I’d read about this place awhile back in Elizabeth Royte’s book, Garbage Land, but it hadn’t occured to me that we could actually go there until reading this entry last week in The Freshkills Park e-newsletter:
Once a pristine barrier island, Barren Island played host to horse rendering plants and fish oil factories in the 19th century; the island was connected to Brooklyn by filled land in the 1920s to create Floyd Bennett Field. A landfill established in 1953 began spilling its contents into Dead Horse Bay in the early 1980s, leaving thousands of artifacts along the beach daily. The area is now part of the Gateway Recreation Area and draws year-round explorers and amateur historians combing the beach for treasures from the past.
So yesterday we went there and crunched along this beach of broken glass, so happy not to be barefoot. Debby took these photos and I did my post-apocalyptic version of shell collecting.
Note: I found this recording online of this beach that includes some of the walking on glass sound…
Most of the bottles and jars are broken, but there are still plenty that are completely intact. Lots of amber clorox bottles predating the now more iconic white jugs.
Few bottles or jars have any labeling. Whether painted or paper, most signs of branding have worn away. Except for an occasional embossed logo.
With such an extensive amount of bottles, I had to quickly reset my calculus for choosing what to pick up. I went for intact, relatively scarce (no amber Clorox bottles) with a variety of shapes and embossed details. More to come about my selections another day. Maybe tomorrow.
(A couple more photos, after the fold…)
Beach Packaging Design