Stop Eating Fish From the East River, You Morons

In Depth

Maybe don’t eat the sewage creatures from New York City’s biggest floating used condom emporium? Just a thought.

Via Our Town, numerous New York residents are apparently totally cool with catching and eating fish from a river that up until very recently, was not considered safe for human beings to even enter, let alone partake of its bounty. If you’re looking for an answer to “why the hell would someone do that to themselves,” well, here you go:

“Personally I like organic stuff, so I prefer fresh fish. I don’t eat farmed fish,” said Walid Zowaal, 52, as he gazed out at his fishing line, which stretched out in the waters of the East River just below 100th Street.
He pondered the potential health risks of eating from New York City’s waterways, which contain unsafe levels of chemicals and other toxins. “I have thought about it, but it’s good,” he said of the fish. “It’s not that bad.”

That sound you just heard was me fracturing my desk with my forehead. That’s not what organic means. I mean, yes, that is what organic means insofar as you are consuming a life form that is still (at least technically) organic, but not in the sense you’re thinking. “I don’t eat farmed fish,” he says, channeling the snooty, irritatingly white hipster every single server needs therapy to get over having to deal with on a weekly basis. The idea that farmed fish are equivocally worse than “fresh” fish ripped from a cesspool of pollution, sewage, and dead mobsters is the worst and most potentially consequential mix-up of “good” and “bad” since someone allowed Drew Magary to dress himself. It becomes exponentially worse when you realize this guy knows what a terrible idea this is, and his reaction is basically, “fuck it, yolo.”

The state Department of Health “cautions” against eating fish from the waterways of New York City. That might seem like milquetoast-y language, but they’re not really allowed to say “are you kidding me, how dumb are you” in official documents. They state that males over 15 can maybe eat 1-4 meals from river fish per month (depending on the fish), but kids under 15 and women under 50 really should not, at all, ever. Because of course you shouldn’t, they’re fucking poisonfish. Hell, there are signs along New York waterways that actually say “Warning: fish contaminated, do not eat.”

It’s tempting to simply throw our hands up and point out that this is natural selection taking its course—and in the case of adults that do this to themselves, that’s true. But some of these people have kids, and feed their kids sewagefish, and they don’t see anything wrong with that. While I hate to go all “think of the children” on any subject, no kid deserves to be few sewage fish. Maybe don’t? Yeah, I’m gonna go with “don’t.”

Image via AP.

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