Long Island's infamous 1987 garbage barge photos

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On Wednesday, March 22, 1987, a tugboat named the Break of Dawn left New York Harbor, towing a barge full of Long Island trash.

Destination: a fertile farm field down south.

Instead, it sailed into a storm of controversy that spotlighted Long Island as the center of the nation's garbage crisis.

See photos from Newsday's archives about Long Island's infamous garbage barge.

The garbage barge floats in New York Harbor
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(Credit: Newsday / Ken Sawchuck)

The garbage barge floats in New York Harbor with the World Trade towers in the background on July 22, 1987.

Mate David Soto talks on the radio telephone
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

Mate David Soto talks on the radio telephone to passing boats who called the "Break of Dawn" to wish them well on May 16, 1987. Captain Duffy St. Pierre stands beside Soto.

Health officials inspect the contents of the garbage
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

Health officials inspect the contents of the garbage barge on May 18, 1987.

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Marlene Haney of Commack checks out a commemorative
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(Credit: Newsday / Thomas R. Koeniges)

Marlene Haney of Commack checks out a commemorative T-shirt from the, "L.I. Garbage Barge World Tour '87" sold at a card store in Huntington on June 3, 1987.

Students from the Brooklyn School for Special Children
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(Credit: Newsday / Liliana Nieto)

Students from the Brooklyn School for Special Children protested outside their school against burning garbage from the barge on August 28, 1987.

A view of the Islip garbage barge on
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

A view of the Islip garbage barge on May 3, 1987.

A close up of some of the trash
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

A close up of some of the trash on the Islip garbage barge is seen on May 18, 1987.

A party fishing boat carries a load of
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

A party fishing boat carries a load of school children on a class outing past the tugboat and garbage barge on May 26, 1987.

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Mate David Soto and Captain Duffy St. Pierre
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

Mate David Soto and Captain Duffy St. Pierre stand off the stern of the "Break of Dawn," which was anchored off Gravesend, Brooklyn, on May 20, 1987. The crew had just gotten word that the tug would be stuck there until the following week. On the second deck, engineer Desmond Bowden takes laundry in from the rain.

Sanitation workers begin construction of a ramp to
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(Credit: Newsday / Audrey C. Tiernan)

Sanitation workers begin construction of a ramp to unload trash from the garbage barge on August 25, 1987 at a facility in Brooklyn.

The
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(Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis)

The "Break of Dawn" tugboat and the infamous garbage barge sit off the coast of Brooklyn with the Verrazano Bridge in the background on May 17, 1987.

Crewmembers stand on the bow of the
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

Crewmembers stand on the bow of the "Break of Dawn" tugboat with the Manhattan skyline in the background on June 11, 1987.

Engineer Desmond Bowman watches from the bridge deck
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

Engineer Desmond Bowman watches from the bridge deck of the tugboat as Board of Health inspectors check on the garbage barge on May 18, 1987.

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Overall view of the Islip garbage barge tied
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(Credit: Newsday / Don Jacobsen)

Overall view of the Islip garbage barge tied to a New York City Sanitation dock on August 24, 1987.

Duffy St. Pierre, captain of the
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(Credit: Newsday / Dick Kraus)

Duffy St. Pierre, captain of the "Break of Dawn," hangs his laundry on the stern of the tugboat on May 28, 1987.

The Break of Dawn tugboat and its barge
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(Credit: Newsday / Daniel Sheehan)

The Break of Dawn tugboat and its barge carrying a load of garbage make their way to another long day on the Atlantic Ocean on May 16, 1987.

A souvenir pin from the Islip garbage barge
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(Credit: Newsday / Phillip Davies)

A souvenir pin from the Islip garbage barge drama of 1987 as photographed on March 23, 1997.

The barge filled with Islip garbage is tugged
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(Credit: Newsday / Dan Sheehan)

The barge filled with Islip garbage is tugged home on May 16, 1987.

The
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(Credit: Newsday / Thomas Koeniges)

The "Break of Dawn" tugboat and its barge carrying a load of garbage sit near the Verrazano Narrows Bridge off the coast of Brooklyn, New York on May 17, 1987.

The tug
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(Credit: Newsday / Bill Davis)

The tug "Break of Dawn" and its tow, the famous garbage barge, sit off the coast of Brooklyn on May 17, 1987 as the Verrazano Bridge stands tall behind it.

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