May 12, 2013 · 10:00 AM
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*** Please, no need to RSVP "NO" if not attending ***
I'm a New York City native and often amaze people with my knowledge of obscure places and facts about this town. But every now and then even I stumble across something unusual that I didn't know about and my interest piques. This is one of those times. Join me as we do a little something out of the ordinary, we're going to cycle to Staten Island to explore a ship graveyard.
If you don't know, now you know ...
I'm going to plagiarize a page from one of my favorite NYC resources, Forgotten New York, which describes this place far better than I could. Read on.
"Founded in the 1950s by Arthur Witte Jr., the (ship)yard sits on a desolate stretch of land ... Once described by the New York Times as an 'accidental marine museum,' the Witte Marine Scrap Yard accumulated far more vessels than it could dismember, and the boats quickly piled up. Arthur Witte intentionally stored the vast collection of ships for parts, but the wrecks became a habitat to teeming colonies of underwater fauna. A change in environmental law mandated that these eco-systems be untouched and the hulks endured. Over 400 ships inhabit the yard, now known as the Don John Iron and Metal Scrap Processing Facility.
The junkyard is home to one of the largest collections of historic boats in the United States and has attracted a deluge of maritime historians from across the country ...
Vessels from all decades of the 20th Century lie in a state of decomposition and rust at this scrapyard ... Most are tugs or cargo ships. The former piers have collapsed and are for the most part unpassable; these wrecks are officially located in the Witte Scrapyard and are off limits to the public, which hasn’t stopped dozens if not hundreds of urban explorers and gawkers from wandering out to these hulks and snapping away."
I read this and was sold on checking this place out. We're going to be doing some "urban exploration" on this cycle and may bend a few laws in doing so. Goody two shoes or those with nerves of jello need not join.
Cue sheet for the ride http://goo.gl/maps/iQphJ. Print and bring it so you can catch up with the group in case you get separated.
The important stuff ...
- This is going to be a casually-paced (10 - 12 mph) ride of about 36 miles round trip. Most of the ride will take place on bike paths but there will be parts with street riding and some automobile congestion. You must be comfortable riding in a group and in traffic. Helmets are suggested.
- You MUST be on the 9:30 AM Staten Island ferry leaving the Whitehall Ferry Terminal in Manhattan. If you don't make this boat, we will not be waiting for you and it's up to you to catch the group using the cue sheet directions.
- Make sure your bike is in good working order before the meetup and bring a lock to leave our cycles. Bring a patch repair kit, air pump, and spare inner tube.
- Bring lunch and water/drinks, or money to pick up something along the way.
- Check your email the evening before you head out for last minute meetup updates as well as my mobile phone number which will be sent to those who RSVP.
- Please DO NOT RSVP if you do not seriously plan to attend as space is limited. No flakes allowed! If you RSVP and I notice that you have a number of no shows or have a history of last minute cancellations, you will be removed.
- Sorry, no guests allowed for this one.
- Rain cancels the meetup.