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The Department of Homeland Security released harmless gases in Midtown yesterday, as part of its Urban Dispersion Program that will examine how gases in the air travel in the city. The gases were released in midtown (49th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues; 6th Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets; 44th Street west of 7th Avenue; and one office building), and that's what those weird boxes hanging on poles were. Inside the boxes were "syringe pumps, which slowly dispense several milliliters of the tracer in liquid form at regular intervals." Hmm. We must say, for a DoHS program, the boxes looked kind of Science Fair-like and not that sturdy in cardboard and/or plywood; paint the damn things navy blue or black and make it seem official, versus having a stamp, for heaven's sake. One engineer said, "We want to be prepared if something nasty gets into the air." Dude, there is already a lot of nasty stuff in the air: Grit, fumes from cars, carts, and the subway, pee smell, you name it.
Anyway, it will be interesting to wait, oh, a year and a half for the study's finding.

The subway portion of the testing will take place this coming weekend, weather permitting.

Photograph by rion nakaya via Flickr