English Kills: The Garbage District

English Kills (Dutch for creek) in East Williamsburg is a fetid body of water that leads to the even more fetid (and hyper-toxic) Newtown Creek. A big part of Brooklyn’s garbage industry is concentrated in the area, with both city and privately operated transfer stations lining the creek, and many small scrap/recycling companies nearby.

The creek is mostly hidden behind the gates of the transfer stations, all but inaccessible from the street. There is a spot, though, where one can not only see (and smell) the kills up close, but actually walk across it. The railroad tracks off Morgan Avenue, right across from Bushwick Terminal, turn into a bridge that spans the creek.

Indelible images from the bridge over English Kills: the claw machine in the scrap yard bobbing above the corrugated metal fence.

The price is right: someone is living in a shack right near the source of the creek.

Not for human consumption (it is water, though, technically).

On a hot day around English Kills, an infernal stench pervades and clouds of flies are like part of the landscape. The diesel roar of carting trucks is practically the only sound that can be heard in the otherwise barren place.