At nearly 10 acres, Coney Island Creek is a sizable park-like area, especially for New York City. Occupying two sea inlets in Brooklyn, the Creek is only minimally navigable.
There were once plans to widen the creek, straighten it, and deepen it, but those plans were never carried out. Instead, the Coney Island Creek was filled in a bit, making Coney Island a peninsula. Thanks to a canal dug to extend the creek and facilitate sea travel — the Gravesend Ship Canal — many ships motored through the area. Some, though, weren’t able to make it back out, hence the multitude of wrecks.
The sole remaining creek in the area, the Coney Island Creek is mostly popular because of the abandoned ships and ship parts that litter the waterway. Several years ago, the New York Times ran a lengthy story about the mysterious Yellow Submarine, an abandoned landmark that has jutted from the creek for as long as anyone can remember. “That submarine is a landmark,” one fishermen, Gregory Whitaker, told the Times. “Everybody knows it in this neighborhood.”
The Times reporter did a bit of digging and found the submarine was started more than 40 years ago by a local shipyard worker. Jerry Bianco wanted to build a submarine of his own, and created this vessel using salvaged metal. With it, Bianco hoped to raise the Andrea Doria, an ocean liner that went down in the Atlantic way back in 1956 after colliding with another ship. The wreck is said to hold valuable artifacts and the bounty would belong, according to maritime law, to anyone who could seize them.
While Bianco wasn’t able to finish his project and eventually abandoned it in the Coney Island Creek, the submarine has found a second home as a perch and residence for birds and crabs in the region.
Visit New York State with Atlas Obscura Trips
Only in Queens: Tasting Our Way Through New York’s Most Diverse Borough
Manhattan may have name-brand recognition and Brooklyn a certain cache, but Queens is the city’s largest and most diverse borough. Join us, October 4-7, to dig into Queens’ rich neighborhood life.
- Citynoise: "The Ghost Ships of Coney Island Creek" (May 2009): http://citynoise.org/article/9329
- Wikipedia: Coney Island Creek: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coney_Island_Creek
- The New York Times: "In Coney Island Creek, Hulk of a Yellow Submarine Sticks Out" (November 2007): http://www.nytimes.com/2007/11/09/nyregion/09submarine.html
- New York City Department of Parks & Recreation: Coney Island Creek: http://www.nycgovparks.org/parks/B379/highlights/11734