One of the Brooklyn Paper‘s favorite running storylines is that Bay Ridge smells. While ignoring the problem of the cologne-soaked clubbing set, the paper has reported for years on Brooklyn’s southwestern-most neighborhood’s other stink-fronts: in the summer, the stench of fish guts wafts from the 69th St. Pier as far as Third Avenue; in the autumn, ginkgo nuts stink up parts of Fifth Ave.; the wastewater treatment plant near Owl’s Head Park stinks to high heaven. But the strangest smell in Bay Ridge is the one no one has been able yet to figure out.
A half-mile stretch of Fort Hamilton Parkway ending at the Verazzano Bridge often has a putrid odor that has mystified inspectors and nauseated residents. The problem began in 2006, following a sewer pipe repair project. In 2007, the Department of Environmental Protection dropped nylon stockings filled with pine scent into the sewers—to no avail. Now, a team of independent smellers is coming in to assess the olfactory dilemma, the Brooklyn Paper reports today. My guess is that the smell is the residual odor of the neighborhood’s historic racism—a classic case of “the return of the repressed,” Ghostbusters 2 style.