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Phillip Lopate describes the shape of Manhattan Island as‘a luxury liner, permanently docked, going nowhere’. This feeling of being tethered to the land, unable to get to sea, was a feature of New York life for much of the twentieth century. New York was an island without a coast. The West Side piers that once welcomed the Lusitania spent most of the twentieth century crumbling or behind barbed wire, while the East Side’s coves and points were cut off from pedestrians by six lanes of the Robert Moses-designed Franklin Delano Roosevelt Drive. It wasn’t much easier to reach the shores of Brooklyn, Queens or the Bronx, either: with a few exceptions, they were largely reserved for municipal or industrial use, and easiest to see from the Staten Island Ferry (en route to the borough with the most beaches). Now, slowly, the city is reclaiming its shoreline, with some spectacular results.

Discarded Cars on a Beach by Adrian Kinloch

 OBJECT: Stripped Cars

BODY OF WATER: Gerritsen Beach

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Artist Statement

As Underwater New Yorkers know, Brooklyn has many beaches, each with their own special qualities. The Marine Park Salt Marsh Center is wedged between Flatbush and Gerritsen Avenue just after Avenue U. As you walk along Gerritsen Beach you begin to realize that there are cars spread all along the water’s edge in various stages of decay. Some are buried up to their axels in sand with the top halves rusted away altogether. You can make out the remains of steering wheels and seats where the waves lap, or see complete but burnt and rusted carcasses in the reeds. I am looking for volunteers to accompany me on a return visit to try and identify the manufacturers and ages of these remains. Believe it or not I do find this a beautiful place to walk, with wide views across the water and bracing winds whipping up the surf. There’s something special about feeling so remote and isolated just a few steps from Flatbush Avenue.


Adrian has been taking photographs since age seven, when his grandfather gave him a 1930s folding-bellows Kodak camera. He grew up in Suffolk, England, and has degrees in visual art and third-world development from Staffordshire University. Adrian currently lives and works in Brooklyn as a graphic designer and photographer. His pictures run regularly in The Brooklyn Paper and have also appeared in New York Magazine, O Magazine, and on BBC.com. He also maintains the photo blog Brit in Brooklyn.