April 14, 2014

Dead Horse Bay

    On one of the most gorgeous days we have seen this year, Jason and I had a bit of an odd adventure in Brooklyn. We went antiquing in Dead Horse Bay. Sounds lovely, doesn’t it? Unfortunately, the name fits this place perfectly.

    During the 1850’s -1930’s there used to be glue factories along the beach where, yes, glue was manufactured mostly from horses and other animals. By the 1930s, all the glue factories had been closed and the marsh was instead used as a landfill and capped in the 1950s. The landfill cap eventually burst and trash spilled onto the beach. As a result, today, not only can you find horse bones littered along the beach, but also there are glass bottles, dishes, shoes, toys, silverware, tires, and lots of other assorted nostalgia, some treasures being over a hundred years old.

    Dead Horse Bay is sort of a secret place that many people don’t know about. There are no signs or paved paths to get there and asking people who live in the area for directions will only cause you embarrassment. To get to Dead Horse Bay, we drove to Brooklyn and parked our car at Floyd Bennett Field. We walked for a mile until we came to the last traffic light before the Marine Parkway Bridge and then turned left on a dirt trail that led to the beach.

    Jason and I weren’t really sure if this place was going to be a hit or a miss, but we were immediately elated once we reached the beach and saw it covered in glass bottles sparkling in the sun. Jason immediately picked out horse vertebrae lying in the surf like seashells. As we admired all of the interesting things, our creative juices started flowing. Jason decided to collect glass bottles and I started picking up pieces of porcelain from dishes. You wouldn’t believe all of the different colors and designs that I found on the beach. I’m planning to create some sort of collage with all of my pieces, but I’m not totally set on an idea.
Another man's trash is another man's treasure
Dilapidated Doll's Face
Horse bone, he just had to touch it
oh, a homeless woman picking up trash from the beach
Message in a bottle
The handless gentleman and headless wife
Super old Pepsi-cola bottle
    When Jason first told me to bring a garbage bag, I thought he was out of his mind to think that we were going to bring anything home from this filthy place. To my surprise, we found so much broken bottle treasure that our bag was coming apart from the weight of all the items. The search for new pieces of dishes brought me farther and father from where we started and I eventually swung the bag over my shoulder. This only resulted in the bag slipping through my fingers and it crashing to the ground in what felt like slow motion. I was so mad that I slammed a glass bottle that I held in my other hand down onto the sand and boy, did it shatter. If I didn’t feel like I was destroying a piece of history, I would have done it again because it felt so great to get my anger out that way. Anyway, I broke two bottles that were inside the bag and while I was digging out the pieces with my bare hands, I suddenly stopped and was like, “Oh shoot, my hand is bleeding.” It was really just a small cut on my finger, but lucky for me I had Band-Aids in my purse. Later, while Jason was helping me find broken dishes, he cut his finger too, but it was really only a matter of time before Jason hurt himself. We really need to a sturdier bag and gloves the next time we decided to dig for glass in the sand.
These bottles were everywhere along the beach
We're definitely going back
    We finally decided that we had collected enough junk for one day and decided to pack up and leave. On the way back, we saw a beautiful uprooted tree on the beach with colorful glass bottles hanging from it. So much of Dead Horse Bay is like a modern art museum with art pieces left by people and the best ones made naturally from the tide. Once we got back to the main road, I found a bench to sit on while Jason walked another mile to get the car and pick me up because our bag was totally ripped to pieces. After we figure out what we’re going to do with this junk, we will surely be back for more.

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