The Bronx Swamp

August 31st, 2009 -

The Bronx Swamp is an abandoned, flooded railroad line below the streets of Mott Haven. Its waters are a bright and unnatural green, the color of antifreeze. It is home to birds, rats, raccoons and mosquitoes, and has been used as a dumping ground for years. One local told the Daily New Yorker that "dead animals and a human body" were found in the swamp, while the Mott Haven Herald reports that the "foul odor" rising from the swamp's "plastic bags, broken beer bottles, planks of decaying wood, and abandoned basketballs" has forced residents to consider moving out of the neighborhood. The city acknowledges the Bronx Swamp is a health risk - the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene regularly sprays it with larvacide to curb the spread of mosquitoes potentially infected with the West Nile Virus.

The railroad line underneath the waters of the Bronx Swamp was "formally abandoned" in 2004 by the CSX Corporation, according to the NY Daily News, but - as one resident stated in The Epoch Times - "I've lived here for 17 years and the water's been there just as long." Today, the swamp is scheduled for a major cleanup. It is currently being drained of "more than 150,000 gallons of stagnant water," according to the NY Times. After draining, bulldozers will remove its assorted debris. However, the city has been unable to locate the current owners of the Bronx Swamp and so, as the NY Times states, "the fate of the land remains unclear."

Above the Swamp

Backyard Access

Looking Down to the Cut

Antifreeze Green

At the End of the Swamp

Abandoned Railroad Property

Down in the Swamp

Tunnel Vision

The Bronx Swamp


  1. In all the years I've lived there, I've always been curious as to what it looks like down there. Obviously, it was alot better looking then when freight trains occasionally would pass thru.

    Awesome photos.

  2. The swamp is actually the old New York Central( Later Penn Central/Conrail/CSX) Port Morris branch. It was used by freight trains from the Hudson Line to acess the yards down near Port Morris and Oak Point on the East River. It was abandoned c.2004 when a direct connector was opened from near Yankee Stadium along the Harlem River towards the Port Morris/Oak Point yards.

  3. I just wanted to let you know, I absolutely LOVE your photos!

    1. baby I wanna explore you ;)
      Even if it's been 7 years...

  4. Did Dobkin bring his respirator this time?

  5. maps and greenway proposal:

  6. I never new the Bronx had its own swamp...but the Bronx has improved alot in it's appearance in the last decade or so. I hope the city can come to cleaning this mess up. It's such a waste of space.

    Lourdes M. G.

  7. .....enhorabuena por la mirada de las fotos, algunas son pura poesía!

  8. The garbage down there wasn't deposited by
    The Sanitation Department.