Calling on Canarsiens

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I’m not sure what people from Canarsie call themselves – Canarsiens? Canarsie-ites? Either way, I’m asking for your input.

I started this blog with the hope of painting a picture of my life in Canarsie, Brooklyn in the mid 1960s through early ‘70s. It was a time not unlike today, in some ways. It felt fraught, dangerous even. So much was changing and violence, in the form of urban riots and crime, was lurking. I grew up acutely aware of those crosscurrents.

Others growing up in Canarsie at the same time had different perceptions. I deduce this from conversations I have had with friends and from comments posted on the Internet. This isn’t surprising, of course, one would expect different experiences. But some have described an idyllic childhood in which neighbors looked out for each other and children played together in harmony (mostly). Which made me wonder: was my experience the exception?

I want to explore that question. If you (and please feel free to pass this request on) grew up in Canarsie and graduated from either Canarsie High School or South Shore from about 1973-1977 and would like to share your memories, I would like to interview you. Please send me an email at LBakst.Canarsie@gmail.com and I will follow up.

The three major topics I am interested in exploring are: family life, ethnicity/race relations, and perceptions of safety. I am particularly interested in memories of the boycott of schools in response to the busing plan in Canarsie in 1972-73.

This is not going to be a scientific study by any means, but interviews can yield important perspectives. I am hopeful that I will gain more insight into a broader range of experience and then I can share those insights on my blog, either as part of my stories or separately. I will keep the information anonymous, unless you are willing to speak for attribution.

Aside from satisfying my personal curiosity, I’m hoping it will help paint a more detailed picture of that time and place, which in turn should lead to a better understanding of who we are now. I hope the conversation will be interesting to you, too! I hope to hear from you.

3 thoughts on “Calling on Canarsiens

  1. I vaguely remember standing in front of CHS with the football team waiting for what was supposed to be a group of activists we were told were coming to cause trouble at our school. We heard they turned around when they saw us all there together. Of course that could be a story I tell myself 🙂

    Mostly I remember hanging out in the parks well past dark with friends even at a young age. There was the night someone hit me for no apparent reason, but that was one night and while I still have the scar on my lip to remind me, there were thousands of other wonderful nights with friends.

    I’ve been told that I’ve always been too trusting and idealistic for my own good, but I choose to enjoy the moments and remember the good times as much as I can. I find your blog from a Canarsie FB page on a rare very nostalgic night as I remember the birthday of an old friend I don’t see anymore. I wonder what else you’ve found putting this out here. Good luck finding what you seek 🙂

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    1. Thank you for your thoughtful comment. I’m not entirely sure what I am seeking, but I have learned a great deal about myself and fellow graduates of Canarsie on the journey. If you would care to share more of your memories, I’d be happy to connect. Thanks, again, for checking out the blog.

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