Objects

Objects 

The underwater objects collected here are arranged in no particular order to encourage you to peruse the list and make new discoveries each time you visit it. These objects have come to us after being found by the Army Corps of Engineers and the Cultural Research Divers, by teachers exploring Dead Horse Bay with us on a professional development, by friends wandering along the shore, in newspaper articles and more. We've taken the word of divers and scientists, detectives and engineers, environmentalists and every day city-dwellers. If you know of an object that belongs on our list, be sure to let us know! 


  • Dead Giraffe, Lower New York Bay. As unbelievable as it sounds, it’s true.  When the Army Corps of Engineers dredged up this surprising haul, they guessed it was pitched off the side of a circus ship after it died. Or …  maybe it escaped the circus (go giraffe, go!), only to meet its fate in the Atlantic (stop giraffe, stop!).

 

  • Formica Dinette, East River. Sitting upright, as if waiting to be set, right near 16th Street.  So evocative that we’d accept a hundred stories about this one.

 

  • Grand Piano, Lower New York Bay. Like the dinette, so evocative that we’d totally understand if you wanted to write about this one.  You wouldn’t be alone.

 

  • Piano, Bronx River. The Grand Piano isn’t alone either–another piano was found in the Bronx River! 

 

  • Bars of Silver, Arthur Kill. Arthur Kill, the harbor between Staten Island and New Jersey, is home to 1600 bars of silver, each weighing 100 pounds.  How’d they get there? In 1903, a barge capsized, spilling its cargo.  Some were recovered, but the rest are still down there.  Valued at about $26 million, they’re definitely worth their weight in silver.

 

  • Robot Hand, Great Kills Park Beach. There are moments when an UNY editor can’t believe her eyes–spotting this during a casual autumn stroll along Staten Island’s lovely shore was one of them.

 

  • Kangamouse, Dead Horse Bay. This toy appears to be a kangaroo-mouse hybrid. Although he is missing an ear, his little light-bulb heart is still intact.

 

  • Lost Submarine, Coney Island Creek. This man-made submarine was originally built to dive the ill-fated Andrea Doria,  Needless to say, it turned out to be ill-fated as well.  On top of that, it looks like a sawed-off school bus. See a photo here.

 

  • Baby Doll Leg, Dead Horse Bay. Exhibited at the Silent Beaches, Untold Stories show at St. John's University, this baby doll leg took on a nearly elephantine quality from its time in the salty brine of DHB. Check it out here

 

  • Whistle, South Beach. Ed Fanuzzi found this whistle in the waters off of Staten Island; he believes it once belonged to his uncle, a champion lifeguard. It was included in the Silent Beaches, Untold Stories exhibit at St. John's; you can see it here. 

 

  • Dreamland, Coney Island. One of the earliest and grandest amusement parks in the world.  Alas, it only lasted a few years before it burned down on May 27, 1911. The Dreamland Pier was an elaborate creation that served as an extension to the decadent Dreamland. When the 1911 fire broke out, it collapsed into the water. It was only recently discovered, however, since the piers don’t line up with current street patterns. 

 

  • Dreamland Bell, Coney Island. Before subways connected Coney Island to Manhattan, ferries were one of the most popular ways to get there.  The bell is believed to have sat at the end of the pier, announcing the ferries as they arrived and departed.  Another find by Gene Ritter, of the fabulously amazing Cultural Research Divers.

 

  • Giant Rubik's Cube, Hudson River. In honor of the puzzle's 40th birthday, July 11, 2014, a tugboat towed a huge, inflatable Rubik's Cube down the Hudson. What memories does it trigger? Watch its trip here

 

  • 1968 Lincoln Continental, Coney Island. It was discovered, belly-up, in 1978, just a few feet off the end of the old Steeplechase Pier.

 

  • Steeplechase Pier, Coney Island. Steeplechase Park, like Dreamland before it, was one of the great amusement parks of Coney Island.  The feature attraction was the Steeplechase Ride, a horse race which circled the Pavilion of Fun.  A series of accidents, rivaling factions within the Tilyou family (which owned the park), and a rise in crime caused the park to close permanently in 1964.  As far as we know, this submerged pier is all that remains of the park.

 

 

  • Subway Cars, Hudson River. The Garden State North Reef is constructed, in part, with old subway cars.  Which begs the question, if they can recycle old subway cars in this city, why can’t they recycle all those different kinds of plastic?

