Mystery “Summer Snow” Seen in Bushwick and Williamsburg


A mysterious Styrofoam-like substance has been spotted in yards in Bushwick and Williamsburg.

“What is this stuff?” asked a Bushwick resident on Facebook. “It’s all over my back yard and the yard at the [cat] adoption event, several miles away [in Williamsburg]. It seems like tiny bits of Styrofoam.”

“Summer snow,” joked a commenter. It’s an ingredient in cladding for buildings under construction in the area, theorized other posters. “The fake stucco that’s going up in the neighborhood,” said one. “First the house is covered with Styrofaom squares that are cut into shape (hence the foam bits).” Another Bushwick commenter called it “Hasidic stucco,” saying, “Yeah, it’s the shit they’re cladding all the new building in. Was weeding today and a ton of it was all over everything.”

Feral cats in a Bushwick backyard were covered in the white bits. Thanks to a tipster for the photo.

Anyone else seen this in their neck of the woods or know more about it?

8 Comment

  • It’s EIFS (Exterior Insulation & Finish Systems). It’s the ABSOLUTELY cheapest way to finish a building. It’s actually quite energy efficient but it’s uglier than sin and it blankets the whole neighborhood (and eventually aquifers) in styrofoam when they grind it down to shape it.

  • does anyone know the implications of having this stuff all over the place? i guess it’s no worse than all the broken glass and crack vials in my garden soil but it certainly is disconcerting.

    • For your garden, probably no effect (other than being there for over 500 years) since it is used sometimes in potting soil to lighten up and aerate the mix. For marine life, it’s probably really bad if it makes its way into the sewer and is not intercepted by filters before it hits the open water.

  • It’s prevalent around many new construction sites. Boerum Hill has its share. Sate Street got inundated one day several months ago.

  • You know Brooklyn is a small world when you see something that showed up on your Facebook wall make an appearance on Brownstoner.

  • This stuff blows around everywhere nowadays. I am not one to add any more construction codes than there already are, but DOT should mandate some kind of collection system for this stuff. All they would have to do is have a vacuum and collection bag and filter next to the saw they use to cut it – very low tech and cheap.

  • used in roofing applications all the time too… most contractors don’t bother doing anything to control these bits flying off as they cut to fit on site. it’s annoying, but relatively harmless.