A Trip to Dead Horse Bay

(Otherwise known as the day Dave and I voluntarily picked through garbage.)

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

I’ve been wanting to go to Dead Horse Bay for awhile now but the fire to head there was ignited once again when it was featured on the Only in Your State blog. (If you don’t follow this blog for your own state you should – it features places you’d never know about otherwise from nature to restaurants, shops, etc.) Dead Horse Bay was home to horse-rendering plants (ew) and other factories in the 1850s and around the 1920s – 1930s the marsh was used as a landfill. The landfill was capped in the ’30s and then the cap burst in the 1950s! You’d think the city would have fixed it but nope, the landfill has continuously been spilling trash onto the beach and into the water ever since. Fast forward to today and the beach has become a haven for artists and collectors who scavenge through the glass and other trash which have now become treasures to the keen eye.

My parents had Sadie overnight from our date night so we decided to head out to Brooklyn to see this weird beach for ourselves and hopefully pick some treasures! We parked at Floyd Bennett Field, crossed the street and headed to one of the walking paths that will lead you to Dead Horse Bay. Luckily this area is a big spot for Audubon Society members so the paths are clearly marked and wide open. The grassy stroll eventually led us to a sandy path and we were on the beach!

Walking down the path to the beach.

The Paths to Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We made it!

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We are also idiots who didn’t check the tide report before we left so we were lucky to be able to make it down the beach – the tide was pretty high that time of day so we had to climb through some marshes and over some stuff to get as far down as we wanted.

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We also lucked out with a pretty overcast day – perfect for spending a couple of hours with our eyes grazing over the shoreline, sand and busted landfill cap.

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

Here you can see the cap that has burst. So every time the tide comes all the way up or a storm comes it washes away more of the dirt and landfill and pulls out more glass and other garbage. You can see things embedded in the wall.

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

Check out how this plant grew itself into the jar! The roots are wrapped around itself in there. Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We really didn’t know what we were looking for at first in terms of things we wanted to take home. Here’s some stuff we spotted and didn’t pick up. (That top center square – that’s horse bone/cartilage! Ew.)

Dead Horse Beach finds

I love this picture. I love how the ocean is in the bottle, but the bottle is only partly in the ocean. I may frame it…

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

I spotted this rolled up tube and brought it over to Dave. We gingerly unrolled it and its an old toothpaste tube (cap still on!) from a brand that was around in the 1950s. We brought it home – I am thinking of framing it and hanging it in the bathroom!

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

An entire piece of flooring we uncovered. Why? Where was it from?

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

The scavengers! (Can someone remind me never to contract my head back into my neck when taking a selfie? Sheesh.)

Dead Horse Bay | Perks of Being a JAP | www.perksofbeingajap.com

We wound up taking a lot of things home with us that I still have to clean up, hence no photos. We took some glass bottles of all different shapes and sizes – some that held alcohol, some that held perfume, etc. We also took some jars that held beauty products from Ponds, a glass Log Cabin syrup bottle, I found an adorable teacup that was missing the handle and I collected a whole bunch of pottery/china fragments. I want to find a way to display them in a shadowbox or something – just need to figure out how!

I am already planning on going back in a few months to see what new things have become loose/washed up. And now I know to wear my tall rain boots so I can step into the water if I spot something cool. We were telling my parents about it when we went to pick up Sadie and now they want to come!

Here’s something else – when we got there I stopped Dave and told him to listen. You could hear the glass fragments tinkling when the waves would hit the shore. It was almost magical.

 

For more on Dead Horse Bay:

Is there anything weird like this where you live? Are we weirdos for going there and searching for trash treasure? 

I’ve also started a Flickr group for things found at Dead Horse Bay (since I couldn’t believe there wasn’t already one!)

Comments

  1. Oh, wow. This is SO cool!

  2. Wow, that is really cool! I love glass bottles in different colors and sea glass and things like that, so I’m sure I’d love it there! I can’t wait to see what you come up with for the things you found.

    • It was really cool – there was actually less sea glass than I thought there would be (like, nothing tumbled smooth) but we took a bunch of bottles and stuff. Now I just need to clean them up!

  3. How cool is this spot?!

  4. So….I understand intellectually how this could be cool. But garbage in salt water sounds kinda gross to me. Does it smell or anything? Or is it too old to be smelly anymore? The old stuffs are cool, for sure, but….I’m a germ-phobe and I guess I’d rather find them in an antique store….or in the desert, because 1 year of sitting in the desert will dry out and bleach away any ickiness.

    xox
    Feisty Harriet recently posted…Confessions of a Bookaholic: Feminism, volume 1My Profile

    • It totally didn’t smell – but I get where you’re coming from! The only things you really saw were bottles and the like, so nothing had an opportunity to really smell. And also the water is constantly flowing so nothing is stagnant.

  5. Fascinating! I just love weird stuff, and it seems like such a creative way to spend a date and spark conversation between you and hubby. Sometimes those are the best outings, vs. a movie date where you don’t talk much, you know?

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