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Caribbean Canarsie


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Latisha Kuhlman



Welcome to Canarsie, a vibrant and diverse neighborhood located in the southeastern part of Brooklyn, New York. Nestled between the beautiful Canarsie Bay and the expansive Jamaica Bay, this community offers a unique blend of natural beauty, rich history, and a thriving local culture. Whether you’re a visitor or a long-time resident, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in Canarsie.


Canarsie has a long and storied history that dates back to its early settlement in the 17th century. Originally inhabited by the Lenape Native Americans, the area was later colonized by the Dutch, who named it “Canarsie” after the tribe that once lived here. Over the years, the neighborhood has evolved from a small farming community to a bustling residential area with a rich mix of ethnicities and cultures.


The geography of Canarsie is diverse and offers plenty of opportunities for outdoor exploration. The serene Canarsie Bay is a haven for boating enthusiasts, while the nearby Gateway National Recreation Area provides ample opportunities for hiking, bird-watching, and enjoying the pristine shoreline. The neighborhood is also renowned for its beautiful parks and green spaces, providing residents and visitors with a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of city life.


Canarsie takes pride in its cultural diversity and residents from various backgrounds, creating a true melting pot of traditions and customs. The neighborhood is home to a large Caribbean community, with a significant number of residents tracing their roots back to countries like Jamaica, Haiti, and Trinidad. This cultural fusion is evident in the vibrant local cuisine, music, festivals, and annual events, which celebrate the rich heritage of the Caribbean.


In terms of the economy, Canarsie boasts a vibrant business community, with numerous locally-owned shops and services. From small boutiques to family-owned restaurants, Canarsie offers a bustling commercial district that caters to the needs and interests of its diverse population. The neighborhood is also conveniently located near major transportation hubs, making it easily accessible for both residents and visitors alike.


Education is a top priority in Canarsie, with several highly-rated schools offering a quality education to students. Public schools provide a comprehensive education, and there are also private and specialized schools available. The community actively works to support and nurture its youth, offering various afterschool programs, sports teams, and community organizations.


History of Canarsie

The history of Canarsie can be traced back to the 17th century when it was originally settled by the Lenape Native Americans. The area’s fertile land and access to the waterfront made it an ideal location for farming and trade. In 1665, Dutch colonists arrived and established the town of New Amersfoort, which would later become known as Canarsie.


During the American Revolution, Canarsie played a significant role as a strategic point for British forces. The area was occupied by British troops, and a fort, known as Fort Risteen, was constructed to defend against American attacks. After the Revolution, Canarsie experienced a period of growth, with farms flourishing and the population steadily increasing.


The mid-19th century brought significant changes to Canarsie, as several transportation improvements connected the neighborhood to the rest of Brooklyn and New York City. The establishment of the Long Island Rail Road in 1865 provided residents with a more convenient and efficient means of travel. This transportation upgrade led to the development of residential areas and a surge in population.


In the early 20th century, Canarsie underwent a wave of urbanization, with the construction of new housing and the expansion of public transportation. The opening of the Canarsie Line subway in 1906 further connected the neighborhood to the rest of Brooklyn and Manhattan, making it an attractive residential area for commuters.


During the latter half of the 20th century, Canarsie experienced demographic shifts and an influx of new residents. The neighborhood saw a significant increase in its African American and Caribbean populations. This cultural diversity has shaped Canarsie into the vibrant and diverse community it is today.


Despite the changing landscape, Canarsie has maintained a strong sense of community and pride in its history. Historic sites such as the Canarsie Cemetery and the restored Hendrick I. Lott House provide glimpses into the neighborhood’s past. The Lott House, built in 1800, is a designated New York City landmark and serves as a museum, showcasing the architectural and historical significance of Canarsie.


Today, Canarsie continues to evolve and thrive as a welcoming and vibrant community. Its rich history, diverse population, and strong sense of community make it a truly unique neighborhood within the bustling city of Brooklyn.


Geography and Climate

Situated in the southeastern part of Brooklyn, Canarsie enjoys a unique geographic location that offers a mix of coastal beauty and urban convenience. The neighborhood is bordered by the peaceful Canarsie Bay to the south and the expansive Jamaica Bay to the east. These bodies of water not only provide residents with stunning views, but also offer recreational opportunities such as boating, fishing, and kayaking.


Canarsie is known for its diverse topography, featuring both maritime and urban landscapes. Along the waterfront, residents can enjoy picturesque views of the bay and take advantage of the neighborhood’s proximity to beautiful beaches and parks. In contrast, the inland areas of Canarsie are characterized by tree-lined streets and residential neighborhoods, providing a serene and family-friendly atmosphere.


