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Floyd Bennett Field and Dead Horse Bay

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2012 by Pat Regan

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.

Staten Island Part 2

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 13, 2012 by Pat Regan

A few weeks ago I made my first trip to visit Staten Island. Well here I am again. See, it’s my friend Bobby V’s fault really. After my last journey I got a message from him saying, “You’re on SI and didn’t look for the Godfather house?” Who knew? And if such an iconic treasure like this went unnoticed, what else could be out there? Let’s have a look shall we.

The Godfather

Sure enough there it was! A huge smile hit my face as I rolled up on the one time home of The Godfather.

I pulled the bike around back so as not to arouse any suspicion.

There was no one around so I checked the place out and assumed various bodyguard poses.

The pool to the left of the house was the location of the garden where Brando’s character dropped dead. That knocked over stone bench is in that scene (only it’s not knocked over).

Reaching for that shoulder holster I’m finding nothing but a stinky armpit.

This is the yard where the wedding scene takes place. It was a lot of fun walking around the grounds of this sacred movie setting. And for a mere 2.9 million bucks, it’s yours! Or, you can make them an offer they can’t refuse.

New York City Farm Colony on Staten Island

If you know this blog you already know I have a taste for the long forgotten places. I love wandering in and out of crumbling structures, finding artifacts and piecing together stories from the past. So when I read about this “Farm Colony” on Staten Island I was curious. What kind of farm was this? This was a Poor Farm. A now forgotten place for once forgotten people.

All I knew before I arrived was that there was this place with numerous abandoned buildings. I had no idea how many or their actual purpose. I was just game to explore. Come inside.

There are 4 giant H shaped buildings (former dormitories) with seemingly endless long corridors.

I visited about 9 buildings total. It was fascinating to crawl in and out of these decrepit old buildings once filled with people who truly had nowhere else to go.

I am on the third floor of this building above. To my right is a long drop into a large pile of debris once known as the roof.

The building above was the lunatic asylum and nurses quarters.

This place was a tinderbox besides resembling a pile of pixie sticks that could easy collapse with a slight tremor.

I saw a couple teen-age kids outside the last building I wanted to check out. I saw about 5 of them earlier. They were shooting stuff with pellets and paintballs. There were only two of them so I asked if the rest were still shooting inside. They said no. I went inside and headed down to the basement. Without my headlamp I would not be able to see a thing. But now I was smelling something of concern.

Those little shits were trying to burn this place down. They had draped this fabric and lit it on fire. I wish I had taken a photo while it was still ablaze, but I instinctively beat the flames out with a board. It wasn’t that bad, but damn!

I found an old map of this place online. There may be one building I missed. I guess I haven’t seen the last of Staten Island.

CLICK HERE for a report and history of the farm.