21 May 2008

Next Stop: Luxury Condos For Fish

I'd always heard the folklore about retired NYC subway cars being towed to a location off the coast of Delaware, where they're dumped into the Atlantic Ocean to begin their second life as artificial reefs.

Once submerged, the subway cars turn a barren stretch of ocean floor into a bountiful oasis, carpeted in sea grasses, walled thick with blue mussels and sponges, and teeming with black sea bass and tautog.

“They’re basically luxury condominiums for fish,” Jeff Tinsman, artificial reef program manager for the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, said as one of 48 of the 19-ton retirees from New York City sank toward the 666 already on the ocean floor.

In the last several years, the artificial reefs have drawn swift, open-ocean fish, such as tuna and mackerel, that use the reef as a hunting ground for smaller prey. Impressed with Delaware's artificial reef program other states have now started competing for the subway cars, which New York City provides for free.

I find these photos absolutely surreal.

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