The climate in Canarsie is generally mild, with warm summers and cold winters. Summers are typically comfortable, with average temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the low 80s Fahrenheit (mid to high 20s Celsius). Winters can be chilly, with temperatures averaging in the 30s and occasional snowfall. Spring and autumn bring pleasant temperatures, making it an ideal time to explore the neighborhood’s outdoor attractions.


Canarsie, like the rest of New York City, experiences humidity and precipitation throughout the year. The summer months tend to be more humid, while rainfall is evenly distributed throughout the year. Be sure to pack appropriate clothing for your visit, including light layers and waterproof gear.


One of the main geographical attractions in Canarsie is the Gateway National Recreation Area, which is part of the larger Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge. This urban oasis is home to a diverse range of plants and animals, making it a popular spot for birdwatchers and nature enthusiasts. Visitors can explore the various walking trails, go boating, or simply enjoy the beautiful surroundings.


Overall, the geography and climate of Canarsie provide a unique and appealing backdrop for residents and visitors alike. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures or a peaceful retreat, this neighborhood offers a diverse range of natural landscapes to explore and enjoy.


Cultural Diversity in Canarsie

Canarsie is a melting pot of cultures and ethnicities, known for its vibrant and diverse community. With a rich history of immigration, the neighborhood has become home to a wide range of cultures, customs, and traditions.


One of the prominent cultural influences in Canarsie is the Caribbean community. The neighborhood has a significant population of residents with roots in countries such as Jamaica, Haiti, Trinidad, and Guyana. The vibrant Caribbean culture is palpable in Canarsie, with local businesses, restaurants, and music showcasing the flavors and rhythms of the islands.


When it comes to food, Canarsie offers a tantalizing array of culinary delights. Caribbean cuisine takes center stage, with mouthwatering dishes like jerk chicken, curry goat, and oxtail stew that reflect the flavors of the Caribbean. Additionally, you can find a variety of international eateries, including Latin American, Mediterranean, and Asian restaurants.


Along with its diverse culinary scene, Canarsie embraces cultural celebrations and events throughout the year. The Caribbean Carnival, held annually in late summer, is a highlight of the neighborhood. The streets come alive with colorful costumes, music, and dance, celebrating the vibrant Caribbean heritage. This lively festival attracts thousands of visitors from across the city.


The cultural diversity in Canarsie extends beyond the Caribbean community. The neighborhood is also home to a significant African American community, which has played a crucial role in shaping the neighborhood’s character and history. The African American influence is evident in the local music, art, and community organizations.


In recent years, Canarsie has seen an increase in other ethnic communities as well, including South Asian, Hispanic, and Eastern European populations. This diversity is celebrated with various cultural festivals, such as Diwali, Hispanic Heritage Month, and Eastern European celebrations.


Canarsie is also a place where different religious traditions thrive. Houses of worship representing various faiths can be found throughout the neighborhood, including churches, mosques, synagogues, and temples. This diversity contributes to the vibrant tapestry of cultural and spiritual life in Canarsie.


Overall, the cultural diversity in Canarsie is one of its greatest assets. The neighborhood’s residents take great pride in their heritage and actively participate in preserving their traditions while embracing the multicultural spirit that makes Canarsie a truly unique and vibrant community.


Economy and Business

Canarsie boasts a thriving economy with a diverse range of businesses that cater to the needs and interests of its residents. The neighborhood’s commercial district is a bustling hub of activity, offering a variety of shops, restaurants, and services.


Locally-owned and operated businesses are a prominent feature of Canarsie’s economy. These small businesses contribute to the neighborhood’s unique character and provide a personalized shopping experience for residents. From boutique clothing stores to specialty food shops, Canarsie offers a wide selection of goods and services.


The Canarsie Plaza Shopping Center, located at the intersection of Flatlands Avenue and Remsen Avenue, is a popular destination for locals. This outdoor shopping center features major retail chains, supermarkets, and restaurants, providing convenient access to a variety of products and dining options.


In addition to retail establishments, Canarsie is home to a number of professional services. Local lawyers, accountants, and real estate agents are readily available to serve the community. The neighborhood also has a strong healthcare sector, with medical clinics, dental offices, and specialty practices catering to the diverse healthcare needs of residents.


The food scene in Canarsie is diverse and exciting, offering an array of options for both residents and visitors. Along Rockaway Parkway and Avenue L, you can find a wide range of culinary choices, including Caribbean, Italian, Chinese, and soul food restaurants. Whether you’re in the mood for a casual bite or a fine dining experience, Canarsie has something to satisfy every palate.


