If those interred in the Canarsie Cemetery stepped out of their graves and looked at the deplorable condition the historic boneyard’s been left in, they’d keel over and die all over again.
So said members of Community Board 18, who once again tried — in vain — to get the city to step up to the plate and repair the streets and fences around the Canarsie Cemetery on Remsen Avenue, which is slowly becoming the coldest “hot property” the city is trying to sell off.
As they finalized their capital budget priorities and requests for fiscal year 2011, the board asked the city’s Department of Transportation (DOT) to “reconstruct sidewalks and replacement fencing adjoining the historic Canarsie Cemetery on Remsen Avenue between Church Lane and Avenue K.”
“The sidewalks and fencing are old and deteriorated and in disrepair,” board members wrote. “Serious buckling and hazardous pedestrian walking conditions exist.”
Board members said that neither the sidewalks or the fence surrounding the cemetery has been replaced in some time. Things got worse late last year when a drunk driver rammed into the fence on one side the cemetery, damaging it.
The city didn’t respond to the request, directing her to “discuss” it with the Brooklyn DOT Borough Commissioner.
When she contacted the Borough Commissioner’s office, she was told that they had no money to repair the sidewalks, but offered to “ticket the property owner” and use the money collected to repair the streets.
“You know I think you should,” Turano responded, knowing something that the borough commissioner apparently didn’t — the city owned the land.
Once the borough commissioner learned who owned the cemetery, he quickly changed his tune.
The Town of Flatlands acquired the cemetery in 1888 from the estate of John Remsen. The town later merged with Brooklyn — then a city — and ultimately, New York City. The Canarsie Cemetery is the last burial ground owned by the city.