Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Winter pilgrimage - Dead Horse Bay

A last-minute suggestion by the Frenchman resulted in a Zipcar-driven snowy outing to Dead Horse Bay. Snow makes New York new, and we have made the most of it (maybe that is why my cold/flu/whatever it is won't go away).

I had never seen these paths in the middle of winter before - though I know them well in spring and later summer, when the wild black cherries drip with black pearls of fruit.

A lot of old sumac persevered beside the paths, and in the white crust we saw rabbit prints, a characteristic triangle of indentations.

Bayberry buds have appeared on the shoreline shrubs. If you have full sun and well drained soil, this is an excellent indigenous American herb. Good for rooftops, too, as they tolerate some drought, and wind.

As luck would have - we didn't plan it - the tide was out, and the glass treasure of Dead Horse Bay was exposed. It was a day for blue bottles, the glass, not stinging, kind, and here - below - the sand is being shaken from one - we carried our haul in a kikoi.

The eroding landfill, below.

And its contents end up here. Yep, you need strong shoes.

The end of Schlitz...

Eventually we worked our way right round and headed back inland.

We made a quick tour of nearby Floyd Bennett Field, in the hopes of spotting snowy owls. We stopped for our traditional winter picnic of Fast Tomato Soup (15 minutes from start to Thermos). Later, all we found was the late afternoon sunset, over the Rockaways. No owls. Too warm for owls.

And then it was home on the roaring BQE. Pixillated because of my telephoto (attached for hopeful owls) and no energy to change lenses.

After a two-year hiatus I will lead a spring walk at Dead Horse Bay, which should be a lot fun: I have timed it to coincide with a new moon and an early afternoon low tide. Follow the link for details as well as for the other walks (Fort Tryon, Central Park) that I am adding to the spring schedule.



  1. Fascinating stuff here, Marie. And great photos! I remember my parents referencing Floyd Bennett Field but don't think we ever went there. Looking it up on Wikipedia, I see that the native grasses of Long Island are being preserved there as part of the National Park section. I grew up nearby on the Hempstead Plains in Garden City & was glad to see that at least some of the old Plains have been salvaged. My home town was first developed in the 1860s from grassland plains and later, potato fields. Hard to believe now. This was after we moved from the Heights, obviously. What do you do with the old bottles, just wondering? The Schlitz bottle made me feel about 12 years old again; thanks for that! Hope you will gets lots of folks for your planned excursion there and -- of course -- to Fort Tryon Park (sigh!) as well.
    Thanks for yet another terrific NY post!
    Diane, now out on another, very different Plains locale

  2. I would be in heaven going through those colored glass bottles! Hope you got some good treasures to take home. Pinning your soup recipe - sounds great!

  3. Funny, I had not seen the picture of me dutifully emptying that bottle. They make a great - albeit relatively pointless - row in the bathroom now, but they will no doubt shine when the weather gets better. Maybe the value is in the collecting more than in the actual use?


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