Dilapidated Canarsie Pier building demolished

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The dream of reopening a restaurant at Canarsie Pier have been bulldozed.

The National Parks Service finally demolished the old Abbracciam­ento’s restaurant building on Canarsie Pier at Gateway National Recreation Area last month, and the park’s managers say they have no plans to build another food service-ready replacement anytime soon.

“We have plans for the pier, but it would be something completely different,” said Gateway spokeswoman Daphne Yun. “There wouldn’t be a restaurant of the same type.”

The demolition of the long-vacant and dilapidated building that once housed the beloved eatery comes after repeated attempts by the Parks Service to fill the vacant restaurant with another vendor.

A request for proposals from prospective restaurateurs for the former Abbracciam­ento’s location was issued by Gateway few years after the original restaurant closed in the late 1990s, but it met with little interest and didn’t yield any candidates, according to Yun.

A more recent request for interest was circulated in 2010, but only one potential vendor applied, who failed to meet Gateway’s requirements, Yun said.

“Most places realized that they wouldn’t make any money,” she said.

One of the biggest obstacles to finding a new occupant for the old building was its dilapidated condition, since the burden of renovating it would have fallen on the new vendor, not the federal government.

The final nail in the building’s coffin came from Hurricane Sandy, which damaged the already ailing structure — although not the pier itself — beyond salvation.

“Basically, it’s quite costly to repair that building,” said Yun.

As for what’s next for the pier, Gateway will publish its “General Management Plan” later this month, which outlines improvements park managers hope to make over the next 20 years. In a draft of the plan released earlier this year, Gateway wrote that the pier and “its outlying spaces would be improved to better accommodate community events such as concerts, markets, and festivals,” among other things.

Reach reporter Colin Mixson at or by calling (718) 260-4514.
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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