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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.

Dead Horse Bay by Adel Souto

I read about Dead Horse Bay while researching odd spots in NYC for my blog, This Hidden City. I had to see it for myself, and visited on Halloween, a little after low tide ended. It was a mild, but windy day. I parked too far, and it took forever for me to find an entrance to the bay. While I did take a few photos, I could hardly believe what I had seen. I returned with my girlfriend the following week, at the most extreme low tide. It was a colder, though less ominous day. I knew my way around this time, and did a bit more exploring. These photos are from both visits.


Adel Souto is a Cuban-born artist, writer, and musician, currently living in Brooklyn. He has released several books, including a “best of” chapbook on the subject of a 30-day vow of silence, and has also translated the works of Spanish poets. His work has been shown in galleries in NYC, Philadelphia, and Miami, as well as in Europe and South America. His music videos have been screened at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives, and he has lectured on the subject of occult influences in photography at NYU's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development's Department of Art and Art Professions. He currently produces the public access TV show, Brooklyn’s Alright If You Like Saxophones.