Canarsie also benefits from its proximity to major transportation arteries, such as the Belt Parkway and the Canarsie Line subway. This accessibility attracts businesses to the neighborhood, as it provides convenient transportation options for commuting workers and customers from other parts of Brooklyn and beyond.


The entrepreneurial spirit is strong in Canarsie, with many local residents starting their own businesses. Whether it’s through boutique shops, home-based services, or online ventures, Canarsie’s residents contribute to the local economy by creating jobs and providing innovative products and services.


Community support plays a significant role in sustaining the economic growth of Canarsie. Local organizations, such as the Canarsie Business Improvement District (CBID), work to promote and enhance the neighborhood’s commercial district. They collaborate with local businesses, organize events, and implement initiatives to foster a vibrant and thriving business community.


Overall, the economy of Canarsie is diverse, resilient, and driven by local entrepreneurship. From small, family-run establishments to major retail centers, the neighborhood offers a wide range of opportunities for shopping, dining, and professional services.


Education and Schools

Canarsie is committed to providing a high-quality education to its residents, with a variety of schools that cater to students of all ages. From early childhood education to higher learning institutions, the neighborhood offers a range of educational opportunities.


The New York City Department of Education oversees the public school system in Canarsie, ensuring that students receive a well-rounded education. Canarsie is home to several public elementary, middle, and high schools, including P.S. 115 Daniel Mucatel School, I.S. 68 Isaac Bildersee Middle School, and South Shore High School. These schools offer diverse academic programs, extracurricular activities, and clubs, providing students with a well-rounded educational experience.


In addition to public schools, Canarsie is home to a variety of private and parochial schools. These institutions offer a more specialized approach to education, often with smaller class sizes and unique curriculum options. Some notable private schools in the neighborhood include Our Lady of Trust Catholic Academy and Yeshiva Kesser Torah.


Canarsie also prides itself on providing educational opportunities for early childhood development. The neighborhood is home to several reputable daycare centers and preschools, offering a nurturing environment for young children to learn and grow.


Higher education options are readily accessible for residents of Canarsie. Nearby Brooklyn College, part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, offers a wide range of undergraduate and graduate programs across various fields of study. The college provides local residents with the opportunity to pursue higher education without having to travel far from home.


The community actively supports and encourages its students to excel academically. Canarsie hosts various programs and initiatives designed to supplement classroom learning and provide additional resources for students. These include after-school programs, tutoring services, college preparation workshops, and scholarship opportunities.


Furthermore, community organizations and local businesses often collaborate with schools to provide mentorship programs, career guidance, and internship opportunities to students. These partnerships allow students to gain real-world experience and connections in their desired fields.


Canarsie takes pride in its commitment to education and the success of its students. The neighborhood’s schools, educators, and supportive community create an environment that fosters academic growth, personal development, and lifelong learning.


Recreational Activities and Parks

Canarsie offers a plethora of recreational activities and beautiful parks, making it an ideal neighborhood for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. Whether you enjoy sports, leisurely strolls, or simply enjoying nature’s beauty, Canarsie has something for everyone.


One of the neighborhood’s prominent outdoor destinations is the Gateway National Recreation Area, which encompasses a vast area of beaches, marshes, and wildlife habitats. Located along the Jamaica Bay shoreline, this urban oasis offers a wide range of recreational opportunities. Visitors can explore walking and biking trails, go bird-watching, have a picnic, or simply relax on the sandy beaches.


Canarsie Park, located near the center of the neighborhood, is a local favorite for outdoor activities. This sprawling park offers multiple playgrounds, basketball courts, baseball fields, and a soccer field, providing ample space for sports enthusiasts of all ages. The park also has a skate park, perfect for skateboarders and BMX riders to practice their skills.


If you’re a boating enthusiast, Canarsie Bay is the place to be. The calm waters of the bay are perfect for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding. Launching ramps and marinas are available for boat owners, making it easy to explore the bay and nearby waterways.


For those looking to stay active and fit, Canarsie has several fitness centers and gyms where you can engage in a variety of workout routines. From yoga studios to traditional gym facilities, residents have plenty of options to choose from to maintain their physical fitness.


Canarsie’s commitment to green spaces is further highlighted by the presence of smaller neighborhood parks. These parks, such as Paerdegat Park and Canarsie Beach Park, offer green spaces and walking paths where residents can enjoy a leisurely stroll or have a quiet picnic with family and friends.


