Gothamist has a long list of things that fascinate us and one of the odder things on said list is the peek into the human psyche provided by security checkpoints (specifically the items they turn up). Luckily we're not the only ones. Sometimes it seems a week doesn't go by without a look at things turning up in airports or train stations showing up in one paper or another. But normally those stories focus on drugs or weapons, so it was with happy interest that we found this article in the Times today.
Keeping track of agricultural products moving over borders has long been a part of the job for Customs officials, one that hasn't diminished in the days of bird flu's and copious other agricultural dangers. And what actually shows up is wonderful and truly global (at least in New York). "Compared to Miami, which mostly gets South American flights, and California, which mostly gets flights from Asia," a customs officer at JFK explained to the Times, "what's amazing about this port is we get the world."
On a random day in August the customs office at JFK sounds delicious: "Bangladeshi jackfruit, Vietnamese pork sausage, Central American black corn, Nigerian garden eggs, and Pakistani Alphonso mangoes." Not to mention longan fruits, dried chickens, mints, charcuterie, duck tongues and Mangoes by the ton ("Mangoes are public enemy No. 1" one officer says).
Gothamist might be guilty of smuggling a few things over the borders ourselves (how could we not clip that Trinidadian Thyme?) but what about you? Ever just have to take that stalk of sugarcane, or the like, back with you?
And in case your curious, here is the official answer from Customs as to what you can and can't bring home with you from your trip.
Photoraphs of dried chicken and jackfruit by Don Hogan Charles for the NY Times