 

  • Ice Cream Trucks, The Rockaways. Just like the subway cars, a fleet of these were used to build an artificial reef to lure schools of fish.  Mission accomplished.  Now those same cars that used to deliver your Good Humor ice cream bars are home to black sea bass, porgy, bergall, hake and cod. 

 

 

 

  • Surveillance Systems, New York Harbor. Just when we thought it was safe to go in the water, we found out about these: anti-swimmer sonar systems used by the U.S. Coast Guard to conduct periodic sweeps of the New York Harbor.  You can swim, but you can’t hide! 

 

  • Human Skull, Bronx River. In the 1980s, when Bronx River clean up efforts were in full swing, one of the young women leading a conservation crew for the Bronx River Restoration Project came across a human skull and went through the process of reporting it to the police. Plans are in the works to interview her about her experience, but in the meantime, why not imagine how it all went down? 

 

  • ShinboneNew York Harbor, Staten Island. Listen to David’s story about a mysterious find on a Staten Island beach, and then invent your own… 

 

  • Zone A, New York City. During Hurricane Sandy, many New Yorkers discovered that their love affair with the City’s waterfront could become a battle under the right (or wrong) circumstances. Lives, beaches, homes, cars, photo albums, beloved tokens and much more were lost to the water. We would love to share your stories of objects lost or saved; keep them coming.

 

  • Parts of Zone B, New York City. Parts of neighborhoods that were not in mandatory evacuation zones, like Gerritson Beach and Canarsie, Brooklyn, unexpectedly were inundated with devastating flooding, too.

 

  • Deer, Lower New York Bay. We do not usually expect to see deer in New York City, let alone in the waterways of New York. And yet, in October 2011, three deer were found, frantic, at the foot of the Verrazano Bridge in Brooklyn, the first seen in the borough in many years. Naturally strong swimmers, the deer likely swam over from Staten Island, but the circumstances of their watery journey are suspect: one deer’s hind legs were bound with twine.

 

  • 10mm Glock Handgun, Bronx River. The French filmmakers who accompanied a crew of researchers in their effort to study baby eels in the Bronx River asked if they’d planted this piece of urban naturalism–they hadn’t; it had been dumped in the River after a recent shooting. Read the story of its discovery here.

 

  • Gowanda the Harp Seal, Gowanus Canal. In 2003, an injured harp seal made its way into the Gowanus Canal and nursed back to health with the help of the Riverhead Foundation. Later that year, the fan club of Tama-Chan, a Japanese sister-(survivor-of-urban-waters)-seal, came to visit Gowanda. Really.

 

  • Mysterious White Goo, Gowanus Canal. A mixture of bacteria, protozoans, and contaminants.  Oh my.  Scientists are now studying the goo for its medical potential, since it’s managed to not only invent itself, but propagate in one of the most polluted canals in the city.

 

  • Clara Bell Clown, Dead Horse Bay. We were delighted, and more than a bit freaked out, to be greeted by this guy as soon as we stepped onto the beach. The text on his box says “Clara Bell”—the new “Rosebud”? See a photo here

 

  • Baby Doll Heads, Dead Horse Bay. If you are the type to squeeze real, live babies’ chubby cheeks, these pre-squeezed plastic baby doll heads are probably your worst nightmare. See a photo here

 

  • Dentures and Toothbrushes, Dead Horse Bay. One half of a set of the former, scores of the latter. Whose mouths have they seen? See photos here

 

  • Princess Anne Steamship, The Rockaways. Built in 1897 for the Old Dominion line, the Captain missed the entrance to New York Harbor and stranded the ship on Rockaway Shoals.  Despite severe weather, the passengers were all taken to safety, but strangely, the crew refused to leave without their luggage, which could not fit in the life boat.  They stayed onboard for nine days, until the ship split in half and they had to be rescued.  WTF?

 

  • Silicone Breasts, Coney Island. We don’t really know the story behind these, so make one up and send it to us. 

 

  • Freight Train, Hudson River. In 1865, a train carrying passenger baggage failed to stop at the Peekskill drawbridge, which was open, and the train plummeted into the river. Two young stowaways survived. 

 

  • State Secrets, Lower Hudson. A few years ago, near the Kings Point Maritime Academy, someone dropped a piece of secret equipment into the river that had to be recovered by the U.S. Coast Guard to prevent state secrets from being compromised. We have no idea what state secrets this device could keep, but we’re sure glad they didn’t leak into the Hudson. There are enough dirty secrets in that river already (see Two Shipwrecks On Top of Each Other). 

