If You've Ever Wondered Why Brooklyn Smells Like Piss

A postman threw what looked like a piss-filled glove right in front of us on the street yesterday.

We were rounding the corner of 5th ave and Union and passing right by a parked USPS truck. The postman inside tossed a blue glove out the door onto the asphalt, and we glanced over to see a yellow liquid pouring out.

We quickly snagged a cameraphone shot of the mess, and one of the truck as it sped away.

Not content with mere visuals, we knelt and dipped our finger tips in the liquid. Raising them to our nose, they didn’t smell like urine. We have some minor allergies going on, but not all urine emits a strong odor. Results inconclusive.

Full-size pics, inside…


We don’t begrudge the postman his right to relieve himself in this inventive fashion, but at least throw it in the trash. — BEN POPKEN

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Guy Who Flipped Out In Brooklyn Post Office Is NOT Sorry About It


Edit Your Comment

  1. The Bigger Unit says:

    Wow…you’re hardcore. You dipped your finger in a puddle of probable piss to investigate.

    Dedication folks. Dedication.

  2. Parttimesaint says:

    Remind me not to shake your hand if we ever meet.

  3. missdona says:

    Now, why-oh-why would you touch it?

  4. The Bigger Unit says:

    Come to think of it, if Brooklyn smells like piss, perhaps your nose is so accustomed to the odor of piss, you would be unable to notice its’ subtleties during a smell test? Like working in a fish factory…you get used to the stank, and eventually stop smelling it…correct?

  5. mikyrok says:

    Should’ve taken some home to the lab to verify

  6. Meg Marco says:

    For the record, I’m the editor in charge of things that don’t involve touching the piss of government employees. It’s in my contract.

  7. jrlcopy says:

    WhyTF would you touch it….. You all are crazy… lol

  8. Falconfire says:

    Oh its piss, and I knew plenty of guys on the routes who used to do it.

    You cant take your truck back to the station to pee (well you can but depending on your route it could take you 30-45 minutes to get there and back, added to your time) the trucks have no bathroom, and there are a lot of stores these days who will not let you come in to just take a leak.

    What I used to do was depending on where I was go to a Dunkin Donuts or my house, or if I was on the rural route just go to one of the dirt clearings around the way to piss on a tree. But I knew plenty of guys (especially the older ones who had medical issues) who would just pee in a bottle and toss it when they got home.

    That being said, I have a feeling Brooklyns piss smell has a lot more to do with the number of bums you guys have than the one or two postal guys who might be stupid enough to dump a piss filled glove.

    Oh and if your willing to enough, you can tell your Postmaster General. Pretty good cause for a reprimand or a firing.

  9. Hoss says:

    But there’s a woman crossing the street between the lines, can’t be brooklyn — fake!

  10. Mariallena says:

    Brooklynites are gonna love that headline.

    Love it, love it, love it. I am telling you.

  11. quantum-shaman says:

    Only in New York. I guess he used up his daily quota of bathroom breaks. Those union rules can be tough.

  12. Edinboron says:

    I was a cable splicers helper for the phone company in North Philadelphia. We had a box truck pretty similar to the postal truck in the picture, except ours was full of tools and a workbench. We had a cabinet in the back, when you opend the door there was a funnel with a piece of hose that drained out a hole in the floor to underneath the truck. No one ever thought anything of the puddle left behind by the truck. Lots of cars leave puddles condensation from the air conditioner.

    Also, this wasn’t official company policy or something that came standard on the trucks. It was just something guys who work outside do to make life easier.

  13. harumph says:

    i see leaking bottles of what can only be piss all over brooklyn and the other boroughs. we as a city are too immature for clean public bathrooms, really. i once saw a parked garbage truck in park slope and the driver rolled the window down and chucked his trash onto the sidewalk. a garbage truck! new york is definitely the dirtiest city i have ever been to and it is 99% because its residents just do not give a shit about their streets. i see people throw crap on the ground all the time, when they are very close to trash cans. sad shit.

