2006-09-07 / Little Old Canarsie

Little Old Canarsie

1915 - And The Livin' Was Easy
John Denton

As this story begins, it will show the area as it was in Little Old Canarsie in the year 1915, when a creek ran in and alongside 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 lunches and enjoy a delicious bowl of clam chowder.

This creek was known as Steamboat Creek, which was filled in about 1921 with sand and pumped with a dredge boat from a point (where the side road is at present) 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 big wide Rockaway Parkway, from Seaview Avenue down to the Canarsie Pier, which came about in the early 1920s.

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 the Canarsie Shore, which was located at what is now Schenck Street.

It was always good to see hard-working Henry Simmons, 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 Flatlands and Flatbush streets selling a full eight quart pail for 14 cents.

Alongside of where the train pulled in was a building that housed a place you could buy all the things needed for boats, especially sails. Boats were quite an attraction on the waters of Jamaica Bay, where there were many sail boat races.

The sail maker was for many years located here. His name was Hodghson, who had a daughter who taught school at P.S. 114, at Remsen Avenue and Glenwood Road, who was my teacher in one of the classes and later she married a popular doctor on Glenwood Road, who I believe was Dr. Fedore L. Senger.

The trolley of the Wilson Avenue line came down a hill from just where a gas station is at present on the northwest corner down along what was a continuation of Rockaway Avenue (now known as St. Jude Place) and crossed the train tracks, along the big willow trees, past the white house, hotel and picnic grounds (now the home of St. Jude Chruch), then left past Grant's Carousel and Roller Coaster and the Arcadia Inn and Biggs Schooner House, then Mother Veiths 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 Street, N.Y. for a big nickel fare.

Where the creek ended, was just about where the Key Food store is now and where the train went in the yard.

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