Canarsie History on display - Exhibition to highlight military items ‘used in actual battle’

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After Canarsie’s Memorial Day parade ends, a history lesson will begin.

On May 26, the Canarsie History Museum will host a military and neighborhood exhibit at the American Legion, 1130 East 92nd Street.

Ramon Martinez, the museum’s founder, said the exhibit will feature an extensive assortment of military items, some generously lent by local residents.

“Some of it was used in actual battle,” Martinez said.

The exhibit will be open from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.—or later depending on the turn out, he said.

The museum, chartered in 2002 by the state Department of Education, is still looking for a permanent home.

Martinez, 34, said he continues to try and raise money—and a state grant could help the museum take up residency in a building adjacent to the American Legion on 92nd Street. The builidng, built in 1927, was the Legion’s former home.

“There is definitely a rich history here,” he said.

So much history, that Martinez, who by day is a regional manager for a sporting goods chain, is working on a book about the neighborhood.

When he moved to Canarsie from East New York 10 years ago, he said it was the neighborhood’s topography that first caught his attention.

“East New York doesn’t have the kind of alleys and lanes like in Canarsie,” he said.

Martinez has since amassed a treasure trove of documents, photographs and books tracing some 400 years of history in the neighborhood.

Each year, the traveling museum offers history fairs, lectures and walking tours.

“You don’t know New York until you know Canarsie,” he said. “The Canarsee Indians owned all of Brooklyn and all of New York,” he said. Their presence in the area dates back to 1524, he noted. By the 1800s the last of the tribe died out.

By securing the future of the museum, he said, the hope is that the entirety of neighborhood’s past will be preserved—even the chapters long since forgotten.

For more information, contact the museum at

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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