Re: Smell the Love

by Daniel Foster

Jonah, another thing New Jersey does better than New York: Stink.

I speak of the Frank R. Lautenberg Secaucus Junction Station, a commuter hub that sends legions into and out of Penn Station every day. Unlike Penn, Secaucus is largely open-air, but  I’ll bet dollars to doughnuts it still stinks twice as bad. Why? Well, it’s triangulated by the eastern spur of the New Jersey Turnpike, the vast expanse of brackish marsh and mud we call The Meadowlands, and a thousand acres of (mostly) capped landfills — and it’s just a couple miles up the Hackensack River from Newark Bay and the smokestack-dotted industrial center of the Garden State. 

Beyond that, the Secaucus area just has a history of funk. In the prewar years, it was a center for swine farming and “rendering” plants (yum!), and during the war itself the swamps were used as an all-purpose dump for military waste and debris — it is said that there are pieces of Blitz-era London, blown to hell by the Luftwaffe and shipped to the U.S. as ballast for returning merchant freighters, deep in the mud. The practice continued well into the 60s, during which time the wreckage of none-other than the old Pennsylvania Station was dumped all over Secaucus.

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