Canarsie also hosts various community events and outdoor festivals throughout the year. These events bring residents together, providing opportunities to socialize, enjoy local food and music, and partake in activities for all ages. The Caribbean Carnival, mentioned earlier, is one of the neighborhood’s most anticipated events, drawing large crowds for a day of celebration and entertainment.


The neighborhood’s dedication to recreational activities and outdoor spaces not only promotes physical well-being but also fosters a sense of community. Residents come together to enjoy the parks, engage in sports, and participate in events, creating a vibrant and active neighborhood.


Transportation in Canarsie

Canarsie benefits from its strategic location, with various transportation options that make it easily accessible for residents and visitors alike. Whether you prefer public transportation or driving, getting to and around Canarsie is a breeze.


The Canarsie Line, part of the New York City Subway system, is one of the primary modes of transportation in the neighborhood. The L train, which runs along 14th Street in Manhattan and crosses into Brooklyn, offers a direct connection to Canarsie. With several subway stations throughout the neighborhood, residents have convenient access to other parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan.


In addition to the subway, bus routes also serve Canarsie, providing reliable transportation to surrounding neighborhoods. Local bus lines, such as the B6, B17, and B103, connect Canarsie to nearby areas, including Flatlands, East New York, and Brownsville. Express bus service is available for commuters heading to Manhattan, offering a convenient option for those who work in the city.


Canarsie’s proximity to major highways, such as the Belt Parkway and the Jackie Robinson Parkway, makes it easily accessible by car. Commuters can easily reach other parts of Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. Parking spaces are available throughout the neighborhood, although it’s advised to be mindful of parking regulations and restrictions.


Cycling enthusiasts will appreciate Canarsie’s bike-friendly infrastructure. The neighborhood offers bike lanes and designated paths, providing a safe and convenient way to navigate the area on two wheels. Biking is not only a great way to get around but also allows for exploring the nearby parks and waterfront.


For those traveling from outside the city or needing to catch a flight, the John F. Kennedy International Airport is approximately a 20-minute drive from Canarsie. The airport can also be reached by public transportation, with various options including buses and the AirTrain JFK.


Accessibility is a priority in Canarsie, with the neighborhood constantly striving to enhance transportation options for its residents. This commitment is evident in the multiple modes of transportation available, ensuring that getting in and out of Canarsie is convenient and hassle-free.


Residential Housing in Canarsie

Canarsie offers a diverse range of residential housing options, making it an appealing neighborhood for individuals and families looking for a place to call home. From single-family houses to apartment complexes, Canarsie provides a variety of housing styles to suit different tastes and needs.


The neighborhood is characterized by tree-lined streets and well-maintained homes. Many of the houses in Canarsie are single- or multi-family residences, offering spacious layouts and private outdoor spaces. These homes often feature backyard spaces, ideal for families with children or those who enjoy gardening and outdoor activities.


Several housing developments are also present in Canarsie, providing residents with apartment living options. These complexes offer a range of amenities, including fitness centers, laundry facilities, and communal outdoor spaces. The diversity of housing in these developments allows for a mix of residents, including families, young professionals, and retirees.


Canarsie’s popularity as a residential neighborhood is due in part to its relatively affordable housing options compared to other parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. This affordability, coupled with its convenient location and access to amenities, makes Canarsie an attractive choice for those seeking a residential area with a suburban feel.


One notable feature of Canarsie is the presence of waterfront properties. Homes along Canarsie Bay offer unparalleled views and a serene waterfront lifestyle. Residents of these waterfront properties can enjoy breathtaking sunsets, boating opportunities, and a tranquil atmosphere that is unique to the neighborhood.


The residential housing in Canarsie is complemented by a sense of community and a strong neighborhood spirit. Residents take pride in their homes and actively engage in maintaining the cleanliness and beauty of the neighborhood. The Canarsie Improvement Association and other community organizations work to promote community pride and involvement, further enhancing the residential experience in Canarsie.


Furthermore, the neighborhood is home to a variety of services and amenities that cater to the needs of its residents. Grocery stores, shopping centers, healthcare facilities, and schools are conveniently located within the neighborhood, providing residents with easy access to essential services and everyday conveniences.


Whether you’re looking for a spacious house with a backyard or a modern apartment complex, Canarsie offers a diverse range of residential housing options that cater to different lifestyles and preferences. With its strong sense of community and affordable housing, Canarsie is a welcoming and attractive neighborhood for those looking to put down roots in Brooklyn.


Community Organizations and Events

Community engagement and a sense of belonging are at the heart of Canarsie, with various organizations and events that bring residents together and foster a strong neighborhood spirit. These community organizations work tirelessly to enhance the quality of life in Canarsie, providing valuable resources, support, and organizing events that celebrate the neighborhood’s diversity and culture.


