Toxi City: Exploring Brooklyn's Industrial Legacy

Barren Island

Posted in Barren Island,Brooklyn by Robin on January 28, 2010

Today I went with Jonathan Turer out to Bottle Beach which is on what was once Barren Island.

Bottle Beach and Gill Hodges Bridge

Here you can see the Marine Parkway Bridge which is at the end of Flatbush Avenue. Landfill has now made Barren Island part of Brooklyn.

There are disintegrating piles from old piers that indicate at one point boats stopped here.

The most amazing array of bottles from a bygone era cover the beach along the Rockaways side.

Of every shape and color, these bottles were dumped on Barren Island and covered with sand. That sand is now eroding and the bottles and other garbage is slowly moving towards the water.

Along the shore, in the roots of the reeds, you can see the garbage that was thrown in the dump much of it more or less intact.

Barren island, which is no longer an island is slowly yielding its treasure to Rockaway Inlet.

Not exactly a beach on which to walk your dog or bring your kid.

When you turn the corner and begin to walk away from the Rockaways towards Dead Horse Bay suddenly there is a lot more metal on the beach.

We found a newspaper dating to the 1950s indicating dumping continued at least until then.

When the wind dies down and there are no planes over head, you can hear the bottles tinging in the surf.

Is this place disgusting or amazing?

The longevity of much of the garbage is astounding and gives one pause.