The sunlight lit up the sidewalk. The sidewalk simply sparkled in the light.
Except for those dark splotches.
What ARE those dark splotches??
Get ready for this, people. Those dark splotches all over the sidewalks are…
Yes – gross, spit-out ABC gum.
Already Been Chewed gum.
It apparently is not a new problem. Here is a reprint of an article that ran in The New York Times on April 17, 1921:
BOGGED IN CHEWING GUM.
A Prophecy as to the Ultimate Fate of New Yorkers.
Chewing gum appears to have a very firmly established place with Americans, but now it has its objectionable features, just like all fads, according to Mrs. M. L. Heath, manager of the Travel Information Bureau of the Boomer Hotels. Mrs. Heath says that unless the vogue of gum-chewing passes or unless city, State and national laws are passed and funds appropriated for a special sidewalk cleaning department, with chemical outfits and scrapers, the City of New York may become totally enveloped in refuse chewing gum in the course of time.
“Few people realize what it means to have this refuse chewing gum lying about on the sidewalks and pavements,” said Mrs. Heath. “It is deposited in enormous quantities and at first it is extremely unpleasant to walk over, although this is lessened by the absorption of dust and it gradually works into the pavement. But, of course, what is bad for some is good for others and it applied to this case the other day when a young Latin-American couple returned to the McAlpin Hotel after a sightseeing trip about the city.
“They came in to tell me how much they had enjoyed the trip, and remarked that they had never seen such delightful walks as were found here in spots. ‘Soft to the touch, yet very firm,’ they said, ‘much of the paving seemed to be of a spotted material and in other places is a solid brown or black. We walked for miles and never tired, and neither of us are good walkers.’ I explained to them it was chewing gum, and that we thought it was something of a menace – that business houses and tenants fight against it with scrapers and gasoline, but it keeps ahead of them – but the South Americans could not get my point of view.”
Fast-forward to the here and now.
There is a company called GumBusters.
Some details from their website:
The GumBusters system is 100 percent effective in removing all shapes and sizes of gum with a simple method. The gum is heated with 300-degree dry steam which is then mixed with a cleaning agent. With a little pressure, a small brush at the end of the cleaning hose will remove the stain. The best part is that the process can be done without closing off streets or disrupting daily activity.
Bubblegum, sugarless, spearmint – to GumBusters they all wind up the same, as sticky blackened spots on the landscape. The only difference is that sometimes when the heat hits the gum, “the smell wafts up, and you can tell if it’s cinnamon, grape or strawberry.”
And, do you know the history of chewing gum?
“Modern chewing gum was first developed in the 1860s when chicle was exported from Mexico for use as a rubber substitute. Chicle did not succeed as a replacement for rubber, but as a gum it was soon adopted and due to newly established companies such as Adams New York Chewing Gum (1871), Black Jack (1884) and “Chiclets” (1899), it soon dominated the market.”
And, Just where did Thomas Adams invent his modern-day chewing gum?
In New York City, of course!
Should we thank him or curse him?
Well, at least we have the services of GumBusters!