In my recent visit in New York and in other USA cities I decided to take with me a portable carbon monoxide device and measure the air quality across the cities during my trip.
The CO Sensor was placed on a net pocket that I had sewed on my backpack. I am quite the craftsman! The experiment had to be done correctly to ensure that the air flowed easily and the measurements were taken correctly and constantly.
On the graphs below you can see the air quality during the 5 days in the NY City. The first day on 15th June I was mainly on the 5th avenue visiting the Rockefeller Center, the New York Public Library, the Grand Central Terminal and the Chrysler Building on the 3rd avenue. Finally during the afternoon I was on the Greenwich Village and One World Observatory Building. A small amount of CO in the atmosphere, but in my opinion nothing to worry about. The weather was sunny and a bit windy at 16 km/h (SSE).
On the 16th June I was again on the 5th avenue, then on Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum and the MoMA. As the previous day the CO in the atmosphere was in acceptable levels. The weather was a bit colder and the wind speed was at 18 km/h (ENE).
On the 17th June I was on Union Square, on Wall Street, the National September 11 Memorial and the Guggenheim Museum. That day the weather was rainy and the wind speed was 11 km/h (ESE). The air quality became a bit worse.
On the 18th June I was in Chinatown, the Statue of Liberty, the Ellis Island and Brooklyn Bridge. The weather was sunny, quite warm and the wind speed was at 17 km/h (South). The air quality was lower than the previous days and especially on the Brooklyn Bridge the CO reached 5,6ppm. I didn’t have other sensors with me, but I can assure you that the air quality was very bad and later that day when I cleaned my nose there was black stain on the tissue which indicates that PMs pollutants were present that day in high amounts.
On the 19th June I was in Madison Square, the Flatiron, High Line, the John Lennon Memorial / Central Park and the American Museum of Natural History. The weather was good again and the wind speed was at 20 km/h (South). The air quality was low again with the highest value of CO at 7,7ppm.
The Central Park and the open ocean help NYC to breathe. They maintain NYC viable. I don’t want to offend anyone, but it seemed to me that US citizens love the big black SUVs and most of the times only one person was inside the vehicle. They even slept or passed time inside their idling vehicles. I saw that across all East US cities that I visited. The subway in NY was awful. I understand why some people don’t like public transports. It’s dirty, smelly and hot. During the weekends it doesn’t function properly and you will be lucky to reach your destination in time. With a monthly cost of $121.00. Some neighborhoods in NY were in better conditions than others. Greenwich Village was a nice place to live but Chinatown wasn’t. Chinatown was the place where I saw the majority of people smoke. The bike lanes are few to none and few people commute on bikes, I feel them as there was no serious infrastructure for cyclists. On Brooklyn Bridge people were cycling and walking along the non-stop traffic, not so healthy. Finally I didn’t see any Tesla car or other 100% Electric Vehicle with the exception of some Toyota hybrids, any comments on that? I thought Tesla vehicles were made in USA! In Denmark I saw more Tesla and other EVs than anywhere else so far. In addition to the air pollution I would like to mention that the plastic consumption in NY was huge. The food was always served on plastic plates with plastic silverware in restaurants, hotels etc. Also the last few years there is a tendency for people to hold a cup of coffee in a plastic cup and walk downtown. First plastic water bottles and now plastic coffee cups. As a tourist I had hard time to find a glass or porcelain plate to eat like a person with dignity and respect for the environment.
All in all New York is a huge city and pollution is inevitable, luckily its position alleviate the conditions. However people have to become more aware and think twice about their choices. The city needs quite big improvements regarding the transportation too. Also I wish I had a small portable PM sensor with me to take more measurements because I think PMs were more present than CO.