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Will Ellis Dead Horse Bay-Brooklyn-NYC

Back by popular demand, join photographer/urban explorer Will Ellis, author of Abandoned NYC and Untapped Cities columnist, on a walk through the weird side of New York history at Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay on Saturday, May 2nd. Tales of buried pirate treasure, putrefied animal carcasses, and environmental devastation abound on this desolate shoreline, which once served as the final destination for the city’s carriage horses. Today this beach-comber’s paradise is covered with garbage dating back to a 1920s landfill deposit, offering a fascinating look at what New Yorkers were throwing away a century ago.  Bring a bag for take home a few of the incredible artifacts you’re sure to stumble upon—there’s plenty of trash to go around.

Join us on May 2nd as we escape again into New York’s past, revisiting history with Abandoned NYC’s Will Ellis. He’ll be giving a historical introduction to the site, weaving in tales from his experience photographing for his book Abandoned NYC, and showing the best places to look for artifacts.

The tour will meet at in front of the Target a block from the Flatbush Av- Brooklyn College subway stop at 12:45 pm to take the Q35 Bus together. See below for a video showing what you might see on our tour of Dead Horse Bay.

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Dead Horse Bay-Brooklyn-Vintage Bottles-Landfill-Garbage-Beach-Jamaica Bay-NYC_18

On a cold start to spring this past Saturday, over 20 explorers headed to an Untapped Cities tour of Dead Horse Bay in south Brooklyn with Will Ellis, author of Abandoned NYC to learn about the history of the area, as well as go antique hunting for bottles and other discarded materials. The landfill was in operation from the 1930s to 1940s, and as Will pointed out, even though the landfill was capped in 1953, erosion from each successive tide regularly eats away at the shoreline where you can see refuse waiting to be sifted out.

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Will Ellis Dead Horse Bay-Brooklyn-NYC

Join photographer/urban explorer Will Ellis, author of Abandoned NYC and Untapped Cities columnist, on a walk through the weird side of New York history at Brooklyn’s Dead Horse Bay. Tales of buried pirate treasure, putrefied animal carcasses, and environmental devastation abound on this desolate shoreline, which once served as the final destination for the city’s carriage horses. Today this beach-comber’s paradise is covered with garbage dating back to a 1920s landfill deposit, offering a fascinating look at what New Yorkers were throwing away a century ago.  Bring a bag for take home a few of the incredible artifacts you’re sure to stumble upon—there’s plenty of trash to go around.

Join us on March 21st as we escape into New York’s past, revisiting history with Abandoned NYC’s Will Ellis. He’ll be giving a historical introduction to the site, weaving in tales from his experience photographing for his book Abandoned NYC, and showing the best places to look for artifacts.

The tour will meet at Flatbush Av – Brooklyn College subway stop (exact location to be announced) at 1:45 pm to take the Q35 Bus together. See below for a video showing what you might see on our tour of Dead Horse Bay.


Check out more upcoming Untapped Cities tours and events here, including a book talk with Will Ellis on 2/25 at WeWork West Broadway.

BatceilingGowanus Batcave 

Want the Untapped Cities lists on the go? Check out our Foursquare page and follow us for tips and download the app.

Our most popular list on Foursquare is our Abandoned NYC list. These are Untapped Cities’ favorite abandoned spots in NYC and the surrounding area. Some are break-in-able, some open to the public, some only for the intrepid. It features some great summer escapes like Fort Totten, Dead Horse Bay and Bannerman’s Island, as well as some great winter expeditions. Some places are harder to access, like Glenwood Power Plant and the Gowanus Batcave (both of which have recently been closed off for gutting/renovation, North Brother Island, and some of the abandoned theaters.

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Untapped Cities_New York_Will Ellis_Abandoned NYC-001Photo by Jonathan McPhail Photography

Every week, we highlight one of our 300+ Untapped Cities contributors worldwide. This week, we’re featuring Will Ellis, an Untapped columnist and the explorer behind Abandoned NYC.

What’s your “day job”?

I work as a freelance photographer/videographer/editor and do some teaching, but my labor of love is photographing and researching New York City’s abandoned places for my blog, Abandoned NYC.

What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?

If we’re talking abandoned buildings, it has to be P.S. 186 in Harlem.

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Despite the scarcity of open space, New York City has its share of famous cemeteries from the historic Woodlawn, Green-Wood and New York Marble Cemeteries to the lesser-known “Potter’s Field” on Hart Island. Beyond human remains, however, the city and surrounding areas are also the final resting places of a number of ill-fated objects and living things. See below for our picks for New York’s most interesting non-human graveyards.

1. Payphone Graveyard under the West Side Highway

pay-phone-graveyard-dave-bledsoe-untappedSource: Dave Bledsoe

With wi-fi access now available at many subway stations, it’s hard to imagine a time before smartphones. But the vestiges of a pre-cell phone era still exist in the hundred discarded payphone booths tucked under the West Side Highway at 135th St. and 12th Ave. New York photographer Dave Bledsoe discovered this eerie scene on a recent walk and immediately captured the phone “graveyard.”  (more…)