New York City Is Dumping Old Subway Cars Into The Ocean. I Was Horrified, Until I Learned Why

Usually, when you see someone dumping something into the ocean it's a bad thing – especially when that something is outdated industrial machines, and they're being dumped by the barge load. If you did happen to see something like this, you might expect to be chased off by someone ashamed of their deeds.

But, photographer Stephen Mallon was invited along to photograph this event. He spent three years documenting the disposal of New York City's unused rail cars. This might seem strange, however, there is very good reason the city dumps its old trains like this.

As you can imagine, New York City goes through a lot of trains.

So they decided to load them onto custom-built barges and carry them into the ocean.


With heavy equipment, they are pushed right over the edge.

They make a big splash before sinking to the ocean floor.

What seems like pollution is actually a brilliant attempt to save one part of the planet.

The discarded subway cars meld into the ecosystem and provide a stable platform for new growth.


These rusty, old trains will take on a new life as life grows on them.

They will become artificial coral reefs, teeming with all sorts of species.

As time goes by, the habitats get richer and more diverse, strengthening our oceans.

Credit: Stephen Mallon

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