Dead Horse Bay
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During the seventeenth century, Dutch settlers built tide mills to grind wheat into flour. A remaining millstone can still be found along the Millstone trail. From the nineteenth century to the twentieth century the area has been used in a variety of ways, including manufacturing fertilizer from the remains of dead animals, producing fish oil from the menhaden caught in the bay, and more recently a landfill for the disposal of New York City’s garbage. In 1926, much of the salt marsh surrounding Dead Horse Bay and the rest of Barren Island were pumped with sand from Jamaica Bay. This raised the land to 16 feet above the high tide mark and connected the islands to each other, and the mainland of Brooklyn, in order to create Floyd Bennett Field as New York City's first municipal airport. The entire area, including the historic airfield, are now managed by the National Park Service as part of the Jamaica Bay Unit of the Gateway National Recreation Area.
Today, school groups are taken to Dead Horse Bay on a regular basis to walk the Millstone trail, seine for a variety of fishes, and learn about the natural and cultural history of the area. Its shores are also a popular sport fishing spot, and home to a marina operating in Deep Creek as a National Park Service concession. Today one can find a large array of glass bottles and pieces of broken glass on the beach, along with old shoes and construction materials, many from the landfill which is now leaking. It is a popular place to collect strange decorative materials for artists and crafters.
- Nathan Kensinger Photography 2008 photo essay of Dead Horse Bay
- Jamaica Bay Institute
- www.deadhorsebay.blogspot.com - 2008 iLAB Collaboration
- atlasobscura.com - photos of Dead Horse Bay
- Dead Horse Bay Retro Artifacts
- New York Times - History of Dead Horse Bay