When all the land west of what is now Remsen and Flatlands avenues was a dirt road, about as wide as East 92nd Street, there were just 25 homes from Church Lane to what is now Bedell Lane, formerly Canarsie Lane.
This land only reached west to what is now East 82nd Street and was about 5 or 6 feet lower than now. After that was the meadowland all the way to Utica Avenue, except the creek running through at the time, now known as Paerdegat Basin at its present width. But in those days it was Bedford's Creek.
In the early teens, some of the families living in this area were the Johnsons, and Edward Rowland, our Republican leader.
The Phil Millers, the Sandborns, the John J. McLaughlin Family, the Fisher Family, the Buttiman Family, the Cole Family, Pastor Hull of Grace M.P. Church, in the parsonage that once stood on East 92 Street, next to the church and was moved down to Church Lane across from Staub's Florist, which was next to the Canarsie cemetery.
In those days, you could travel on Church Lane, which was known on the city maps as the road to Lott's House. As far as what is now known as East 84th Street, where it then was known as Varken Hook's Road, which continued through the woods up to Canarsie Lane, where it went past the Schenck-Lotts House under the sharp turn at East 85 Street, under the arch of the Long Island Railroad tracks, to let anyone who wished to get to the city as there were only two outlets those days. The other was Rockaway Avenue.
These were bought by fine Italian families from East New York and Williamsburg, who put up homes on the grade which was there at the time and all the area became known as Little Italy, where they raised large families and had their little farms to plant all the vegetables they needed as these men worked very hard and had only weekends to cultivate their farms.
Among the early settlers were the Puma family, Pollari family, Frank the iceman), Tassielo family, the (Butchers) Stabile family, the Bongiornos family, the LaFeminas who had a large family, the Padovano family, the Fiero family, the Speciale's family, the LoPiccolos family, Gentile family, the Picones, the Fazios, the DiBenedetti family, the Maltese family, the Jimmy Galati family, and one hard working family man I can almost never forget who worked on the City of New York Sanitation and kept Avenue L from Remsen Avenue to Rockaway Parkway as clean as a whistle with his large broom during the years from 1927 until he retired.
He raised a large family and had two of his sons open a gas station and repairs on Flatlands Avenue. Tom and Mike Pulese of the well known Pulese family.