Neighbors Horrified By Fish Filets Drying On Bensonhurst Roof


One resourceful Bensonhurst family is using solar power to preserve their fish, and neighbors are not pleased.

Cynthia Christo, who lives across the street from the offenders, sent us a photo of the filets, which she spotted hanging out to dry on the roof of a home at 9am this morning.

“They keep coming out and beating the bugs off of it,” she said. “We called 311, but they didn’t know what to label it under, so they didn’t do anything.”

This is not the first sun-based barbecue sighting in the neighborhood. In July, a Dyker Heights resident drew the ire of the internet — and his neighbors — when the Brooklyn Paper published a photo of his shrimp roasting on the sidewalk in front of his home. The Health Department set a date to respond to the complaint, but at that point, the prawns were long gone.

Drying fish with sunlight and wind is a curing method that has been used since ancient times and continues to be used across the globe. Often the filets are salted or smoked before drying.

Similarly, when the weather heats up, a classic middle school science experiment is to make solar-baked chocolate chip cookies using construction paper and tin foil. But when living in tight, urban quarters, you run the risk of being scrutinized by busybody neighbors.

“We’re going to get rodents. I am afraid that I’ll come home to a rat,” said Christo. “It’s just disgusting.”

How do you feel about the sun-dried fish? Is it charming and ingenious or a serious public health problem? Share your thoughts in the comments.

  • Ned Berke


  • Catherine

    I find that amusing. All I can say is that person is resourceful.

  • Laura

    It’s not a public health concern if it’s on a roof and they’re watching it, it’s not like they’re just dumping fish on the sidewalk. If they can preserve fish like that without birds getting it, I think that’s a great idea. In a lot of countries nobody would bat an eye about it.

    • GTeye20113

      Then they should go back to those countries.

      • Kathy

        You should go back to your country

      • Laura

        *slow clap*

  • Mike

    How is this a health problem? I’m sure those people who complain are really dirty themselves.

  • sandracollettipolacco

    Disgusting. Who would want to eat fish that bugs have crawled all over, dirt, pollution.

    • Sean F

      I guess you don’t eat raisins or other dried fruits. Most are made in the open air, using ancient sun-drying techniques. Hams and other smoked meats are purposely put into rooms full of smoke (i.e.: wood ash, i.e.: pollution) to process the meat and give them their unique flavor.

      Actually, you probably would want to avoid watching any modern processed foods being made. Modern manufacturing methods aren’t much better than fish on a rooftop. The old saying “Laws are like sausages — it is best not to see them being made.” remains a valid one with respect to processed meats. It’s very likely that Sinclair Lewis could have written THE JUNGLE as easily in 2006 as in 1906.

    • Emme

      I guess you don’t realize how dirty the water is. Or if you eat any canned food, you should know that rodents have crawled all over them before the cans were shipped to your local store. Let’s not forget that in every canned product, there are little specks of bugs. This is all legal by the way. If you eat fast food, a lot of the workers especially the ones who are practically still in high school tend to spit into the ice machines when they’re bored. There are worst things in the world than someone curing their own fish like ignorant people leaving comments like this on the internet.

      • sandracollettipolacco

        It is my opinion and I am allowed to leave a comment like this. I find it offensive on a neighborhood roof. What happens to the food I eat, I already know. I do wash all cans bought in the stores.

  • kiwidiva

    Would they object if it was a tray of tomatoes?

    • Nick DeSanto

      Tomatoes don’t smell like fish?

  • Emme

    I don’t understand how people find this disgusting but they don’t realize the regular foods they eat are actually disgusting. Rodents are everywhere. If drying fish on a roof bring in rodents, then garbage would do that much quicker. How exactly is this bothering the neighbors? “Oh hey, I think your cultural habits are disgusting. Please stop, they bother me because they aren’t my own and that’s why you shouldn’t do them. It’s just not right that you don’t live like me.”

  • Warren Chan

    Public Health Concern = Dog Poop. Not dried meat.

  • Jeff

    This is how dry abalone is being processed :)

  • Sean F

    Maybe it’s just some strange, leftover Halloween decoration? :)

  • Annie

    My immigrant parents in Brooklyn used to sun-dry tomatoes, figs, and almonds. And then share them with our neighbors : )

  • JoeFish

    oops, there goes the neighborhood…this is why we can’t have nice things…is this better or worse than the people that hang their laundry our their windows on broom sticks? this just makes the whole neighborhood look like crap but hey if you don’t care then it is what it is.

    • Sean F

      As if anyone is really paying attention to what’s hanging on the rooftops as they pass by. Unlike the sidewalk shrimp, this incident is discreet and has no bearing on the look of the neighborhood. If you are scanning people’s roofs, you are probably a busybody who has no respect for your neighbors.

      As for the broomsticks, people hang their laundry to dry whereever they will get the best dry. Just like all the European immigrants did back in the day. I grew up around here, and laundry hanging from windows and fire escapes didn’t become a criminal offense until Asians started doing it too.

      • sandracollettipolacco

        The Italian Immigrants hung their laundry on clothes lines, in this neighborhood and in their backyards. Not their front window.

        • Catherine

          Yikes! This is turning into a race issue now.

          • Sean F

            Unfortunately, the only reason people in Bensonhurst post photos like this online is because of race issues. Then they get all holier-than-thou in denying their own kind’s immigrant experience, rather than admit that we are all human beings, equal under the law, and in God’s eyes.

            I freely admit that the publication of photos like this is the least becoming aspect of Bensonhurst Bean. I give them the benefit of the doubt that these are posted in all good intent, and for the sake of prompting increased commentary on the site because they know this rt of thing will draw the bigots out of the gutters, and into a paying demographic.

        • Sean F

          Incorrect. Plenty of people of multiple ethnicities who lived in front apartments hung laundry from windows and fire escapes. Immigrants of all stripes do whatever they need to do with the resources available to them.

  • frackedup

    Not a health issue. Why would anyone care about this?

  • Stephen Fan

    Similar issues occurring in a suburban CT Chinatown. Join the discussion at NY’s Museum of Chinese in America’s SubUrbanisms exhibit: or check out the publication: