Perhaps you’ve heard of an elephant graveyard, but what about a boat graveyard? Does such a thing exist? Turns out it does, and New York City has one. Known as the Witte Marine Scrap Yard, the Arthur Kill Boat Yard, or simply the “Staten Island Boat Graveyard,” the city’s only remaining commercial marine salvage yard is located in Rossville, Staten Island, near the Fresh Kills Landfill which Untapped took a tour of in the midst of its conversion into a park. As any New Yorker who likes to explore the city, I was anxious to see this “boat graveyard”–even if it meant I would have to trek to Staten Island to do so. So early one Sunday morning, a few friends and I boarded the Staten Island Ferry, hopped on local bus S74 to reach Rossville, Staten Island. During the hour bus ride, we passed what seemed like countless graveyards, and I watched as the landscape became increasingly more suburban and forested (so this is what Staten Island looks like, huh?)
We were the last passengers to get off the bus. The area was so quiet you could easily forget you were still in New York City. We scanned the site for the boatyard’s entrance, but it was not to be so easily revealed. Determined, we pressed on, eventually finding a trail through the woody brush from which we were able to get our first views of the boatyard. Excited by our discovery, we walked cautiously through the swampy terrain and over wooden logs, hoping to get closer to the boats.
However, it quickly became obvious sneakers would not suffice in the marshy footing and that unless we were willing to risk needing a tetanus shot, it would be dangerous to continue walking much closer. After taking it all in, we finally emerged from the woods, used a local business’ hose to wash the sulfur smelling mud from our sneakers and waited for the bus to begin our trip back to Manhattan. According to Travis Pendlebury, who was able to get onto the boats and capture the fantastic moody pictures below, to get the boats you have to “go through the yard of the closest house to the graveyard. It leads all the way back around to the boats. but, be careful, the house has a no trespassing sign and it’s mighty dangerous to climb around all those old wood structures.” Or you could kayak there…
Get in touch with the author @untappedmich.