Sunset at Dead Horse Bay

Map of the Dead Horse Bay area, 1921.

Map of the Dead Horse Bay area, 1921.

Dead Horse Bay is one of the hidden gems of New York City – somewhat literally. To get there, you have to go to the very end of Flatbush Avenue (where it connects to the Marine Parkway-Gil Hodges Memorial Bridge), then walk down a wooded trail to the beach. You might recall I had some trouble finding it the first time I went.

Once a site for the “disposal of dead animals” (as its name suggests), it later served as a city landfill. Over time, the waves eroded the sand, revealing a trove of glass from the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

The area falls under the jurisdiction of the National Park Service as part of its Gateway National Recreation Area, so keeping souvenirs of your visit is a federal offense. I know - it’s just trash, right? But in theory, you’re depriving future visitors of the same experience you had.

Saturday evening, Lindsay and I took a long bike trip. Our intent was to go to Rockaway Beach to hang out with Vivian of Oy Vey Rockaway. She was holding an event to celebrate the salvaging of 60 vintage photographs in the wake of Sandy. Sad to say, my phone died in the morning, and replacing it pushed back our schedule.

Instead, we hit up a few of my favorite destinations, including Jimmy’s Famous Heros in Sheepshead Bay and Original Pizza in Georgetown. (My third white slice was just as good as the first two.) We got to Dead Horse Bay just in time to catch the last rays of sunlight.

As you approach the beach, it looks like any other: some brush and cattails atop an embankment. (That’s the Verrazano Narrows Bridge in the background.)


Then you crest the hill and see the water – and what it has unearthed.


A few of the cool things we found:


We came across an uprooted tree, to which someone had tied strings of bottles. It felt like a celebration of nature’s reclamation of man’s damage. (I had seen the tree a few days earlier on Instagram but missed it my first time around.)


Click below for more photos.

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4 Responses to Sunset at Dead Horse Bay

  1. Kathy N. says:

    Very cool photos!

  2. Good idea. Do you really mean ALL the neighborhoods in brooklyn? wow.

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