 

  • South Street Seaport Museum, East River.The Museum was built on landfill and was returned to the sea during Hurricane Sandy when it was flooded with six feet of water. Just a month earlier, UNY collaborated with the American Folk Art Museum’s exhibition of nautical folk art to present a reading of original stories based on the building and the work. 

 

  • White Boat, Coney Island Creek. Speed boat no longer, this gutted Larson looks like someone’s unchecked mid-life crisis personified. Well, now we’re editorializing. It’s hard not to. You try looking at this thing without imagining a story behind it. See a photo here

 

  • Hog Island, The Rockaways. Shaped like a hog or grazed by hogs, the etymological jury is out on how Hog Island got its name, but how it got its fame is without debate. A beach retreat for Boss Tweed and his Tammany pals, this island was completely submerged by a category 2 hurricane that hit Brooklyn and Queens on August 23, 1893. 

 

  • Horse Trailer, Bronx River. We’ve heard of plenty of cars winding up in NYC’s waterways, and specifically in the Bronx River, but this is a new one. What happened to the horse?

 

  • Horse Shoe, Bronx River. Did it lose its shoe in the process of escaping the trailer? 

 

 

  • Refrigerator, Bronx River. There used to be an appliance repair shopped that backed up against the Bronx River; when an object was beyond repair, into the river it went!

 

  • Hot Plate, Bronx River. The hot plate was hauled from the Bronx River by Bronx River Restoration Project volunteers.

 

  • Ceiling Fan, Bronx River. It was pulled from the Bronx River by volunteers, but how did it get there?

 

  • Shopping Carts, Bronx River, Coney Island Creek, New Dorp Beach. Countless shopping carts met their fate on the muddy floors of New York City’s waterways.

 

  • Little Red Lighthouse Swimmers, Hudson River. The Little Red Lighthouse Swim takes long distance swimmers on a journey through the currents of the Hudson River. Find out more about it here

 

  • American Eel, Bronx River. In the process of counting migratory baby eels in the Bronx River, researchers discovered a discarded handgun. The gun may be more evocative, but we might argue that the eels are the more surprising find. Read their story here

 

  • Seahorses, Lower New York Bay. Seahorses seem in the realm of unicorns and griffins, but they’re real, and really living in our waterways! The Lined Seahorse is a native New Yorker.

 

  • Baby Jell-OGowanus Canal. This baby jelly was fished from the Gowanus by the New York Times urban forager, and spent a few hours swirled around inside a jar at our evening of poetry and performance at Proteus Gowanus in July. Read the full story of its retrieval from the canal here. See a picture here.

 

 

  • Oysters, White Perch, Herring, Striped Bass, Crabs, Jellyfish, and Anchovies, Gowanus Canal. Who would think that anything, aside from the mysterious white goo, could thrive in such polluted waters?

 

  • Jet Ski, Long Island Sound. This vehicle was obtained by artist Marie Lorenz, who made a print from it. Who rode it before it became artwork? 

 

  • Kawasaki Waverunner, Plum Beach. This is an expensive piece of equipment–how did it wind up buried and alone on a vacant beach? See a photo here

 

  • Green Boat, Dead Horse Bay. Black graffiti scrawled across the pastel hull of the ship suggests a layered story. What is it? See a photo here

 

  • Plastic Purse, Newark Bay. This plastic purse turned up on Shooters Island, a bird sanctuary between Staten Island and New Jersey. Before it landed there, though, it used to be hooked on someone’s arm. Whose? 

 

  • Sitar Baby FigurineDead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here

 

  • Headless Dutch Boy Figurine, Dead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here

 

  • Demolished TeapotDead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here

 

  • Heel with a Key Nailed to It, Dead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. Did these two objects go into the water together or find each other once submerged? See a photo here

 

 

  • Smoking PipeDead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here

 

  • Silver Baby RattleDead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here

 

  • Hebrew Newspaper FossilDead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here.

 

  • Aztec BroilerDead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here

 

  • Lizard Skin Pocketbook, Dead Horse Bay. Found on our excursion with the teachers of the Sarah Lawrence Child Development Institute. See a photo here.

 

  • Dolphins, East River and Newtown Creek. A fireboat captain spotted dolphins near the Navy Yard just a day after a NY Harbor School educator saw a 7-footer in toxic Newtown Creek. What might our misplaced mammalian friends be trying to tell us…? 

