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  • We’re really excited to announce the details of the next For the Love of Brooklyn meet-up, and this time we’re heading south to the shore! Our May meet-up will be in Brighton Beach, thanks to the great suggestions of several members. The plan is to meet up at L&B Spumoni Gardens, the famous 71-year-old pizza joint in South Brooklyn.

    After a slice (or three or four!), we’ll head south past the Coney Island railyards to the bungalow community in Brighton Beach. If bungalows and footpaths in Brooklyn sound crazy to you, check out Nathan Kensinger’s blog for a fantastic photo essay of what to expect. Still unconvinced? Check out this map and try to pull up a street view of all the little courts and lanes! See?!

    We’ll likely end up strolling along the boardwalk at the golden hour since Saturday’s weather forecast looks gorgeous. Can’t wait! Hope everyone has a fabulous week. Check out the details below and some total eye candy from Lyouba Assadourova!

    Date: Saturday, May 1st
    Time: 2:30pm
    Location: L&B Spumoni Gardens (map)
    Via MTA: D to 25th Avenue, N to 86th Street – Gravesend
    Alternate: If you can’t join us for pizza by 3:30 or so, but would like to catch up afterward near the beach, send us a note and get in touch!

    “Soaking the Sun,” by Lyouba Assadourova:
    Soaking the Sun

    “Brighton Beach Boardwalk,” by Lyouba Assadourova:
    Brighton Beach Boardwalk

    “Paperback Reader,” by Lyouba Assadourova:
    Paperback Reader

    On March 20th, twenty countries all over the world observed Obscura Day by participating in 80 events all designed to celebrate hidden treasures in their local communities. This day was orchestrated internationally by a group called Atlas Obscura, which seeks to send explorers out into the world to investigate the curious, the oddball, and the truly bizarre. Down the rabbit hole, baby.

    bottle beach

    Vintage bottles on the beach at Dead Horse Bay.

    As part of this massive day dedicated to exploration, I trekked out past Floyd Bennett Airfield to explore Dead Horse Bay, a fascinating inlet just this side of the Rockaways. The Bay had piqued my interest ever since reading about it on Nathan Kensinger’s blog last year. The fantastic folks at Underwater New York had organized the visit in tandem with Atlas Obscura, and they brought loads of historical articles to read through as we explored the beach.

    fields of gold

    Beautiful seaside grasses hide secrets of the industrial wasteland past.

    It turns out that the bay is actually a former island (“Barren Island”) which was the primary trash processing facility for the New York metro area beginning in the 1850′s. The bay acquired its gruesome name as an ode to the past; at one point, there were as many as two dozen animal processing facilities operated by a colony of settlers who turned the remains of fish from fish oil plants, streetcar horses, and the city’s dead animal population into fertilizers. The island supported a population of as many as 1,500 residents at its peak, though the lack of sewage and electricity, when combined with the stench one could reportedly smell from two miles away, made it a blight on the Brooklyn landscape.

    bones on the beach

    Fragments of bone and glass litter the beach.

    In the 1920′s, once automobiles had started to replace horses and NYC had begun dumping its trash into the sea, the island population declined. In the late 1920′s, nearby Floyd Bennett Airfield was built and landfill construction connected Barren Island to the Brooklyn mainland. Now, the topography of the area has once again changed into the beautiful Gateway National Recreation Area, though relics of the past remain at Dead Horse Bay (especially at low tide). Despite its bizarre past, Dead Horse Bay is truly one of the most interesting places I’ve visited in Brooklyn, and a strangely beautiful glimpse of post-industrial anthropology.

    morning routine

    Vintage ephemera hint at the morning routines of my great-grandparents. Now where is my toothpaste…

    singular procession

    I was struck by how peaceful the beach is.

    washed ashore

    Washed ashore: old boats, cast iron sinks, driftwood, you name it.

    brooklyn tropicale

    A coconut? In Brooklyn?!

    what is this?

    I can’t even speculate.

    fibonacci shell

    Beautiful shells from hundreds of miles away litter the beach, often in better condition than the glass!

    mission beverages

    Vintage bottles are a scavenger’s dream.

    driftwood on the bay

    Long walks on this beach are more than memorable.