Canarsiens hungry for new business on the pier

The National Park Service is finally trying to get a tenant for the long vacant restaurant on Canarsie Pier.

Earlier this month, Gateway National Recreation Area, which oversees the pier, issued a Request for Expression of Interest for re-use of the 5,477-square-foot, one-story-tall structure, a portion of which dates back to 1930. The site was formerly occupied by the a number of restaurants, the last of which closed in 2002.

Based on estimates made in 2006, when the condition of the building was last assessed, it could cost upwards of $2.5 million to ready the now-dilapidated building for reuse. To remodel the building to house a restaurant, Gateway estimated in 2006 that the cost would be approximately $3.9 million.

The RFEI — with responses due by June 5 — was released as Gateway is in the process of developing its General Management Plan, something that takes place every decade.

Bringing a new business to the pier can’t happen soon enough for those living nearby.

Neal Duncan, the president of the United Canarsie South Civic Association, called the empty building on the pier an “eyesore,” and urged group members to make their voices heard on the matter during the organization’s April meeting, which was held at the Hebrew Educational Society at Seaview Avenue and E. 95th Street.

“Either tear the building down or get on the stick and get the place together,” contended Lenny Fogel, the group’s vice president.

Fogel asserted that the “best answer” for the site would be to renovate it as a food court, because a sit-down restaurant would be unlikely to attract enough people to be viable.

Area resident Delrose Archer disagreed. “A high-end restaurant would work,” she said. “It would take a lot of effort, but it’s a good location.”

The pier is located at the southern end of Rockaway Parkway, near exit 13 of the Belt Parkway.

As many as 400,000 people visit the pier annually.