hudson-river
llustration by Mark Nerys with photos by Matt Hoyle

Kottke shared a link from New York Magazine about some of the stuff that’s hidden beneath the Hudson River. It’s a pretty fantastic list if you believe everything on it (although there’s really no reason not to believe it all). It turns out that all of those rumors I always hear about how filthy the Hudson is are in fact almost all true! One of the disgusting facts is this:

When there’s a rainstorm, far more water goes into our drainage system than sewage-treatment plants can handle. So the overflow pipes open wide, and all our wastewater—including the untreated effluvia of 8 million people—goes straight into the ocean. The day after a storm, the harbor is brown and thick with stirred-up silt that is shot through with human waste. Sometimes you can see shreds of toilet paper. When divers emerge from the harbor on those days, their suits have to be scrubbed down with bleach or kerosene before the men can strip them off.

So raw sewage just goes straight in there! Also, according to the map above, all of the dark red spots are places where the water is 5 feet deep or less, meaning most adults can stand upright in them without drowning. I didn’t know it was so shallow in so many places.