 

  • Baby Humpback Whale, beached in East Hampton. For three days in April (2010), this baby fought for its life in the Hamptons before being euthanized (three rounds of sedatives and three gunshots).  Marine biologists didn’t know how it arrived here, but knew it wouldn’t survive on its own, even if freed.

 

  • Pan Flute, Dead Horse Bay. So red and cheerful–imagine the music it would make! 

 

  • Ellis Island Ferry, New York Harbor. This boat once ferried millions of immigrants to Manhattan where the untold future unfolded. The ferry was surfaced in December, 2009, after decades underwater – what a perfectly evocative event for story invention. 

 

  • Produce, Dead Horse Bay. Specifically, a tangerine, a plantain, a sun-bleached jalapeño pepper and a bunch of grapes. We haven’t had any recipe submissions yet, but hey—maybe you could make something tasty. See a photo here

 

  • A Single Red Rose and a Bunch of CarnationsDead Horse Bay. The flowers were so fresh that they couldn’t have been in the water for more than a day. Is it possible to tell their story while avoiding cliché and sentimentality? Try it—we dare you. See a photo here

 

  • Stripped Cars, East River, Gerritsen Beach. Lots of them, near the Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridges, mostly from the 70s and 80s.  We’re guessing this is what people did before Cash for Clunkers.

 

  • Half-Decayed Radio, Coney Island Creek. We found it propped upright along the edge of the creek, strung with seaweed, just waiting for someone to click that Play button. 

 

 

  • Teredos and Gribbles, East River. They’re like underwater termites, chomping at the wood that holds up those little ol’ structures we call bridges.  We knew the Tappan Zee was a total hazard, but FDR Drive? Yet another reason to not own a car in this city.

 

  • Abyss, The Narrows. The deepest point (96 feet) of the river as it flows toward the Atlantic Ocean, near the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge. 

 

  • Birdcage, Gowanus Canal. But what about the bird, we ask you?  What about the bird? 

 

  • Volvo, Gowanus Canal. In May 2009, a man drove his Volvo into the Gowanus.  A firefighter dove into the canal after him and saved the driver.  The firefighter had to have two Hepatitis B shots afterward, though, because he swallowed some water during the rescue.

 

  • Island Growing On A Submerged Barge, Coney Island Creek. Since we can’t seem to shut the writers in us off, we see a metaphor here – new life blooming from the rot of something lost. Tell us what you see. Or rather (our inner workshop-writers correct) show us. Don’t tell. 

 

  • Bottle of Mementos, Hudson River.Said Sayrafiezadeh and his wife, Karen, celebrated their marriage by tossing a bottle of mementos, including his therapist’s business card, into the River.

 

  • Cedar Grove Beach Bungalows, Cedar Grove Beach. The beach bungalows on Cedar Grove Beach were beloved summer homes to Staten Island families for more than a century, until the Parks Department evicted the residents. Read more about them here

 

  • NY Pelagic, all over. Artist George Boorujy launched engraved bottles stuffed with his drawings of pelagic birds and a survey into the waterways of NYC, hoping to hear back from the folks that found them.

 

  • Fort Lafayette, The Narrows. This fort, built by Robert E. Lee, was once a Civil War Confederate Prison. Rebuilt after a catastrophic fire in 1868, the fort was ultimately destroyed in 1960 with the construction of the Verrazano Narrows Bridge.

 

  • Party Barge, Flushing Bay. This labyrinthine abandoned structure just off of College Point is almost unbearably evocative. 

 

  • Plane Crash, Jamaica Bay. American Airlines Flight 1, bound for Los Angeles, crashed shortly after take off on March 1, 1962. Eighty-seven passengers and eight crew members were lost. Fifteen paintings by artist Arshile Gorky, en route to a California exhibition, also went down with the plane.

 

  • Sea Glass, New Dorp Beach. The water recycles our old beer bottles into something more enduringly lovely. 

 

  • Toy Airplane, Dead Horse Bay. How far did this plane travel to land in DHB?

 

  • Ghost Ships, Coney Island Creek. It looks like a graveyard where dozens of old ships came to die.  Spooky and evocative and sad.  On the day we visited, some crazy dance party was raging on the other side of the creek, giving our UNY expedition a surreal quality. See photos here

 

  • Bottles, Dead Horse Bay. Dead Horse Bay is littered with so many bottles, both antique and contemporary, that it has earned the nickname “Bottle Beach.” See photos here

 

 

  • Tons of Silt, Hudson River. Every day, 2200 tons of sediment is carried through the Hudson from upstate.  Although pollution can account for some of it, it’s this silt that gives the Hudson’s water its dismal brown hue.

