Barren Island, Brooklyn (History)

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(Neighborhoods In Brooklyn)

Barren Island was originally an island east of the southern end of the New York City borough of Brooklyn, in Jamaica Bay. The area is separated from the Rockaway Peninsula in Queens by the Rockaway Inlet.

It once maintained a somewhat diverse community for its time, supported mainly by a fish rendering plant and other industries related to offal products. The island housed a plant that rendered horse bones (supplied from the streets of New York City and elsewhere) into glue. This activity inspired the name Dead Horse Bay for the still extant water body on the western shore.

Today it is connected to the Brooklyn mainland, owing to landfill in 1926 that united a series of marsh islands (Barren Island being the largest) to create Floyd Bennett Field. All of what was once was Barren Island is now part of the Jamaica Bay Unit of Gateway National Recreation Area, managed by the National Park Service.

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