Digging up Canarsie’s history

Canarsie’s rich and colorful history will be proudly on display on July 11 as the Canarsie History Museum holds its annual fair at the Hebrew Educational Society.

And if you thought you’ve seen it all, you haven’t. This year’s artifacts are quite new, focusing on the days when Canarsie was a waterfront resort Xanadu.

“Many people do not know about the huge resort and tourism history Canarsie once had,” said Canarsie historian Ramon Martinez, who spearheads the fairs for the traveling museum and has extensive documentation on the whopping 83 hotels that existed in Canarsie — mostly on Avenue L — between 1840 and 1920.

The museum, which was first chartered in 2002 by the state Department of Education, will also have an entire section dedicated to the Flatlands police department — peace officers who patrolled Canarsie before the city put together today’s more organized NYPD.

“The Flatlands police force was established in 1893,” Martinez said. “The cops first turned out of the Glanders Hotel on Conklin Avenue and E. 95th Street, but they then moved to Glenwood Road and E. 95th Street — near where the 69th Precinct is now.”

There will also be a slide show presentation on the neighborhood’s transit history.

The yearly fair is Martinez’s way of exciting residents about the neighborhood’s rich history, as well as promote his plans of lensing a documentary about Canarsie’s past with interviews from longtime residents.

“There are a lot of old timers who are 90, 95 and 100-years-old and they still live in Canarsie and have a lot to say about the neighborhood,” Martinez said. “We want to save some of that oral history somehow.”

The 2010 Canarsie History Fair at the Hebrew Educational Society [9502 Seaview Avenue at East 95th Street in Canarsie, (718) 649-5083] on July 11. For info, e-mail canarsiemuseum@aol.com.

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