Seaside Stories

III. Destination Desolation

The idea of Brooklyn as an adjective is both an annoyance and a necessity for those who are from here, because when you find an extraordinarily Brooklyn place you want to be able to refer to it as such and try to keep it that way for as long as possible. Brooklyn, as a descriptor, is a place and attitude built by history and maintained by community. For the few who frequent Floyd Bennett Field, it is the open space, deserted runways of the former N.Y.C. Municipal Airport, new sports center in an art deco hangar, and Brooklyn essence that make it a destination, whether by car, Q35 bus, or bike path.

When you’re nestled in the reeds of Jamaica Bay, the skyscrapers glimmer in the distance like the city of Oz.

Today’s Floyd Bennett landscape, a balance of wildlife and faded industry, is in an urban limbo waiting for what will happen next.

The engine that once powered the entire airfield now emits ghostly noises that evoke Brooklyn’s industrial heyday.

Floyd Bennett Field provides the perks of suburbia without having to leave the borough. Layla, Maia, and Charlie are thrilled to hit the ice at the Aviator Sports center even if it means taking a couple of buses down Flatbush Avenue from their home in Kensington.

In the 1930s pioneers such as Howard Hughes and Amelia Earhart took off in flight from this revamped hangar. Today gymnasts in training learn aerial flips a little closer to the ground.

A bi-borough couple appreciates the sights.

George from Sheepshead Bay, standing in front of his grape vines, is eager to cultivate his plot in the community garden this spring and plans to B.B.Q. all summer long.

Floyd Bennett Field is one of the few places left for Brooklynites to love the land, even if it’s covered with the rusty remnants of a forgotten era.


Saskia Kahn

SASKIA KAHN is a photographer from the coast of Brooklyn.