  14. MeanMachine says:

    Smell the Glove!

  15. timmus says:

    So what DID the liquid smell like?

  16. Meg Marco says:


  17. Ben Popken says:

    @timmus: There was no discernible odor.

  18. Tallanvor says:

    Thankfully Ben isn’t really hardcore… He didn’t taste it after all.

  19. Uriel says:

    Coming to a theater near you, Ben Popken and Meghann Marco star in


    It was an ordinary day in Brooklyn, the smell of decay was everywhere, rabid squirrels attacked tourists, and horses made sure to rhythmically defecate on street-corners as their coaches en route, followed behind, but that smell was about to get that…much…worse…

    Ben Popken and Meghann Marco made their way downtown for a Quiznos Pita sandwhich like any other day, but this day would be…quite random

    Scenario: about to cross the street, Ben’s friendly neighborhood mail-man drove on past


    Mail-man: THAT AOL POST WAS SUB-PAR POPKEN!!! AND VERIZON’S TEXT MESSAGING I…(Inaudible noise due to mail-truck’s motor)

    Ben: What is that Meghann?! That mail-man just dropped his glove in front of us, and it exploded with some yell…hey…it’s yellow…could it be…urine…

    Meghan: EWWWWW BEN!!! Don’t touch it!! That guy coulda had AY…

    Ben: Quiet Marco!! I must touch and smell every bit of this yellow liquid…it could be…news…


  20. Clevertrousers says:

    Don’t blame me… I only piss in the street when I’m in Manhattan. Never publicly urinate in your own borough.

  21. Holleh says:

    @ Tallanvor: I love how amazingly dedicated the Consumerist writers are. But y’know. I just don’t want them to be /that/ dedicated for us.

  22. not_seth_brundle says:

    @harumph: I agree with the spirit of this comment. It’s not the urine-or-whatever that bothers me, it’s the rubber glove litter.

  23. XopherMV says:

    You should have taken the glove, tracked down the offending postman, and shoved it in his face while lecturing him about littering.

  24. Binthere2 says:

    @Ben Popken: I think all you proved was that s/he did not eat asparagus the night before. Not exactly the most relevant information. I agree. I didn’t have to be there – and thankfully I wasn’t – to know…. it was piss.

  25. MentalDisconnect says:

    @Clevertrousers: Agreed!

  26. winowino says:

    A lesson learned from 10th grade chemistry: always WAFT

  27. harumph says:

    it’s both, the only reason you feel like you need to wash your hands the second you get home here is because the city is such a shit-hole. also whenever we get a windy day there is a trash tornado on every block. it just isn’t so hard to piss in a toilet and throw your trash in a can. there are cans everywhere and there are residential cans everywhere too if you can’t find a city can. i have never understood the mindset.

  28. ObtuseGoose says:

    The only way to be absolutely sure is to drink the glove.


  29. Pasketti says:

    Good thing you didn’t step in it!

    (sorry, old joke, couldn’t resist)

    And you should have tagged it with this:

  30. etinterrapax says:

    I am so sorry I know this, but fresh urine from a healthy person shouldn’t smell like anything. It’s the degradation of the ammonia in the urine that makes it smell. Go back in a couple of hours and sniff again.

    Touching it generally won’t hurt you any, either. The grossness is in your head. That’s a lot harder to wash off, though.

  31. lovelyday says:

    Of course he peed in his glove. He threw away his empty snapple bottle without thinking!

  32. demonradio says:

    I have been to Brooklyn twice (for shows at Southpaw). Each time I have seen someone pissing on the subway stairs. One of them even followed me! Gross! NYC is a dirty city. But I love it.

  33. jhpope says:

    once i went to the bathroom and saw what i thought was urine on the toilet seat. not content with my visual inspection i put my finger in it and smelt it. it was urine.

