Photo Essay: Unknown Brooklyn

Brooklyn is so well known, and so well traveled, that you might think it has no secrets left to be uncovered. But it has plenty; it’s just a matter of knowing where to look, or having the time for the long walk or bus ride required to get there. There’s also the fact that some of these sites are in places your unconscious self-defense mechanisms might warn you to stay away from. Some are in locations that are so inaccessible you’d never just find yourself there — they’re not on the way to anywhere most people would ever go. Some are in places that only a small, privileged group are allowed into. And, to be completely honest, some are spots that no sane person would be drawn to. But, of course, all this just makes them that much more enticing, at least to people who are intrigued by a good urban adventure. Anyone can find something breathtaking and new in the Grand Canyon, but at the edge of Canarsie? Here’s a handful of pictures that were taken at ten of these locations.

Photo credit: Dave Mandl

Sea Gate

Sea Gate, a gated community located at the westernmost end of Coney Island, has its own police force, two members of which guard its entrances to ensure that no one but residents and their guests gets in. As a result, very few outsiders ever see the neighborhood’s beach, poking into Gravesend Bay at the tip of the peninsula. I recently managed to talk my way in armed only with my charm, the only restrictions being that I was not to take any pictures of the spectacular old Coney Island Lighthouse — most likely because it’s owned by the US Coast Guard. I would have preferred to get beach photos free of rubble and mangled kids’ rides, but nature had other plans: Because of Sea Gate’s precarious location, it was slammed hard by Hurricane Sandy, which left some truly terrible wreckage in its wake. The good news is that, just three months after Sandy hit, the rebuilding of the neighborhood has moved pretty far along.