A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from November 13, 2017
“By way of Canarsie” (Canarsie, Brooklyn)

To go somewhere “by way of Canarsie (Brooklyn)” is to go out of the way, or in a roundabout way. New York (NY) Post columnist Leonard Lyons (1906-1976) wrote in “The Lyons Dens” on March 7, 1939:

“The current story is of a German refugee who stepped off the boat and wore, on his coat, a tag bearing a West 192d Street address. A gyp-hackie took the refugee into his cab and started to drive him to the West 192d Street address, but by the way of Canarsie. After one block, the refugee tapped on the window and said: ‘Up the West Side Highway ramp, please.’”

The taxi driver took the customer out of the way—“by way of Canarsie”—to get a bigger fare. The saying was popular for several decades, but is now infrequent.


Wikipedia: Canarsie, Brooklyn
Canarsie (/kəˈnɑːrsi/ kə-NAR-see) is a working- and middle-class residential and commercial neighborhood in the southeastern portion of the borough of Brooklyn, in New York City, United States.

Canarsie is bordered on the east by Fresh Creek Basin, East 108th Street, and the BMT Canarsie Line (L train); on the north by Linden Boulevard; on the west by Remsen Avenue to Ralph Avenue and the Paerdegat Basin; and on the south by Jamaica Bay. It is adjacent to the East Flatbush, Flatlands, Mill Basin, Bergen Beach, and East New York neighborhoods.
(...)
“By way of Canarsie”
“By way of Canarsie” was a mid-twentieth century American English figure of speech meaning “to come to one’s destination by a roundabout way or from a distant point.” It presumably arose when the Wilson Avenue Line was a principal route to Canarsie Landing. The expression has dropped from modern common parlance.

28 May 1938, Brooklyn (NY) Daily Eagle, “Sportopics” by Jimmy Wood, pg. 11, col. 1:
Many good lines and smart cracks went by way of Canarsie.
(It’s uncertain if this use is related to the saying.—ed.)

Old Fulton NY Post Cards
7 March 1939, New York (NY) Post,"The Lyons Den” by Leonard Lyons, second sec., pg. 13, col. 7:
The current story is of a German refugee who stepped off the boat and wore, on his coat, a tag bearing a West 192d Street address. A gyp-hackie took the refugee into his cab and started to drive him to the West 192d Street address, but by the way of Canarsie. After one block, the refugee tapped on the window and said: “Up the West Side Highway ramp, please.”

9 March 1939, Washington (DC) Post, “The New Yorker” by Leonard Lyons, pg. 10, col. 3:
THE CURRENT STORY is of a German refugee who stepped off the boat and wore, on his coat, a tag bearing a West 192d Street address. A gyp-hackie took the refugee into his cab and started to drive him to the West 192d Street address, but by the way of Canarsie. After one block, the refugee tapped on the window and said: “Up the West Side Highway ramp, please.”

Google Books
This Is Where I Came In:
The impromptu confessions of Edward Anthony

By Edward Anthony
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1960
Pg. 232:
“Better stall a little at the station or instruct your driver"— we had rented a limousine for the occasion— “to bring the candidate in by way of Canarsie.”

Google Books
Face to Face;
And, the House of Brass

By Ellery Queen
New York, NY: New American Library
1982
Pg. 146:
But Fleck chose, in his pique, to tell the story by way of Canarsie.

New York (NY) Times
COFFEE TALK WITH: Howard Schultz; By Way of Canarsie, One Large Hot Cup of Business Strategy
By ALEX WITCHEL
Published: December 14, 1994
(...)
So why is it somehow not surprising to discover that the president and chief executive of Starbucks is from Brooklyn?

“It’s ironic that no matter where I go, I meet people from Brooklyn,” says Howard Schultz, 40, who grew up in Canarsie. “I’m proud of that heritage. It’s where I’m from, who I am.”

The Brooklyn Paper
August 15, 2014 / GO Brooklyn / Cinema
By way of Canarsie: New doc revisits ’hood’s halcyon days
BY VANESSA OGLE
Take a stroll down an unpaved memory lane.

A new documentary titled “A Walk Through Canarsie” captures the neighborhood in the 1880s and 1950s, when it was a quintessential seaside community, known for its yacht races and seafood — instead of the place you wake up in when you fall asleep on the L train. These were ’hood’s halcyon days, according to one of the film’s creators.

Facebook
By Way of Canarsie: A Memoir added 35 new photos.
March 21, 2016 ·
Chapter 24: The Last Hurrah
In the summer of 1999 I decided to do something I had never done before, which was tour with my brother and Duran Duran. I went to over twenty shows in 18 cities, from New York, down to Florida, and to California, before ending in Las Vegas.

Google Books
Lucky Jim
By James Hart
Jersey City, NJ: Cleis Press
2017
Pg. ?:
What took you so long? Did you go by way of Canarsie?

Canarsie in this expression represented a place beyond the pale: a location near the ends of the earth.

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityNeighborhoods • Monday, November 13, 2017 • Permalink