Best Of

Best Park for a Serious, Out-of-the-Way Waterfront Meeting


Canarsie Pier, the 600-foot-long jetty that juts into the waters of Jamaica Bay just west of JFK Airport, isn’t your ordinary park. For one thing, there’s barely a tree on this narrow slice of the Gateway National Recreation Area, only a thin row of spindly hardwoods lining the blacktop lot where the fishermen park their cars. But you don’t come to this out-of-the-way spot in search of greenery—you come for the fluke and the bluefish, or to catch a cool summer breeze wafting over the islands. Or, just as likely, you pull off the Belt Parkway (easy-on, easy-off at the Rockaway Parkway exit) for the kind of serious meeting that requires a private spot, but one with just enough witnesses around so that nothing really bad happens. Until it closed a couple of years ago, the place for this was the fine Abbraciamento on the Pier restaurant where clams and cocktails made gatherings decidedly pleasant. In the late 1990s, Abbraciamento was where leaders of the Bonanno and Colombo crime families divvied up a major Wall Street investment firm. John Gotti’s crew, based in nearby Ozone Park, liked to gather there as well. And why not? After business is done, there is nothing like a slow stroll along the far end of the pier, listening to the fishermen brag, and gazing out at Canarsie Pol, the uninhabited island across the channel. And wondering what’s buried out there.