Dead Horse Bay got its name from nearby horse rendering plants in the early-mid 19th century. When horses from NYC could no longer be used to cart around people and supplies, they sent them out to Brooklyn to make them into glue. Well, the plants shut down, but the name stuck. Then, in the late 19th century, the area transformed into a landfill, and it remained as such until the 1930s when it was capped off. Something happened in the 1950s, and the cap burst, spewing a century's worth of garbage all over the bay. Unlike most dry landfills, the garbage in this place has been floating in and out with the tide for over 50 years, and although I still wouldn't consider it "clean," it wasn't nearly as smelly/gross as I thought it would be.
Everything about the day - the weather, the skies, the breeze - was absolutely perfect. Our walk through the overgrown grasses and trees leading out to the bay felt almost magical. It transported us out of New York City and into a world unlike anything I've ever seen before.
Old glass bottles, bricks, and leather shoe soles littered the beach. Since most people have never heard of Dead Horse Bay (and let's be honest, the name is a little intimidating), we had the beach completely to ourselves.
We filled up a garbage bag with our own beachy treasures and took it all back to Alex's place to sanitize and polish. All-in-all, we came away with some really cool things, and I stare at my broken dishes and bottle of grape juice and wonder just who used them back in the day. It was such a uniquely awesome experience, and I feel even more connected to this city after rummaging through its garbage.
All of these pictures are courtesy of Alex, whose photography skills far outshine mine. Fortunately for me, his phone died in the middle of our trip, so I coaxed him into taking pictures with my phone as part of an elaborate scheme.