Coney Island Creek

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Coney Island when it was an island
Burnt, sunken barges in Gravesend Bay mouth
Western portion, looking east

Coney Island Creek encompasses two sea inlets in Brooklyn, New York City, one separating Coney Island from the neighborhoods of Gravesend and Bath Beach, the other separating the neighborhoods of Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach. Prior to construction of the Shore Parkway in the 1950s, Coney Island Creek was a strait and a partial mudflat connecting Gravesend Bay and Sheepshead Bay, making Coney Island an actual island.[1]


Coney Island Creek was minimally navigable and in the early 20th century the City of New York developed plans to widen, straighten and deepen it as the Gravesend Ship Canal.[2] Those plans never came to fruition. Instead, a portion of the creek was filled in during 1962 with dirt from the construction of Verrazano–Narrows Bridge, making Coney Island a peninsula. The west entrance became a "ship graveyard" for dead and abandoned ships.[3] At southern shore of the creek, a 45 feet (14 m) yellow submarine protrudes from the water. Built from salvaged metal in the late 1960s, it was never able to maintain an even keel and was abandoned.[4]


BMT train crosses the creek
From Shell Road under the IND Culver Line

The western inlet of Coney Island Creek extends eastward from Gravesend Bay to Shell Road. The path of the landfill follows Shore Parkway, Guider Avenue, and the triangular block between Neptune Avenue and Cass Place. The eastern inlet picks up at Shore Boulevard and gradually widens into Sheepshead Bay.


The western inlet can be seen from street bridges at Cropsey Avenue (between Bay 54th Street and Hart Place) and Stillwell Avenue (between Shore Parkway and Neptune Avenue), and from the D F N Q trains of the New York City Subway several yards east of Stillwell Avenue (and just north of the Coney Island – Stillwell Avenue Station). The inlet can also be seen through the fence of a parking lot on Neptune Avenue near West 12th Street, and along much of Shell Road between Neptune and Shore Parkway. It remains mostly undeveloped and has become polluted, running along private industrial property and several acres owned by Keyspan, the local electricity provider. Marine traffic is restricted by a cable net between Cropsey and Stillwell Avenues.

The eastern inlet, spanned by a wooden pedestrian bridge at Sheepshead Bay Road, has been widened and developed with promenades, docks, and restaurants and is referred to by residents of Sheepshead Bay and Manhattan Beach as "the canal." It can be visited by car from the Belt Parkway (exits 8 and 9), or by subway, from the Sheepshead Bay Station of the B Q trains. Marine traffic is restricted by the pedestrian bridge.


  1. ^ Kadinsky, Sergey (2016) Hidden Waters of New York City Countryman Press. Pp. 200-203 ISBN 978-1-58157-355-8
  2. ^ NYC Parks Dept Coney Island Creek Park
  3. ^ JONAH OWEN LAMB (August 6, 2006). "The Ghost Ships of Coney Island Creek". The New York Times. Retrieved June 11, 2014. 
  4. ^ Moynihan, Colin (November 9, 2007). "In Coney Island Creek, Hulk of a Yellow Submarine Sticks Out". The New York Times. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 

Coordinates: 40°34′45″N 73°59′20″W / 40.57917°N 73.98889°W / 40.57917; -73.98889