Canarsie’s hidden jewel

Canarsie’s hidden jewel

Way down at the end of the Paerdegat streets and at the end of Seaview Park, lies one of Canarsie’s most prized possessions, a family center tucked into the pocket of Brooklyn. From the sky (Google maps if you can’t afford a space station of your own) you can see the four pools shining like sapphires in PacPlex back yard, but there are more treasures beneath the surface of the sprawling tin roof.

“PacPlex” is a new name to the quiet neighborhood but it refers to a facility that has stood since 1974. What was originally a massive tennis center has evolved over the years to better serve the community. Before taking on new partners and management in 2012, PacPlex was known as the Paerdegat Athletic Club. The new name brings with it new energy and of course renovations as the club continues to morph.

Trinidadian born Nigel Ryan who has been with the company for the past 10 years is now its marketing director for the past 18 months. “As I look at the improvements to the club, to the facility itself and to the programming, I am excited about the prospects of PacPlex,” said Ryan.

Today, the facility houses among other things, a full health club, which boasts a new free weight room, or power gym as the members call it. This space is for serious buffs such as Kai Greene. There is no intimidation though as the club has an easy family atmosphere that exudes most especially from the friendly staff. The gym has all the amenities one would expect, such as the cardio machines, group exercises, personal training and a few extra things like a jogging track and PurMotion training system. Mike Silva, an industry leader joined the team in 2012 and brings his expertise in hopes of putting PacFitness on the map.

One of the biggest features of PacPlex is the water. Apart from the four outdoor pools, PacPlex has two indoor pools and a hot tub. The pool club with the bar and grill open makes for a great family outing on the weekend. The indoor pools are open year round and facilitate a thriving swim academy for beginners and expert swimmers alike.

There is a separate management team dedicated to serving the children. PacKids offers early childhood education all the way up to Universal Pre-Kindergarten, after school program, holiday camps, sporting instruction and enrichment programs for kids. Drama and music are the latest additions to the programing. Ronny Schindler who has been very successful with his Park Slope Day Camp brought his expertise to PacKids last year also.

PacPlex caters to the Caribbean and European communities with the biggest indoor soccer field in Brooklyn. Even through the winter, the matches often go on into the wee hours of the morning. “If that ’s not your cup of tea, Pacplex also has racquetball courts, saunas, steam room, a licensed massage therapist, a restaurant and bar with private dining room, event spaces and catering,” said Ryan. This year Pac Plex hosted Sesame Flyers launch.

Since Hurricane Sandy, which forced PacPlex to rebuild everything on the ground floor, PacPlex has been without a proper basketball court. But construction is almost complete on three indoor basketball courts, which management expects will be the “talk of the town.” Another big addition to come soon to PacPlex is boxing. PacPlex will have not just a training center and world class coach, but the ability to host matches.

“Our facility has seen good days and not so good, it has ridden out the storm, that’s for sure but the prospects looking forward for PacPlex are bright. If you want to discover this Brooklyn treasure, go to, and check out the satellite image too, it’s quite nifty,” said the marketing director.