The Canarsie Improvement Association (CIA) is one such organization that plays a pivotal role in the community. The CIA works diligently to address the concerns and needs of Canarsie residents, advocating for improvements in areas such as education, transportation, and public safety. They organize regular town hall meetings, where residents can voice their opinions and engage in discussions about issues affecting the neighborhood.


Events in Canarsie are a blend of cultural celebrations, outdoor festivals, and community gatherings. The annual Caribbean Carnival is a highly anticipated event that celebrates the vibrant Caribbean heritage of Canarsie. It attracts performers, food vendors, and participants from all walks of life who come together to enjoy the music, dance, and cuisine that showcase the rich culture and diversity of the neighborhood.


Canarsie also hosts other community events, such as street fairs, farmers markets, and holiday celebrations. These events serve as valuable opportunities for local businesses and artisans to showcase their products and talents. They also provide a chance for residents to come together, strengthen community bonds, and support the local economy.


Community service and volunteerism play a crucial role in Canarsie, with residents actively involved in initiatives aimed at improving the neighborhood. The Canarsie Community Cleanup Day, for example, brings together volunteers of all ages to clean up public spaces and beautify the neighborhood. This collaborative effort not only enhances the aesthetics of the community but also promotes a sense of pride and ownership among the residents.


Community organizations in Canarsie also provide valuable services and support to residents. The Canarsie Adult Day Care Center, for instance, offers social activities and health-related programs for senior citizens, promoting active and healthy aging. Additionally, the Canarsie Youth Soccer Club and other sports organizations provide opportunities for local children to engage in athletic activities and develop teamwork and leadership skills.


The Canarsie History and Arts Society is another notable community organization that showcases the neighborhood’s rich history and artistic talents. Through exhibitions, workshops, and educational programs, the society works to preserve and promote Canarsie’s cultural heritage and artistic endeavors.


Overall, the presence of community organizations and events creates a sense of unity and pride among Canarsie residents. The active engagement and participation of the community contribute to the continued growth and vibrancy of the neighborhood, making Canarsie a welcoming and closely connected community.



Canarsie, a neighborhood nestled in the southeastern part of Brooklyn, offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and a thriving community spirit. From its rich history to its vibrant events, there is something for everyone in Canarsie.


The neighborhood’s history is rooted in its early settlement by the Lenape Native Americans and subsequent Dutch colonization. Over the years, Canarsie has evolved into a bustling residential area, attracting a diverse population and fostering a strong sense of community.


Canarsie’s geography and climate add to its allure, with the beautiful Canarsie Bay and Jamaica Bay offering stunning views and numerous recreational activities. Residents can enjoy boating, fishing, hiking, and bird-watching in the many parks and green spaces that dot the neighborhood.


The cultural diversity of Canarsie is a true reflection of its residents, with a vibrant Caribbean community adding a unique flavor to the neighborhood’s cuisine, music, and festivals. Alongside the Caribbean influence, Canarsie is home to a diverse range of cultures, creating a rich tapestry of traditions and customs.


The local economy benefits from a mix of small, locally-owned businesses and larger retail centers, ensuring that residents have access to a wide range of goods, services, and job opportunities. The neighborhood’s commitment to education is evident in its numerous schools, both public and private, that provide a high-quality education to students of all ages.


Canarsie’s recreational activities and parks offer residents and visitors a chance to enjoy the great outdoors. Whether it’s exploring the Gateway National Recreation Area, engaging in sports at Canarsie Park, or simply taking a leisurely stroll in the neighborhood’s green spaces, there are plenty of opportunities to stay active and embrace nature.


Transportation in Canarsie is convenient, with accessible subway and bus lines connecting the neighborhood to other parts of Brooklyn and Manhattan. Furthermore, the presence of major highways makes commuting by car a viable option.


Residential housing options in Canarsie are diverse, offering a mix of single-family houses, apartment complexes, and waterfront properties. The affordability and strong community spirit make Canarsie an attractive place to call home.


Community organizations and events play a vital role in fostering a sense of belonging and connection among Canarsie residents. Through their efforts, the neighborhood thrives with activities, support services, and opportunities for residents to come together and celebrate their shared interests.


In conclusion, Canarsie is a vibrant and inclusive neighborhood that offers a unique blend of natural beauty, cultural diversity, and a strong sense of community. Whether you’re exploring the parks, enjoying the festivities, or engaging with local businesses, Canarsie welcomes you with open arms.