Bizarre green sludge bubbles up in New York City streets | Viral video explained

Green sludge New York City

Parts of New York City streets turned into a scene straight out of a superhero comic book movie as residents noticed a bizarre sight. Some of the city’s manholes seemed to be emitting bright green sludge through covers and grates. Pictures and videos of the phenomenon have gone viral on social media platforms as many drew comparisons to pop culture references. Let’s take a look at the green sludge seen in the New York City streets and find out more.

Mysterious green sludge spotted in New York City

It all started when a Manhattan resident discovered the green sludge bubbling up from manhole covers and decided to take pictures of it and share them on the internet. Others followed suit as they all spotted the bright liquid coming from below New York City’s sidewalks.

One such incident happened at O’Hara’s Restaurant and Pub where the green sludge seemed to emerge from below. A staff member claims that city workers were testing the hotel’s sprinkler system across the street. For this purpose, they used a green foam concentrate.

This substance left behind a particular residue which showed up as the green sludge in different nearby spots. Essentially, it’s a mix of water and foam concentrate pumped into the system to cleanse residue that could obstruct water flow. 

Plumbers often use this green dye to detect leaks in plumbing and sewage systems. However, the reasons remain fairly speculative and nothing has been confirmed yet by authorities. 

Possible reasons for the green sludge

The mysterious green sludge raised a lot of concerns among New York City residents. Many came up with their own theories and speculations about the substance. Some claimed it was toxic and could harm people but it was later debunked. 

Others believe the issue might be related to cooling or heating systems. Despite the buzz around this incident, the New York City Transportation and Sanitation department is yet to confirm the actual reason behind this phenomenon.

The closest confirmation for the green sludge actually came on social media when a community notes fact check on X (Twitter) revealed that the water is full of fluorescent green dye used by plumbers to detect leaks in sewage systems. 

History of Previous Green Sludge Incidents

Surprisingly, this is not the first time that New York City has experienced green sludge emerging from below its sidewalks. Similar incidents happened in 2017 where some warned that antifreeze had leaked and could be harmful. 

In March 2020, green slime showed up at the entrance of a subway station in Brooklyn. Some thought it was dye tracing while others claimed it was antifreeze. The Metropolitan Transportation Authority was quick to sort out the issue. 

Other incidents like this have also happened in a Michigan highway in 2019 and in a Toronto sinkhole in 2020 where green sludge seemed to bubble up on the roads.

Pop Culture References, Explained

It was almost inevitable that the bright green sludge bubbling up in New York City streets would immediately draw comparisons to comic book theories and superhero movies. Social media users joked that this was one more reason why New York City and Gotham City are the same.

Others compared it to the green ooze from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles which transformed the turtles into heroes. Some even made references to classics like Ghostbusters.

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