NYC is a tightly-packed coil of a town, so at some point, everyone has come across a neighbor with metal-soled boots or terrifying holiday displays. Dealing with foul noises is a reality for a lot of people—but what about foul smells? Some Brooklyn residents are up in arms this week about a neighbor who leaves fish out to dry on a clothesline. To be fair, tossing your wet fish in the drier is not a great alternative. (Trust me.)
— Connor Ryan (@connortryan) November 20, 2015
Bensonhurst resident Cynthia Christo told local blog Bensonhurst Bean that she has been complaining to 311 about the odor on 64th Street near 18th Avenue to no avail: “They keep coming out and beating the bugs off of it,” she said. “We called 311, but they didn’t know what to label it under, so they didn’t do anything.”
Other locals voiced their complaints to the dirtbag equivalent of 311, the NY Post: “It’s disgusting. It’s just not sanitary and brings in bugs," said Jennifer Schaun. "It looks like dead garbage, and sometimes the whole block stinks like fish," added Melanie Handovich.
City officials say that there is nothing "illegal or against any rules to hang fish outside your window," so that answers that. But if you are wondering whether there's something to read between the lines of this story, the Post cuts through all the well-intentioned fly fearmongering toward the end: they note that the block is "predominantly inhabited by Chinese immigrants, [and] is becoming like a fish market."
Hanging fish outside is a very common thing in any coastal town around the globe (I can say from experience it's as common in Greece as it is in Chinatown), and thousands of years of fishing have proven that it's good to hang fish outside for a day or so after catching it.
Unpleasant smells are a reality of living in a city this close in proximity to New Jersey (plus all the people who only have a passing knowledge of the power of strong alkaline solutions). And Bensonhurst was not among the top 10 smelliest neighborhoods in Brooklyn, let alone the city. So maybe we should all try to ease up on this newest form of NIMBYism: No Fish In My Backyard, or NoFiMB for short. Still working on that one.