Newburgh’s Erin Brockovich

… or, Newburgh’s Pain in the Ass: i’m sure i’m being one or the other. Today i called the Department of Environmental Conservation’s regional office in New Paltz to report, after months (years?) of smelling it, this really, really awful smell. It’s almost always there … but not always. It’s there on both weekdays and weekends. And i have always smelled it at mid-day … but then, i’m never there any at any other time, so it might last all day and all night.

“There” is around the Kinney Apartments, at the corner of Dickson and Walsh’s Road. That’s also where the Sunoco station is located, and the new health center that’s right next door to it (but there’s also some kind of other business in between them, that often has so much bundled-up cardboard next to its loading dock that it looks like it’s a recycling center, but it’s not), and within a half-block or so of there is a Hispanic “disco,” more low-income apartments, the Iglesia de Dios church, the new-ish Unitex laundry plant, a NYS Dept. of Transportation rock-salt storage facility and the Mobil Life Ambulance headquarters.

What finally got me to call was, LAST Monday, Tim was walking past there with me and the smell was so strong it made me feel a bit dizzy. Tim identified it as something from an organic chemistry lab, “perhaps in the aldehyde family.” This cannot possibly be good. So today, a fellow named Joe Battista with EnCon told me he’d send some guys down to “smell around” that area, and see if there are any illegal discharges they can find. He told me to call him back in a week if i don’t hear from him by then.

Meanwhile, i plan to go over there every day and take notes. Por ejemplo: last Monday, it was very windy and cold when we were smelling the stuff so strongly, and Tim pointed out that those conditions area the hardest under which to smell anything. And the wind was blowing from the northwest. Today we walked there again, and the wind was almost still, but what there was, was blowing from the southeast, and it was quite warm, and there was no smell.  Also, the smell is in no other neighborhood that we’ve noticed; just right around the Kinney Apartments. Where a whole lot of low-income children live.

So, i’m all over this. One day, when i was walking around there by myself, i asked a guy coming out of the apartments if he smelled anything, and he said he had a cold and couldn’t smell. i asked him if he smells something around there very often, and he said, “No, but I’m not from around here” … and then he got into his UPS truck and took off.

Oh, well: I’m not letting it drop. Newburgh’s Erin Brockovich is on the case! (Only with not as much cleavage.)

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2 thoughts on “Newburgh’s Erin Brockovich”

  1. I cleave to you (Genesis 2:24), and that’s the cleavage worth having, of which you have lots more than Erin. (Plus—ça va sans dire—you turn heads, as all beautiful women do.)

  2. Truth is, i never even saw that movie … except a tiny bit of it once, on an airplane. But i know it’s about a whistle-blower lady who wouldn’t give up, and saved her whole community through her tenacity … and cleavage.

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