The strongest part of a bottle, apparently, is the neck. I’d never thought of this (why would I?), but the fact struck me yesterday…

Capitalist society leaves a trail of garbage in its wake – we all know this. But have we ever been to a landfill? Have we seen the poor kids who crawl those mountains, scavenging for treasures? I’ll be honest, I haven’t. But as of yesterday, I have been to Dead Horse Bay.

It’s a small stretch of beach, southeast of New York City. As part of the Marine Park, it’s something of a natural reserve area: there’s a couple of trails through the trees, and overall it’s a very cosy piece of nature. But then you get to the beach.

Burnt-out husks of motorboats are scribbled with grafitti. The sand is speckled with shards of glass, pottery, plates, plastic, bubble wrap, starbucks cups, coke cans. And tons, loads of bottlenecks. The rest of the bottle shatters and becomes mere shards, but the neck remains the only recognizable part of these premature archeological artefacts. A tree on the edge of the beach, lushly decorated by someone with multi-colored bottles and glass shards. A cupboard, almost completely submerged in the sand. A hundred meters further, the beach is no longer made of sand, but of old -some still intact – glass bottles. Perfume, medicine, Coke, Pepsi, Dr. Pepper, Fanta, Gatorade,… It might just be me and Kris, but this was a true treasure hunt. We spent hours on this godforsaken beach. Each time the waves rolled back, you’d hear a distinct tinkling sound. The tinkling of glass shards, washed back and forth in the surf. Finding unseemly treasures amongst the refuse of the Great City, with bottles dating back to the sixties. In the light of the setting sun, the beach transmuted into a multi-colored sparkling jewelry counter.

We’d had some beers before, which seemed like the appropriate state of mind to browse this strange boutique – but being a mudlark on a New York beach is thirsty work, and there was no bar or liquor store within a few kilometres. And then, suddenly, there’s two unopened cans of Modelo Lager in the sand. Straight in our path, only TWO of them. No way these are still good, right? They looked slightly dented and scratched, and they’d been warmed by the sun for at least a couple of weeks – definitely gone bad by now… But of course our curiosity got the better of us, and – sniff – it smells alright, and – gulp – doesn’t taste bad…
The universe says “Here you go guys, this one’s on me.”

If this is what lies in the wake of capitalism, I’ve seen worse postapocalyptic visions.