This past Saturday, I ventured to the outskirts of Brooklyn to an eerie and peculiar place called Dead Horse Bay. It had been on my list of "things to see / do" in NYC for the longest, but every time I felt the itch to go - I talked myself out of it. There were so many factors to think of and it felt so overwhelming to plan. I googled everything under the sun about this place, but never found a full comprehensive guide - so I figured I'd write one! I've been getting a lot of questions about my experience there, and I'm hoping this is helpful for some of you looking to explore this hidden gem yourself.
HOW TO GET THERE
I took the 2 subway line train to the very end (Flatbush Ave / Brooklyn College) then switched to the Q35 bus (which parks near Target / Applebee’s about 1-2 blocks from where the subway exit) and got off at Floyd Bennet Field / Ryan Visitor Center. I questioned whether or not the distance from the subway to the beach area was walkable - and it probably can be done as there is a sidewalk for most of that stretch - but I opted for the bus instead as that seemed like the most common suggestion I came across in my research. The bus will drop you off on the side of the highway (literally), and there will be a creepy unmarked trail leading to the beach. (There isn't really a grand sign that says DEAD HORSE BAY or anything). Once you enter the trail, you'll be surrounded by tall overgrown grass. The path will split into 3 somewhere in the middle - and any of those 3 paths will take you to the beach.
WHEN TO GO
Check the tide times before you visit. Plan to go during low tide - when more of the beach will be walkable (and more treasures will be visible). If you go during high tide, a lot of it will be under water. I got there around 10:30 AM, and by 1:30 PM most of what I could see and walk over when I got there was completely underwater. Ideally, I wanted to get there even earlier. Tide times change every day, though - so be sure to Google before you go (or download a tide app)!
WHAT YOU'LL FIND
The bay is filled with artifacts from a 1920-1930s landfill whose cap broke in the 1950s. Despite the fact that there is a lot of broken glass, it is most known for the abundance of whole (unbroken) glass bottles. I took home quite a few mini bottles. There's also quite a bit of broken pottery scattered about, and I had a lot of fun picking up a wide spectrum of colored shards (see top image). Really, there is no telling what exactly you'll find - as with any beach combing trip - and that's kinda the beauty of it. Dead Horse Bay is definitely a beach comber's dream - and the *ultimate* "trash beach." I love looking through the location tag on Instagram, and have seen other people come away with: plastic toys, creepy doll heads, glass marbles, shoe soles, and a wide array of other goodies.
WHAT TO BRING
If you plan to bring anything home with you - bring a canvas tote bag(s) or even a sturdy bucket. I don't recommend plastic grocery bags because they will likely rip. Also - although not completely essential, gloves can be good to keep your hands from getting too gross (and protect you from cutting yourself).
WHAT TO WEAR ON YOUR FEET
Wear shoes with thick soles. Definitely do not wear sandals or flip flops and definitely don't expect to walk barefoot. Boots of some kind / rain boots are probably the best option. I ended up wearing an old pair of sneakers I didn't care for, and those did just fine. Although if I had waterproof shoes / tall rain boots, I could have gone further out into the bay. (next time!)
Call me crazy but I actually went alone, LOL. And I was terrified on quite a few levels - but I survived. I mean really - who goes out of their way to pick through trash by themselves in a horse graveyard / landfill? ..haha. With that said, I don't per say recommend going alone (especially if you're not familiar with the area - which I wasn't). I was afraid it'd be super sketchy, but I feel like I've walked through worse? I actually ended up tagging along with 2 other strangers I scoped out on the bus (a mother daughter duo, I think). They were wearing rainboots, and I suspected they might be heading to the same place I was (and I was right!) When we entered the trail, I literally told them, "I'm glad I ran into you because this would be terrifying alone." At the end of the day, we compared some of the things we found - which was one of the best parts of the day for me. If I wasn't alone, I probably wouldn't have interacted with them!
If you end up taking a trip to DHB, I'd love to hear / see what you find! If you're still on the fence about venturing out there yourself or if you have any additional questions - ask away in the comments section below, and I'll do my best to answer them. :)