Floyd Bennett Field and Dead Horse Bay

I have been out of commission for a few weeks with a leg injury. No, not bike related. I am just getting too old to play basketball with high school kids. Tore my right calf bad. Fortunately I could still ride to work, but could not walk around for adventures. On one of those trips to work, Bonnie hit a milestone. She turned over the 40,000 mile mark. Beyond the odometer and across the street (in the photo) is the home of Kaufman Studios in Queens. The Marx Brothers made their first two movies here and more recently Kaufman Studios has wrapped up filming for Men in Black III.

Well, with the leg getting better I decided to ride over to Floyd Bennett Field and Dead Horse Bay. I posted about Floyd Bennett Field before, when I attended the annual Pow Wow there. This time I went back for other reasons. As I looked at the area on Google Satellite, I noticed some of the buildings had holes in the roof. That can only mean one thing! It’s empty and waiting to be explored. The Restricted Area and No Trespassing signs confirmed my suspicions (not that I noticed them at the time). Shhhh.

These buildings seem to be old barracks for the one time airport. Nowadays there are Marine reserves to the left and an NYPD helicopter training facility to the right. These barracks may have been home to Coast Guard Aviation or U. S. Naval Reserve Aviation, both of whom used the base in the past.

I was able to date when people once roamed these premises as I opened a newspaper. It was December 1976. In the movie section I saw such films as Carrie, The Silver Streak and Marathon Man along with various adult flicks from the old Times Square days.

This bird nest was the only sign of life in the building these days.

Next I visited an old pump station. Inside were two large engines used to pump water throughout the area, plus some other rusty bits and a baseball.

I pulled the dipstick out of this monster below. The oil was fresh as if it had been poured in yesterday.

Then I approached the power station with massive generators inside. I chose not to climb in (there was a lot of activity in a nearby building), but I did snag some shots through various windows surrounding the place.

From Floyd Bennett Field I headed over to Dead Horse Bay. It’s just across Flatbush Avenue from the old airport. Dead Horse Bay got it’s name quite literally from the old glue factory that used to be here. Before cars, everything in NYC was pulled by horse. When those horses died they would be carted off to this place and turned into glue, glycerin or fertilizer. The land itself is atop an old landfill. On the southeast corner of the island where the beach is, there is a breach in the landfill exposing glass, ceramic and rusty treasures from days gone by.

Did I mention…Dead Horse Bay is haunted by old soles.

This old rusty can sat defiantly upright as the tide rolled in.

Unfortunately the tide was high while I was there. I must return at low tide with waterproof boots. I imagine with each tide new treasures are unearthed. This could become a habit.

I returned to Dead Horse Bay to see it at low tide.

It was so windy on this day that I skipped the Belt Parkway and took the full length of Flatbush Avenue back to Manhattan. While crossing the Manhattan Bridge I snapped this shot.

8 Responses to “Floyd Bennett Field and Dead Horse Bay”

  1. your work is blowing me away! i was at an old railroad depot in Williamsburg, Mass that reminds me of some of your photos (i’ m a big fan of rust) but it was just a little too spooky and I have a vivid imagination. i couldnt quite be brave enough to get the shots… So thanks again for the art and inspiration!

  2. bob stone Says:

    I lived in the barracks at #1 Aviation Rd. at Floyd Bennett from 1948-1950. I attended kindergarten here in a two room school. My father was a WW2 decorated flyer and we lived here due to the housing shortage following the war. On windy days we would fly a large canvas target kite in the flat lot area near Flatbush Ave. The Green Bus Line serviced the area. I was 3-5 years old and watched PBYs take off and land in the bay. In summer we walked across the bridge to Riis Park. We had block parties with kegs of beer and people singing old time songs. They were all vets and their families. I wondered why the guards at the gate would salute when we passed them and did not realize that my dad was a captain and that was the reason.

    • Wow Bob! When I explore places like this I like to imagine what life was like for the people who once lived there. What a pleasure to hear the living history. Your vivid descriptions brought a clear picture to mind. Thank you so much and thanks to your father for his service!

  3. Did you snag any old glass or cups? That HotelPines mug looked pretty cool!

  4. Pat, seems we were at both places a day apart from each other. I’ll be posting my pics eventually on Flickr, need to finish working on my greenwood pics first.

  5. Congrats on the 40K mark. I was once stationed USCG STA Govoners Island, NY – I really enjoy and look forward to your pictorial tour of NY. I have my Harley for sale/trade on Craigslist for a Bonnie; but no takers. Keep it up…and damn the knees! Doug

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