Floyd Bennett Field

Jamaica Bay, Mill Basin, Rockaway

landfill dredging wildlife "Jamaica Bay"

Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service .
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Barren Island, was originally an island off the southern end of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, in Jamaica Bay. The area is separated from the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens by the Rockaway Inlet. It once maintained a somewhat diverse community for its time, supported mainly by a fish rendering plant and other industries related to offal products. The island housed a plant that rendered horse bones (supplied from the streets of New York City, and elsewhere) into glue. This activity inspired the name Dead Horse Bay to the still extant water body on the western shore.[1]

Throughout the later 19th century, a mostly Irish community developed a small village amidst the various factories and plants. By the 1920's, its Main St. even had a school. But its days were numbered. Beyond the replacement of horses by automobiles, Barren Island stood in the way of Robert Moses vision for Jamaica Bay, its residents were displaced, and the landmass joined to Floyd Bennett Field. 

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Bottle Beach is one of Barren Island's premier attractions, a collection of mid-20th century trash, mostly glass. According to one reader on Citynoise.org, the reason that its "giving up its treasures is because of the dredging that occurred about a 1/4 mile off the beach in front of the marina. They dug 60-80 foot holes which we marked in the early eighties with our depth recorders while fishing. These holes naturally filled themselves in sucking in the surrounding beaches and marshlands. These beaches would have never eroded as fast as they have if that fill wasn’t removed. Now the waves hit the landfill cap and have exposed the dumping that occurred on Barren Island from 1950-1955. The worst 'under the table' chemical dumping in our cities history. I have watched this unfold since 1981. That's when we started seeing plates and bottles show up very slowly. Now the cap is wide open." [2]

Today, it is now connected to the Brooklyn mainland, owing to landfill in order to connect a series of marsh islands (Barren Island being the largest) to create Floyd Bennett Field. All of what was once was Barren Island is now part of the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service .[3]

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