Dead Horse Bay. Real, Live Mermaids.

 Last week, I, Miss Elizabeth “Ceaseless Puritan Work Ethic” Novak, actually took a little break.

I don’t think that I really kept it much of a secret that I had been feeling less than adequate in the head-and-heart health department. At best, it was a little twinge of life not running at capacity; a glitch in the emotional matrix that would work itself out in time. At worst, it was the feelings of everything I like turning against me to highlight what a waste of everything I was (Italics for dramatic effect). Actually, at worst, it really felt like high school. Particularly, the part where you are frustrated and inarticulate and nobody likes you and you look all funny and greasy. Too loud/not loud enough at all the wrong moments. And yes, there was crying.

But this is okay because, when you are a grown-up, you can run away from your problems.

At least, I was able to run away as long as my friends in Greenpoint, Brooklyn, New York City would allow me to crash on their floor. Which was 2.5 days, roughly. And that’s the pretty nice thing about running away- if I run in a certain direction, I get to crash right into good friends who support me… even if I’ve known them for a long time… even if I just met them… and even if they first met me back when I was an angsty teen wearing a lot of black velvet.

Luckily, this scrape with sadness came at the right time: the weekend of the Coney Island Mermaid Parade! This was my fourth parade in 6 years so I felt pretty comfortable keeping my finger off of the camera’s shutter button. I could probably slip in a few photos from last year and you would be none-the-wiser (I even met up with the same friends!), but it is worth it to check out other folks photos from the 2011 edition. I missed much of the parading because train issues made us over an hour late and unable to find many good viewing spots. Those photos would have been sub-par, anyway. That aside, this year’s highlights included cool, ocean breezes, a slice of pizza, not being nearly as hot as last year, and peeping Mr. Lord Whimsy walking by the El Dorado (“Bump Yo Ass Off!” ) bumper cars. We didn’t get to go to the cosmorama– but maybe in the fall!

After we were sufficiently sunned, my friends, that is, Ed and Kate, and I went on an adventure into uncharted territory: Dead Horse Bay! Using only the directions provided by Atlas Obscura, my memory of having seen this blog post, and a half dead iPhone we were able to find our way there AND we were only yelled at once by the bus driver. Hurrah!

At this point, I started trying to take pictures, but found the bay kind of hard to capture. We neglected to aim for low tide so most of the real treasure was submerged by a foot of water. Sheer visible trash volume aside, it was truly a peculiar place: calm, unpopulated, and surrounded by old stuff. Somehow I only want to vacation in iterations of the apocalypse

We were also under prepared as far as bringing things like “bags” or “shovels”.

But with some practice, we perfected a little something that I like to call, “poke at it with a stick”.

One side of the bay was littered with bottles, but also with an assortment of shoes and shoe soles, horse shoe crabs (how thematic!) horse bones left from the former rendering plants and some plastic this-n-thats.

Happy thought time: the kid who wore this is probably dead by now.

The other side was like glass city, even at high tide.

I wore only a crappy pair of Converse All Stars, but thick soled shoes are a must. The beach shines brilliant with myriad points of color but little of that glass has been tossed enough by the sea to dull its edges.

The collector in me kept rolling over and dying- only to be harshly resurrected and reslayed!- every time I came across shards of restaurant-grade Fire King Jadite. Which happened a lot. Because, shit, there was TONS!

And, oh, what’s that? Ah. Just a depression glass juicer with a bite taken out of it. No big. Or, as we have progressed to saying, “NBD.”

Despite that, I was able to find this tiny, perfect, white Johnson and Johnson jar. It was hiding in a half-submerged tire.

We also found this old safe (?)… but but somebody got to it first.

The view was nothing to scoff at, either.

As the sun hung low, we decided to bust out the little sanitary wipes that Kate’s mom had foisted upon her earlier in the week and to catch a bus back to the northern part of the borough- where beer was more plentiful and as well as actively being consumed by friends. Thanks to the train detours, that trip took 2.5 hours, the same amount of time it takes to get from Providence to the Bronx. Just sayin’.

The next day, my friend. Jill, and I tried to catch a ferry to Governor’s Island but service was way backed up, making travel a big, round zero. Instead, we stood around enjoying the cool breeze while looking at this stuff:

Then we loafed around town: hanging out with friends, sipping on drinks and munching hamburgers.

I strongly dislike New York City for a bunch of reasons, some more legit than others but all of them long-winded and totally subjective. However, as the bus was curving through the elevated highways of Queens, I found myself feeling kind of sad leaving it. I felt kind of… affectionate towards it. It felt nice and warm and happy and sunny. We’ve had our differences in opinion but I’m all grown and can see past that now, right? Maybe I could learn to love New York again?



It only took a reading of the Sunday New York Times Arts and Leisure section to remember that I don’t give a crap about the opinions of New Yorkers. If you need further convincing, read anything on the web site Two Inch Cuffs.

Anyone who self-identifies as a “tastemaker” should be trussed up and kicked. A lot.

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3 thoughts on “Dead Horse Bay. Real, Live Mermaids.

  1. jesse.anne.o says:

    That little J&J bottle is a great find. I’ve always wanted to go there but haven’t made it yet. My bf did a sound/visuals project here. They made a little “snow-globe” of stuff they found/water as part of it.

    Okay. NYC has so many people. Granted so many of them are douchebags but there are all sorts of layers and pockets of people here. You know that. I will meet those folks no more quickly than I will meet some random other dudes on the innernettes from Philly or CA. I will not try to dissuade you BUT please don’t take SoHo and Williamsburg (or whatever their new iterations are forming to be) to be the reasons you hate it here. Most New Yorkers don’t give a crap about New Yorkers’ opinions. Nahmean?

    • With Care says:

      You should take your new bike and make a day of it! You should check out Floyd Bennett Field, which is across the street, too! Two sources have told me that it is tops: one who is into sneaking mischief and one who is apathetic to sneaky mischief. A pretty solid spread.

      It’s hard for me to really articulate the grudge that I feel against NYC but I think most of it has to do with people’s reaction to it as an entity and less of the people themselves. It’s built up as this monolithic place of culture to the point where it kind of invalidates the variety of non-New York/Jersey/tri-state life. I don’t know if you got that as a fellow Jersey girl (i think that you are one, right?) It really is a hard feeling to pin down but it mostly hinges on the idea that New York is the center of the universe and if you aren’t doing whatever it is you are doing there, well, whatever you are doing can never be its best/is invalid/ you are a backwoods country pumpkin. I loved it up until I started to venture out to other places and realized that, hey! good stuff happens every where.

      I know that was kind of rough and ham-fisted but I would totally love to talk about it more if you have questions. My rambling needs guidance, sometimes.

      Things I like about the city include taking public transportation, occasionally the smell, falafel sandwiches from Mamouns and Oasis, fake chicken from VP 2, the population of cast iron gates and fire escapes, seeing rooflines dotted with water towers, and that I never feel pressured to make eye contact with people on the street. I also like my friends who still live there, especially when they let me crash on their floors.

      W.burg is kind of insane now! I used to hang out there a lot when it was like 2004 and I was “super cool”. All my old public drinking spots are condos! It’s such a drastic change that I can’t even find it weird or offensive- it’s just impressive, mostly. Bedford Ave. is really starting to feel like South Street Philly. I dig it, kind of.

  2. […] pointed out by my fetching friend, Kate, has a quick and charming collection of beach and boardwalk pictures featuring the […]

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