Michael Shain

Photographer and reporter
North Channel
Nationality: American
Biography: Lives in Queens, N.Y.        
Public Story
North Channel
Credits: michael shain
Updated: 01/12/21
Location: Array
Just how two small, neglected beaches on the north end of Jamaica Bay became sacred places for the Indo-Caribbean residents of Queens, no one really can say.
The descendants of indentured Indian workers from Guyana, Trinidad and Surinam are mostly Hindus and their religion teaches that the gods live where the water meets the land. In India, the banks of the Ganges is where millions come every year to place offering of flowers, fruit and talisman into the water.
In Queens, that spot is the urban beaches of the Jamiaca Bay's North Channel, under the Joseph A. Addabbo Bridge. The traffic whizzing by on busy Cross Bay Boulevard doesn't seem to puncture the peace of the place.
All year long, families come to North Channel beaches to pray, toss jars of honey, fruit, shoes, shawls and candles into the waters of the bay. Others come to fish with nets or dig the clams that are just starting to come back after decades of industrial dumping has ended.
It doesn't hurt that there are two, good-sized parking lots right next to the beaches making it convenient for families to zip in and out. Never underestimate the spiritual value of easy parking,


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