Chemical Lane + Tugboat Graveyard

Post Author: Nate Dorr

In 1964 the Witt Marine Scrapyard opened in the crook of Staten Island’s western shore, an area now known as Rossville. Rapidly acquiring a full armada of condemned ships to be harvested for scrap, Witt’s reach apparently exceed their grasp and the vast majority settled into the mud to rust and decay into worthlessness. Well, worthlessness beyond their striking value as a sort of unofficial nautical history museum, filled with tugs, barges, ferries, and at least one fireboat (in fact a veteran of the General Slocum disaster almost a century ago). Of course, it’s a museum connected by shaky planking and potential pitfalls of rotting wood, so few get to see it up close.

The rest of the neighborhood is pretty interesting too. Just down the street on the fittingly named Chemical Lane loom a pair of massive something-million gallon storage tanks. Besides being the billboard for Bob’s love for Lauren and a driving range and apparently once holding a very large quantity of natural gas, the tanks are a major landmark that can be seen from most of Rossville. Those weirdly pale green hills on the other side of the tugboat graveyard? Old grown-over landfills.

Click to jump to images of Chemical Lane.