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Canarsie, Brooklyn offers suburban feel in New York City

On the eastern edge of Brooklyn, Canarsie is a quiet destination for families who want more outdoor space than most city neighborhoods offer.

The West Indian enclave boasts waterfront along the Jamaica Bay, a bustling pier, large park spaces and the 42-acre salt marsh at the Fresh Creek Nature Preserve. Canarsie residents have easy access to bird watching, fishing and boating.

“People go have BBQs in the summertime, go fishing, go relax [by the water],” said Amie Trail, a 20-year resident and manager at Bamboo Tavern on Rockaway Parkway.

It’s easy to forget you’re in New York City while walking the quiet, tree-lined streets in Canarsie, where neighbors hang out in their yards or on their stoops.

“It’s kind of a good neighborhood for people trying to escape the city,” said Jamaal Davis, 25, a licensed real estate salesperson with Citi Habitats who grew up in Canarsie and sells properties in the area.

While there are some apartment buildings in the northwestern part of Canarsie, it’s predominantly single- and multi-family homes, giving the nabe a suburban atmosphere.

And though some chain stores and restaurants have opened in recent years, such as a Dunkin’ Donuts and Subway at Canarsie Plaza on Avenue D, small businesses still thrive here.

Jamaican bakeries and Caribbean restaurants like Silver Krust West Indian on Avenue A and De Islands on Flatlands Avenue are longtime staples.

“It still kind of has a Long Island-feel [or] a country-feel, just because a lot of the houses have lawns and driveways,” Davis said of Canarsie.

In Canarsie, homes from East 105th to East 108th streets offer the most backyard space and privacy.

Because most houses are detached or semidetached, the area has a different residential real estate market than other parts of Brooklyn, like Clinton Hill or Bedford-Stuyvesant, where townhomes are more common.

The median sales price for homes in Canarsie in 2015 was $375,180, according to the real estate listings site StreetEasy.

Rentals are less common in the area — however, the median rent price in Canarsie in 2015 was $1,750, StreetEasy found.

Though prices in the area are often less expensive than other parts of Brooklyn, some new residents are deterred by Canarsie’s limited train access. The large neighborhood only has two train stations, the L at Rockaway Parkway and East 105th Street, so many residents rely on buses and cars.

And while it’s great for outdoor activities, living near the water can also have drawbacks — namely the possibility of water damage during storms.

“Whenever there’s a big flood, I worry about my house,” said Andrae Riley, 38, a financial analyst at NYC Health + Hospitals, who’s lived in Canarsie for nine years.

But many locals said the waterfront is mostly a perk.

“There’s nothing better on a summer day than going down to the Canarsie Pier and fishing off of it,” said Frank Seddio, 69, the chairman of the Brooklyn Democratic Party and lifelong resident who is often called Mr. Canarsie. “The water access makes it that much better to spend the summer [here].”

Find it:

Canarsie is bordered to the northeast by Williams Avenue and Fresh Creek. It is bound to the northwest by Linden Boulevard and to the southwest by Ralph Avenue and the Paerdegat Basin. Its southeast boundary is the Belt Parkway.

Canarsie restaurants

Richard's Diner9606 Ave. LNot your typical diner, Richard's
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Richard's Diner

9606 Ave. L

Not your typical diner, Richard's serves Caribbean classics like jerk chicken, curry goat and oxtail.


Armando's Pizza

1413 Rockaway Pkwy.

Whether you're in the mood for a slice of pizza, a whole pie, garlic knots or a meatball sandwich, Armando's has Italian take-out covered.


1574 Ralph Ave.

This casual West Indian restaurant offers goat curry, fried chicken and other traditional Caribbean dishes along with fresh juices.


Bars and nightlife

Total Eclipse8920 Ave. DHead here for a fun
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Total Eclipse

8920 Ave. D

Head here for a fun night of dancing -- this nightclub's DJs blast beats that make it hard to stand still.


Fisheye Bar & Grill

5913 Foster Ave.

With Caribbean food, cocktails and regular comedy nights, this bar and grill is perfect for date night.

