The “Hunters Point Stenches”

It’s hard to argue that the Hunters Point Historic District isn’t one of the prettiest mini-neighborhoods in the city. The post–Civil War homes that flank 45th Avenue from 21st to 23rd Streets include different architectural styles and original details.

The nabe was once an upscale residential area amid industrial Long Island City, of which “Hunter’s Point,” as it was known then with an apostrophe, was and still is part of. 

What you’d never know while strolling through Hunters Point today is that in the late 19th century, the city was seized by the “Hunter’s Point Stenches,” horrible odors caused by “bone boiling,” “offal rendering,” manure boats, and oil refining—all part of the many not-so-pleasant industries that called this part of Queens home at the time. 

The smell wafted across the East River and stunk up Manhattan so much, the “State Board of Health on Effluvium Nuisances” had to pursue the matter, reports archived New York Times articles.

There’s no stench now; in fact, the trees and flower boxes make the block smell kind of sweet. Houses in the historic district are going for close to a cool two million, as this ad reveals. 

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