Gowanus Lounge: Serving Brooklyn

Cobble Hill Park Stink Mystery Solved: It’s a Ginkgo Tree!

October 28th, 2008 · 8 Comments

Everybody that’s ever had an experience with a ginkgo tree knows they smell like crap, although some people think they smell like puke. So we’ve been amused by the ongoing discussion on the BoCoCa Parents group about the stanky sandbox in lovely Cobble Hill Park. It started with this:

Smelly Sandbox at Cobble Hill Park: Is the smell getting worse or is it me? It almost smells like it is coming from the sand box itself now.

Then came this:

It’s the tree that is near the sign that says ‘keep sand in sandbox’ or something like that. I forget what kind of tree it is, but the grape type things it drops just reek!!! I think I got one on the wheel of my stroller and I kept thinking that someone puked in the closet where the stroller is stored. Some of the grape-like things may have dropped into the sandbox, but the stink is definitely coming from the tree.

And this:

all of you (that it bothers) should call 311 and file a complaint because if it is something like… stray cat poop… then that is unsanitary and the parks dept should take care of it right away (ideally getting rid of all the old sand and putting fresh).

And this:

Yes – these trees drop their berries this time of year and the berries smell like vomit – it’s the Ginko Tree.� �Their smell is bad, but they are environmentally friendly since they are known to be great at taking the bad toxins out of the air.� This is why they are a popular pick to plant in city areas.

So, you see, even though it smells like someone hurled, it’s good for you.

Tags: Cobble Hill · Uncategorized

8 responses so far ↓

  • 1 spnder // Oct 28, 2008 at 10:31 am

    I figured out this mystery a couple years ago. I could have sworn that my neighbor was having his dogs crap in the bushes in front of his house. Once I found out the cause of the stench I learned to walk into the street to avoid getting the sticky ginko berries on the bottom of my shoes.

  • 2 PW // Oct 28, 2008 at 10:37 am

    How stupid are these people? The Ginko berries fall every Fall. The NYT did a story about the smelly ginko a few years back, It seems, the ginko nut has similar properties as rancid butter! Hence the smell.

  • 3 Marie // Oct 28, 2008 at 10:38 am

    And if it’s packaged nicely in a box you spend money for it and hopes it helps you remember something you forgot. The fruit is sold dried in China Town. Chinese ladies collect them before they’re totally stinky, off trees on the LES…The male plants are better choices as…They do not produce fruit.

  • 4 oneiroi // Oct 28, 2008 at 10:41 am

    I found this out first hand recently…

    On my runs in prospect park, there is a path that is covered in them and they’re all crushed. To me it smells like someone hid some cheese and let it go bad.

  • 5 Brenda from Flatbush // Oct 28, 2008 at 12:34 pm

    When you encounter the “stinko ginkgo” fruit in the park, you may notice discarded latex gloves nearby. It’s from the Chinese folks who collect them (for the nut, I’ve been told, which is made into some kind of flour). I believe the leaves may be the source of the compound with alleged memory-boosting properties. (It didn’t work for me. What didn’t? Um, something…)

  • 6 bby // Oct 29, 2008 at 12:32 pm

    good to see i’m not the only one wondering what cave these people grew up in…

  • 7 latonya whitley // Nov 19, 2008 at 12:56 pm

    My first encounter was 11.16.08 on my way to church and yes my first thought was who the hecked puked all in the street, i thought someone was drunk and puked up their guts from the Saturday night prior. Oh JESUS what a horrible smell. Thanks for clearing up the mystery.

  • 8 Lagoboss // Dec 6, 2008 at 7:43 pm

    OMG! This tree is right around the corner from my house and school. My mom tracked some in the car one day and it smelled of vomit and crap. This tree makes me hate whoever planted and who ever thought of putting it there because they don’t have to deal with it on a daily bases. Its horrid and I want to start a petition to get rid of it!!! 🙁