 

  • Toilet Paper. We’d like to give you the exact location of this stuff, but sadly, it’s everywhere. 

 

 

  • Abandoned Buoy, Coney Island Creek. Found by Adrian Kinloch on one of his evening excursions to Coney Island Creek, where the abandoned collect and decay, or, like this buoy, grow tumor-like conglomerations of rock, rust and mysterious mar. 

 

  • Art in a Bottle, Coney Island Creek. Maggie Tobin asks of this drawing found in a bottle, “Is it an actual [Robert] Smithson or a well conceived prank?”

 

 

  • Gas Main, Hudson River. Each week, this main carries gas from NYC to the Gulf of Mexico.  It takes about a week to make the trip.

 

  • Clams, The Rockaways. Why is this aquatic life unique enough to list, you might ask?  Well, the fact that they’re being fished and eaten, that’s why.  Although most high-end restaurants wouldn’t dare dream of serving you these, some not-so-high-end restaurants do.  Don’t email us to find out who, because we have no idea.

 

  • Blue Crabs, Hudson River. Toxins found in the Hudson River manifest in the innards of blue crabs, which is why the DEC limits how many New Yorkers–especially children and women of child-bearing age–should eat! 

 

  • Shallow Water, East and Hudson Rivers. This makes us think of that Edie Brickell song, but now we’re dating ourselves.  Actually, it’s a true story.  Much of the water that lines the edges of the rivers, plus most of the water near Liberty Island, is less than ten feet deep.

 

  • Fresh Water, Bronx River. The City’s only freshwater river is in the Bronx.

 

  • Heavy Oil, Gowanus Canal. Actually, it’s a combination of silt, coal tar, and something referred to as “black mayonnaise.”  We wish we could be credited with coming up with that term, but we can’t. This mixture lines the bottom of the Gowanus.  Yet another reason for it to be declared a Superfund site. 

 

  • Hurricane Sandy, All Over. Also known as Superstorm Sandy, this disaster plunged way too much of New York underwater.

 

  • New Main Stream, Hudson River. This refers to a current pattern, not a cultural trend.  When Battery Park City was built in the 1970s, it re-routed the current in the Hudson, which now scrapes the protective layer of mud off the top of the Lincoln Tunnel.  If the tunnel ever becomes exposed, the Port Authority will have to start worrying about potential cracking, shifting, and terrorist threats. 

 

  • Currents, All Over. New York City’s waterways have constantly changing currents.

 

  • Wharf Rats, The Narrows. Even though New Yorkers are used to seeing these creatures run the subway tracks while they’re waiting for a train, next time you’re near a wharf, take a look.  Surprise!

 

  • HMS Hussar, East River. This British vessel sank in Hell Gate in 1780, with treasure aboard, so the rumor goes. Salvage attempts over the years have been futile; the remains of the ship may lie in a Bronx landfill. Hear a story about it here

 

  • Schools of Contaminated Fish, Hudson River / Rockaways / Coney Island. Despite the pollutants that surround our fair city, fish like shad and striped bass are increasing in number.  One of the goals of Underwater New York is to do more outreach to organizations that have a vested interest in the health of our waterways.  This is why.

 

  • Rebar, East River. The water’s edge is sharply defined by concrete in order to accommodate docks and roads but, over time, the concrete cracks, revealing tons of rebar.  The rebar acts as a kind of netting, snagging lots of random junk like old tires and garbage cans.

 

  • Boot, Plum Beach. We always wonder–how do you lose just one shoe?

 

  • Cleat, DUMBO. Which ships did this cleat once anchor to shore? 

 

  • Old Channels, New York Harbor. One of these channels is Ambrose Channel, which is the main shipping route into New York Harbor.  It’s 45 feet deep, which isn’t big enough for the newest super-container ships.

 

  • Dead Bodies, East River. Because of the current, they tend to accumulate in nooks and crags near the Manhattan Bridge.  This makes us sad.

 

  • Dead Body, Little Neck Bay. Sadly, there’s probably been at least one in every NYC waterway. 

 

  • Alligators, Hudson River. Not real ones, mind you, but just as dangerous.  These alligators are the wooden pilings at the edge of Manhattan.  When they’re knocked loose, they become treacherous floaters, ready to ram into anything that crosses their path.

