I have been at the vanguard of the Brooklyn, New York City rotting pumpkin beat since writing my first piece on the crisis in November 2020. Despite having published a particularly graphic rotting pumpkin photo a few days shy of the 2022 edition of Halloween, I was please to see that it did not seem like too many people had left their Halloween and Thanksgiving pumpkins and gourds to freeze, thaw, and freeze again in 2022. In each of the last two years, I published photos of very un-seasonal rotting pumpkins seen in January 2021 and March(!?) 2022. Would this year be the first year with no January-March rotting pumpkins to report?

A rotting pumpkin seen atop a patch of dead leaves next to the sidewalk in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn, in January 2023. The stem fell off the pumpkin and sits next to it.
Note that stem toppled off the pumpkin…

No. No it would not.

I came across this rotting pumpkin on January 7, 2023, in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. The first thing about it that triggered by ocular radar was not the orange, oozing body of the pumpkin proper, but instead the stem which had at some point detached itself from what surely was once a proud orange fruit. This pumpkin is right in front of the stairs to the entrance of a building where residents must have left it to suffer the indignity that befalls over-ripened squash in sometimes-below freezing temperatures.

I wish that this pumpkin was an aberration, but it turned out to be only the start of a trend. I came across three or four more gourds in varying states of decay not too long after documenting this bit of squash squalor. This state of affairs may be amenable to rats and squirrels (more likely rats in this particular case), but it is not in accord with good taste.

I am once again calling on the good people of Brooklyn to not leave pumpkins to rot outdoors in the winter.