From the NY Times:
A giant salt water puddle, pooled over 20,000 acres beneath the leaky eaves of southern Queens and Brooklyn, the bay lies at the far end of the Rockaways A line. And to ride that line from Times Square to Canal Street to Broadway Junction, and then through Ozone Park to Howard Beach and Broad Channel, where suddenly there are marshes offshore and ibises and egrets in the sky, is to understand that with a simple 90-minute trip one can find a wilderness within the city limits.
The bay is “the one place in New York where nature is so dominant that it makes the city a backdrop,” Brad Sewell, an environmental lawyer and blogger, recently wrote.
Of course, that backdrop has caused the bay considerable trouble over the years. Since the industrial revolution, it has served as a dumping ground for items that the city does not wish to see: its garbage fills, sewage treatment plants and occasional dead bodies.
But in the past 10 years or so, as the greening of New York has taken hold, an alliance of officials, environmentalists and local advocates has emerged to save the bay from what makes it so distinctive — which is to say, from its condition as a wild place in the country’s biggest city.
Today, Jamaica Bay has reached a kind of inflection point, poised between what it is and what it could become.