern Parkway to a little past the Gates Avenue Station, where it turned on to Lexington Avenue to continue to Park Row over the Brooklyn Bridge.

It was a grand sound that came from the generators that every resident could hear all the time when the doors of the building were open, but when the U.S.A. got into second World War in 1941, they had to close the doors and take off the name so the enemy couldn’t bomb it.

When Canarsie High School came at Rocka-way Parkway and Avenue K, running to East 95th Street and up to Avenue J, an athletic field was needed so they tore down the power house and built a new one over around East 103rd Street and the train tracks.

At the old location is the athletic field of Can-arsie High School used for football by the Can-arsie Chiefs and also baseball and other sports.

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