The Insalubrious Valley - Atlas Obscura

Brooklyn, New York

The Insalubrious Valley

Join us on the wrong side of the tracks for an exploration of the hidden industrial heartlands of New York.

Delight in tales of the early chemical industry, "Dead Animal and Night Soil Wharfs," colonial-era heretics, witches, and the coming of the railroad.

Join Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman for an illuminating walk through the industrial heartlands of New York City and along the Newtown Creek. Following the currently undefended border of Brooklyn and Queens, we will be exploring sites on the creek's shores, including:

  • a little-known, colonial-era pathway
  • two movable bridges
  • the remains of an early 19th-century highway
  • a lost tributary of the larger waterway

And, for the vulgarly curious, Conrad Wissell's "Dead Animal and Night Soil" wharf will be described.


  • Meet up at the corner of Grand street and Morgan Avenue in Brooklyn. The L train stops nearby at Bushwick Avenue and Grand Street, and the Q54 and Q59 bus lines stop nearby as well.
  • Be prepared for rough terrain and heavy truck traffic.
  • Dress and pack appropriately for hiking. Closed-toe shoes are recommended. 
  • Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start and end of the walk.
  • Attendees will be asked to sign a waiver at the start of the walk.



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