2005-12-29 / Little Old Canarsie

When Golden City Buildings Burned Down

Little Old Canarsie
John Denton

On a bitter cold, morning in about 1934, when the temperature hit around zero, we witnessed a terrific fire down at the Shore just outside Golden City Amusement Park. At the corner of Rockaway Avenue and Schenck Avenue (now known as Canarsie Road and Schenck Street) there stood a frame hotel and upstairs living quarters known for many years as “Mother Faith’s” where many folks came from Ridgewood, Williamsburgh and the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, to spend the day and drink the large schooner glasses of Trommers Malt Beer. During this period, the place was owned and operated by “Pop Wissmeir” who was well known at the Shore. Next door to this was the large frame building, which was known for years as Whitakers Cabaret and Music Hall and after the Whitaker family moved out to Long Island, it was taken over and run by Mike Manno, who was one of the first “Italian families” to settle here in Little Old Canarsie, and was well known all over town.

When that blaze was at its height with the brave firefighters from good old Engine 257 and many others called in before they had it under control, there were many frost bitten hands. As the lines were coated with ice and good old Mother Faith’s building was practically all burned down; also the Historic Shore Inn went along with it and just a part of the Roller Coaster Ride at the entrance to Golden City Park. After the fire, Pop Wissmeir had a new red shingle one-story new building erected and Mike Manno a new brick which he named “The Fireside Tavern” where many enjoyed the singing waiters who worked there.

All of a sudden the music stopped in the Golden City midway.      Canarsie Historical Soc.All of a sudden the music stopped in the Golden City midway. Canarsie Historical Soc. There was Mike Cassata, Fifi Cassata, Artie Hevwig, Abe (Boozy) Abramowitz, Teddy Cardello, John Cassata and a couple more I can’t recall. About a year after the fire, when Pop Wissmeir was doing a terrific business, the court decision was handed down in favor of Mike Manno who had a case against Pop Wissmeir that he had a new oil burner put in, and was not supposed to light until passed by the Fire Underwriters, since the Fire Dept. Chief had said that was the cause of the fire.

Whatever it was, the place was taken over and renamed the “Oasis” by Mike, who ran it until it was closed after Golden City was torn down to make room for the Belt Parkway. Pop Wissmeir took over a place on the corner of East 93rd Street and Schenck Ave. which was an old landmark at one time managed by James V. Davis but the location at this time was not so good and people would not walk back to it and so Pop Wissmeir wound up as the manager of the “Barbary Coast” which was formerly the “Husman Music Hall” just outside the last stop of the elevated line at Canarsie Shore.

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