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Monday, September 26, 2011

Jamaica Bay

Three years ago I took a rowboat with Marie Lorenz out to North Brother Island, the most desolate census tract in New York. Last month we took the same, albeit slightly more beat up, rowboat out to the second most desolate census tract in New York - Jamaica Bay. Check out the pics and commentary here.

The Jamaica Bay islands are actually split between Brooklyn and Queens - as a result they're divided into three different tracts: the populated part of the islands (which is Broad Channel, Queens), the unpopulated parts of the Queens side (which are home to Cross Bay Boulevard and the Jamaica Wildlife Center), and the Brooklyn side. The Brooklyn side has no residents, no industry, and no land connection, save for a tiny sliver of the island that hosts Cross Bay Boulevard. I'm calling it the second most desolate tract because, unlike North Brother, it's legal to visit most (but not all) of the islands, and we also actually ran into a guy walking his dog on one. When we asked how often he saw people out here, his answer was "hmmm... the last time was probably about a year ago."

Altogether we visited one Brooklyn island, one Queens island, and one split between the two boroughs (mostly in Queens, with a small sliver in Brooklyn). We also made two stops on the Rockaway Peninsula: once right past the CrossBay Bridge, where we grabbed a beer at a bayfront bar and lunch at Rockaway Taco (this was a weekday, so thankfully minus the lines); and once at the end of the trip on the tip of Far Rockaway, where we ditched the boat and hoofed it back to the A-train. If we had just gone a slight bit further, we would have landed in Nassau, making it a three-county boat trip. Oh well - next time.

The most interesting thing about Jamaica Bay is how shallow it is. We literally walked through the bay from one island to another.       

Neighborhoods: Jamaica Bay, Far Rockaway, Rockaway Park, Seaside
Tracts Walked: B703.03, Q1702.02, Q942.02, Q1008

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