what the hell is a sump?
by Michele Christopher
Apparently, I need to explain what a sump is (see this post)
According to wiki: A sump is a low space that collects an often-undesirable liquid(s) such as water or chemicals.
Except most of the sumps here are dried out. So it was basically a huge landfill. But with no fill. We had to cut a hole in the gate to get in (that they kept fixing and we kept cutting) and there was a perimeter of grass and dirt that went around it (we used it as a shortcut through town) and then it sloped down to a huge basin.
It was filled with all kinds of brush and dirt and garbage. Lots of wildflowers and weeds and overgrown shrubbery, most of it pretty dried out and very flammable, as we would come to know.
There were huge pipes built into the sides - big enough to stand up in - that sometimes were dry but sometimes had a few inches of standing water in them. When you were running from someone and looking for a place to hide, it was a crapshoot going into a pipe. You might get lucky or you might get wet.
It was a filthy place littered with broken glass and old shopping carts and beer cans and used condoms. And rats. We heard the rats more than saw them. There were also raccoon and possums. That’s what passes for wildlife on Long Island. But it was huge, so different groups of kids could hang out in it and never even see each other. We had parties in the one sump down the block from me. We went sledding down the sides of it in the winter. We hid from the police, our parents, rival gangs (ok, not gangs, but kids from other towns who wanted to start fights) in the pipes and bushes. We lit off M80's and watched a thousand birds freak out and shoot up into the sky. We caught frogs and, well, I’m not gonna get into that.
I think there were actually three different sumps we hung out in. Two are still here and if it stops raining, I’ll go take a picture later. There was one over by the church that was filled with water on the bottom and we just hung out on the edge of it, but it was closed off when a car ran into it the people in the car drowned. Actually, they ended up filling that in and building "luxury" homes over the land. I know that kids hang out now in the ones we hung out in, but they use it more for “jackass” type stuff, like pushing each other down the slopes in shopping carts while someone video tapes the whole thing, waiting for someone to break an arm or leg so they can load the video up on ebaumsworld.
Kids these days. Always wasting our natural resources.
[thank you to Turtle for spending the morning helping me find pics]