When I first got to NYC and started living in my apartment, I noticed black dust on countertops and constantly dirty floors. Every time I returned to NYC, I would see more black dust all over everything - how they got into my sealed apartment I do not know. The edges of my windows were crusted with dirty soot from years of exposure to the smog of Manhattan. The first time I opened them, I was greeted by a cloud of black dust shook loose by my jerking the window open. Needless to say, I refuse to open them now as they left the window sill and nearby floor covered with the soot.
A friend of mine who lived in NYC said she always cleaning. Always wiping off everything, always mopping the floors in an attempt to keep ahead of the black soot that seemed to settle on everything every day. It was the one thing she hated about NYC and never seemed to be able to fix.
On my first bike ride, I came back with black soot dots all over my legs from riding behind the taxis and on dirty roads. I ran screaming into the shower to scrub it off!
This is what you get used to living in a big city. Dirty air. You ignore it. It's the price you pay for getting the benefits of hanging out in the Big Apple and experiencing all it has to offer.
It grossed me out. I'm used to wonderful Northern California air away from smog and exhaust fumes. I sought to fight this somehow!
I bought a Sharper Image Ionic Breeze air purifier. I also put this special filter on a vent which continually spewed black bits onto my kitchen countertops.
Every two weeks I pull out the electrodes of the Ionic Breeze and note they are covered with black soot. It's pretty disgusting to clean off and I'm glad it's out of the air I breathe. Miraculously, I dust less. After months of mopping the floors they are finally looking shiny. And no more black bits on my countertop although it does look like time to replace the vent filter as its turning black.
It is time for us as a society to do better than spewing more soot into the air. We still have a long way to go to fight the inertia of old technologies and a political machine that is strangely resistant to creating a cleaner world for our children.
I still run in Manhattan, sucking in the soot filled air and not thinking about what I'm breathing in. But I don't bike outside any more. Somehow if I don't see it on my body, it makes it easier to ignore...?.