This weekend, a friend with a car and I were planning to cruise around Brooklyn and hit a few of the destinations on my to-visit list that are difficult and/or time consuming to get to via public transportation. The forecast dissuaded us, however, and indeed as I look out the window over my laptop screen I can see pretty heavy snow falling.
So instead I got up early, procured a to-go tea, and set out on foot, hoping to complete a 10-mile loop before any precipitation showed up (I succeeded). The destination I picked: Canarsie Pier, on the shore of Jamaica Bay.
The Bay acts as part of the boundary between Brooklyn and Long Island, with the Rockaways lying immediately south. Not too far east of Canarsie is John F. Kennedy International Airport — if you’ve even flown in or out of the airport, you’ve probably seen how close the water lies to the runways. (Also true of LaGuardia Airport, which lies on Flushing Bay and the East River.)
The Canarsie Pier is apparently popular for fishing, picnicking, and kayaking… But not in January, of course. While there were a dozen or so cars parked in the sizable parking lot, I had the area more or less to myself. Well, I did have the company of a bunch of seagulls.
Besides the parking lot, the park boasts public restrooms, plenty of picnic tables, and a couple of grills. A well-paved bicycle path runs right in front of the entrance — I have no idea where it starts or ends!
I can see that in the summer, Canarsie Pier would probably be crawling with people. I was just as happy to explore it in quiet, cold solitude. My first visit to Coney Island was in February, when it was even colder than today!
On my way to Canarsie, I walked east from home and then south. On my return trip, I decided to switch it up and go west and then north, although it would take a bit longer. I was pleasantly surprised to find a big, green park — not well-signed, but according to Google Maps it was Canarsie State Park — only a few minutes away, which made up a good portion of my route.
Not a must-visit location; if you have a car and a hankerin’ for outdoor actvities, that’s the reason to head to Canarsie Pier.
Location: Canarsie Veterans Circle, at the southeast end of Rockaway Parkway, Brooklyn
Nearest Public Transit: B17, B42, or B103 buses