Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Trash picking at Dead Horse Bay

Things have been a little bit slow going around here, as far as moving into our new apartment is concerned. We still have another car load or two to cart over from our old house, and the new place is filled with boxes in inconvenient places. It's going to be awhile before we're back into the regular swing of things.

But right before moving day (well, the first day) I managed to squeeze in an interesting side trip to Dead Horse Bay in Brooklyn. The morbid sounding name comes from the dozens of rendering plants that once surrounded the beach, the bones of dead horses often washing onshore (some swear you can still spot a rib or two but I didn't see any).

Right across the street from the entrance to Floyd Bennett Field, there is an entrance to a path that leads out to the beach. There we found this crazy nest.

Almost there--you can see the water at the end.

At first glance it looks like an ordinary beach.

And then you get a closer look.

Around the turn of the century, the marsh of Dead Horse Bay began to be used as a landfill. By the 1930s the trash heap was capped, only to burst in the 1950s, trash spewing forth onto the beach. It has been continually leaking garbage ever since.

The beach is covered with tires, old shoe soles, rusty bits of metal and plastic, and thousands and thousands of bottles, some still intact yet still more in broken jagged shards. One of the most interesting aspects of the trash is that it is vintage trash (well, for the most part--I'll bet some more recent visitors have added to it quite a bit), the refuse of bygone eras. It's also a grim reminder that trash doesn't disappear after the garbage truck takes it away; rather, it sticks around for a very long time.

Here's a bit of broken ceramic--would have been cool (though highly surprising) to find a whole one.

No horse bones, but there was a dead horseshoe crab.

The quiet, eerie calm, coupled with the blanket of trash, lends the beach a strange, post-apocalyptic atmosphere, like civilization has up and gone.

The beach even comes with its own shipwreck.

Well, the top half of a boat. It sports some amazing graffiti, much of it fresh (with references to "Michael Jackson overdose"). My favorite is "Bitches from hell eat Taco Bell"--so true.

Some bits of plastic bags and strings and ribbons tangled in the branches--almost looks beautiful.

While I didn't find the treasure trove I had hoped for--would have been amazing to find some vintage milk bottles or whole ceramic objects--I did pick up a few things (with gloved hands). I'll post those images soon(ish).

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