 

  • Shark, Gowanus Canal. In 1952, it made its way into the canal.  The cops ended up shooting it.  R.I.P little sharkie.

 

  • Contaminated Mud, New York Harbor. In order to accommodate the biggest and newest container ships, old channels need to be deepened.  As a result, the bottom of the harbor is being dredged up, which is full of contaminants like mercury and DDT.  The cost of getting rid of this contaminated sludge is insane, and ironically, we’re doing it to tap into the commerce we’re losing by not being able to fit these mammoth ships.

 

  • Shipwrecks, all over. Hundreds of them have been uncovered in the lower Hudson.  They’re archaeological sites, however, so their exact location remains a secret, even to us. 

 

  • Oil, Toxins, and Raw Sewage, Newtown Creek. Newtown Creek is an estuary that traverses the border between Brooklyn and Queens.  It is infamous for its 17 million gallons of oil, raw sewage, and chemicals, making it one of the most polluted industrial sites in America.

 

  • Reef Ball Habitats, Hudson River. Seven hundred of them, to be exact.   The habitats resemble small concrete igloos, and were made by inmates at Cumberland County Penitentiary to house fish in the Garden State North Reef.

 

  • Lightship Frying Pan, Chelsea Pier 66, Hudson River. This lightship was submerged for three years in the Chesapeake Bay before its current owners acquired it.  Now you can get drunk on it, and throw launch parties devoted to underwater objects

 

 

  • Minke Whale, Gowanus Canal. Like the shark before it, the whale swam into the canal in 2007, beached itself, and sadly, died.  R.I.P little whale. 

 

  • Mermaid, The Coral Room. Mermaids have wet dreams. So says Julie Atlas Muz, a performance artist, former Miss Exotic World, and head mermaid of the 9,000 gallon tank at The Coral Room in Chelsea. We wish The Coral Room was still open, but through your stories, the mermaid show can live on… 

 

 

  • Scooter, Newtown Creek. It’s kind of like a hipster ghost rider. (Thankfully no skull in sight.) We do have to wonder what treasures were hidden beneath the seat… Take a look at Nate Dorr’s photo, and tell us a story about this ill-fated ride. 

 

  • Eyeglasses, Dead Horse Bay. What scenes have these glasses framed over the years?

 

 

  • Concrete Pilings, East River. Artist Rick Caruso says, of a housing complex built on Manhattan’s East Side: “The other weird aspect of Waterside is that it’s built on a platform jutting into the East river which is supported by – I think – hundreds of concrete pilings and they actually have a team of full time divers that dive everyday to check and fortify the pilings.” 

 

  • Mussel Shells, New Dorp Beach. The stuff of poetry–blue-black shells, alone or in piles.

 

  • Pants, New Dorp Beach. There are so many ways one could lose a pair of pants at the beach. How did these get here?

 

  • Shoes, Dead Horse Bay. Maybe all shoes look old when they’ve been worn down by the sea, but the ones that wash up on DHB seem especially ghostly. See a photo here

 

  • Yellow Bear, Dead Horse Bay. This sunny little guy was cartwheeling across DHB when we found him.

 

  • St. John’s Guild Children’s Hospital, New Dorp Beach. Over the years, entropy washed this abandoned children’s hospital into the waters off of Staten Island. Read more about it here

 

  • Waterpod, Various Locations. A project by artist Mary Mattingly, the first UNY reading took place aboard the Waterpod when it was docked in Queens. 

 

  • Tampon Applicators, New Dorp Beach. We’ve heard these are known locally as “beach whistles.”

 

  • PS General Slocum, East River. On June 15, 1905, the General Slocum caught fire and sank in the East River, taking with it 1,021 German immigrants on their way to a church picnic. It was the worst maritime disaster in NYC’s history and the gravest loss of life until September 11th.

 

  • 1897 Pocketwatch, Coney Island. Another find courtesy of Gene Ritter. This baby was keeping time well over a century ago. What else did it keep? Tell us its secrets…

 

  • Tugboats, Arthur Kill. How does a city wind up with a graveyard full of tugboats? You can find us the real answer, or you can invent your own.

 

  • Couch, Arthur Kill. It must take a lot of effort to move a whole couch into a waterway, no?

 

  • Roller Skates, Dead Horse Bay. We found one and the folks at Proteus Gowanus had another... did the same little girl once own both?