Chloe's Restaurant & Lounge

9413 Ave. L

This dimly-lit lounge has live music, a dance floor and Caribbean food for partiers who worked up an appetite.

Where to shop

Canarsie Plaza8925 Ave. DFind chains like BJ's Wholesale
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Canarsie Plaza

8925 Ave. D

Find chains like BJ's Wholesale Club, PetSmart, Dunkin' Donuts and Pizza Hut at this small shopping plaza.

Brooklyn Terminal Market

Foster Avenue between East 83rd and 87th streets

A neighborhood mainstay since 1942, this market has everything from produce to wine to Caribbean products.

Brooklyn Army Navy

955 Remsen Ave.

The Army and Navy surplus store carries military, police and security uniforms and other fun products like zombie apocalypse gear and face paint.

Things to do in Canarsie

Canarsie PierRockaway and Shore parkwaysPart of the National
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Canarsie Pier

Rockaway and Shore parkways

Part of the National Park System, the pier has been a favored place to fish, kayak, fly kites or just hang out by the water for 300 years.

Canarsie Park

Seaview Avenue and 93rd Street

Head to this large waterfront park and historic site for its skatepark, baseball, soccer and cricket fields, basketball courts and playgrounds.

Sebago Canoe Club

1400 Paerdegat Ave.

A non-profit membership club for canoeists, kayakers, sailors, rowers and flatwater racers, Sebago has paddle events, workshops and classes for water activities.

Transit basics

Trains:L to Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway and East 105th StreetBuses:B6,
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Spencer Platt


L to Canarsie-Rockaway Parkway and East 105th Street


B6, B8, B17, B35, B42, B47, B60, B82, B103, BM2

Famous Canarsie residents

Notable Canarsie residents have included film producer Michael
Photo Credit: Getty Images / Rodrigo Varela

Notable Canarsie residents have included film producer Michael De Luca, actor William Forsythe, broadcaster Al Roker and Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz.

Canarsie real estate data

Median sales price: $375,180 Number of units on
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Median sales price: $375,180

Number of units on market: 330

Median rental price: $1,750

Number of rentals: 106

(Source: StreetEasy)

The buzz

Shootings are down in Canarsie after a spike
Photo Credit: Anthony Lanzilote

Shootings are down in Canarsie after a spike in 2014.

The 69th Precinct reported 22 shooting incidents in Canarsie between Jan. 1 and July 6, 2014, according to its CompStat report. This year, however, that figure fell to six shooting incidents as of June 5, the same amount reported in that time frame in 2015 as well.

"I can only assume the decrease is due to good policing decisions," said Dorothy Turano, chair of the local Community Board 18.

Despite the decrease, some residents say crime is high in Canarsie.

"When I came here in 2007, it was kind of like the suburbs where everybody wanted to move to," area resident Andrae Riley, 38, said.

But due to crime in the area, "now it's like everybody wants to move out of here," he said.

There were three murders and 10 rapes reported by the 69th Precinct so far this year as of June 5, up from one murder and nine rapes in the year to date in 2015.

The 69th Precinct did not return requests for comment.

Q&A with John Razzano

John Razzano, 66, owns Market Garden Center and
Photo Credit: Lauren Holter

John Razzano, 66, owns Market Garden Center and Nursery at 8914 Foster Ave. Razzano, who hails from southwest Brooklyn, opened the business in 1977 and has watched Canarsie transform since then.

Why did you decide to open your biz in Canarsie?

It was a good location close to Brooklyn Terminal Market, so it would have been a good draw for competition, for the flow of people that come in. In my industry, the way the market was years ago, [Brooklyn Terminal Market] would draw people from all over, kind of like stores inside a mall, where you've got the main ones drawing people in.

How is the area different today than it was in the 1970s?

The neighborhood has changed over the years from basically Italian and Jewish to Caribbean. For our purposes, the neighborhood change was better for business because now you've got new homeowners wanting to fix [up old properties], rather than people who are retired.

What could be improved in the nabe?

Every neighborhood needs improvement, don't get me wrong, but for the most part, it's probably safer today than it was years ago mainly because a lot of the people who live here are in law enforcement.


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