6. Dead Horse Bay

Dead Horse Bay hidden beach in NYC

Dead Horse Bay definitely deserves the title of New York City’s most unique beach. The shoreline is covered with old trash, debris, and found items, most notably, a large quantity of glass bottles. The beach was once the site of several horse rendering plants on Barren Island before the age waste disposal concern and regulation. Pounds and pounds of chopped-up horse bones were dumped on the beach.

With the dawn of the automobile age, the beach became a site of industrial waste like scrap metal and car parts. The landfill dump wasn’t shut down until 1953, so much of the trash here comes from before that year, making the beach a quasi-time capsule. In August 2020, the National Park Service closed the beach area after the presence of radiological contamination was discovered.