  34. quantum-shaman says:

    @etinterrapax: Also from the Department of Way Too Much Information, it depends on how hydrated he was. Asparagus has been duly mentioned. We demand a posting of the lab results.

  35. tinychicken says:

    Oh Brooklyn, how I miss you and your odoriferousnessessess.

  36. I remember something a while back about how NJ was pissed (har har) that truckers were filling up soda bottles with piss and tossing them out the window…

  37. paulinsanjuan says:

    Damn, that’s from your cameraphone?

  38. Anitra says:

    I’m with Falconfire – if your job requires you to drive for 8+ hours a day, you may have to use… unusual… ways of dealing with your need to pee. When I drove an ice-cream truck, my life would have been easier if I could have pulled off the road and peed in the bushes, but it’s awfully hard for a woman to do that inconspicuously. I ended up planning my route to include 2 gas stations that would let me use their bathroom (whether or not I bought anything), and a port-a-potty in a school parking lot.

    However, you should always dispose of your fluids so that other people don’t have to touch them – at least throw it in a trash can, guys!

  39. Havok154 says:

    I think you needed to taste it since you are accustomed to smelling it.

  40. cdan says:

    @Ben – Come on, we all know the only way to really be sure is to taste it. Weak.

  41. PKnel says:

    I’d hate to see what brown could do for you.

  42. This story is golden!

    oh wait…

  43. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:


    You know what they say, when you’ve got to go, you’ve got to go. I doubt the guy’s boss would be amused that he spend a half an hour wading through city traffic to find a public restroom. So, if it’ll hold urine…well..it’s no Snapple bottle, but it’ll do.

    Of course, if the guy were really smart, he’d hang on to it for the next moron that cuts him off in midtown traffic.

    “What da hell was dat???”
    *turns on the windshield wipers*

  44. It’s the degradation of the ammonia in the urine

    Actually, the degradation of the urea in the urine to ammonia.

    In the olden days, well-aged ammonia-rich urine had significant value.

  45. Sudonum says:

    Same thing happens in New Orleans, only without the glove

  46. doodbugboodles says:

    Ewww! I hope the guy had hand wipies or something.

    I will never look at my mail the same way again.

  47. arachnophilia says:

    looks like urine.

    smells like urine.

    tastes like urine.

    good thing we didn’t step in it.

  48. frankadelic says:

    I live in Queens and I used to let my mail carrier (trying to be gender neutral here) use the can in my house. I think I was the midpoint in their route so it was peepee time for them.

    Incidentally, he was later reprimanded by his boss because he had this bet with other mail carriers that he could wear shorts everyday to work for a full year. The local newspaper wrote a story about it and USPS didn’t like that kind of publicity.

  49. Nosabenocontesta says:

    A Pee Throws in Brooklyn.

  50. Wormfather says:

    This isnt a new comment by any means but I have to say it again…WTF, why would put your finger in it? I work in manahatan and I wouldnt touch the dry ground, I walk away from any moisture on the ground and flee at the sight of dog poop yet you suspected urine and you went in for confirmation. You my friends are hardcore.

    http://www.consemerist.com/adult_content tag please.

  51. spooneyD says:

    (dips finger and tastes)
    “iocaine powder, i’d bet my life on it”

    just because it didn’t reek of asparagus doesn’t mean it wasn’t piss.

    in a related topic… my next door neighbor has a swimming pool and has, in the past, drained the whole thing thus killing every plant in my yard.
    the other day i noticed a copius amount of water coming up out of the cracks in the sidewalk and out the drain pipe that runs under the “yard.”
    here we go again i thought.
    i leaned down, dipped my fingers in it and raised it to my nose expecting to smell chlorine. only after i did this did i realize that there had been a rat living in the drain and upon closer inspection i noticed that the puddle i had just dipped my fingers in had roughly 2 dozen giant rat turds floating in it. but no chlorine which, at that point, would have been a god-send. i’m never touching mystery moisture again!

  52. Baz L says:

    @paulinsanjuan: I was thinking the same thing.