Bwog Roadtrips: Staten Island Boat Graveyard
Written by Bwog Staff
Looking for a chance to wait forty minutes to get your neglected bike onto the McBain elevators, then ride many miles in the freezing cold? Read on, my friend.
Staten Island is probably foreign ground to the vast majority of Columbia students, and with good reason — even on a good day, it’s an unbelievable trek. However, it’s often worth it to travel out there. If you’re looking for weird and little-known places, well, Manhattan is no longer the place to find them. But Staten Island is a vast expanse of empty, unpopular, and abandoned wonders.
Case in point: the boat graveyard. Tucked away on a forgotten corner of the island’s west shore is a swampy little plot of land where wooden and steel boats have been haphazardly rammed into the shore and left to decay. A continuous string of craft lets you walk hundreds of feet out into the water.
Photos and more narrative after the jump.
I found the graveyard more by dumb luck than anything else; although I knew it existed, I was heading to Staten Island to travel to some unrelated sites. However, the only other person with a bike on the ferry was enthusiastic enough about it to convince me to join her trip. The payoff is big.
Getting into the yard is a little tricky (and that’s after you manage to travel 11 miles from the ferry terminal, mostly by bike or bus). If the tide isn’t low (and it wasn’t), you have to wade across a shallow (and disgusting) stream to get to the boats from the improvised trail that leads to the road. I avoided this fate by walking a few blocks down the road and scaling a ten-foot steel fence, with the help of a nearby tree, to enter an adjacent NYPD dump. This worked well and kept me dry, but ended up forcing me to explain myself to a couple of very annoyed police officers as I dangled from a high branch on the way out.
Once you’re in, though, it’s a terrific sight. The sheer mass of the beached boats is unbelievable, and although you have to pay close attention to your footing, it’s not terribly difficult to walk out onto the outermost barges and take in a panoramic, post-apocalyptic view of the Arthur Kill. Even the most seasoned Manhattanite would be impressed by the strangeness of post-industrial Staten Island. If you feel like freezing your face off, I highly recommend it.
Staten Island Boat Graveyard
Arthur Kill Road near Rossville Ave (map)
Take the 1 train to South Ferry
From the ferry, take the S74 or S84 bus,
or take the SI Railway to Prince’s Bay station and ride your bike two miles