"That's Grumman Airport," my dad used to say. "Late at night, I can hear them testing engines over there."
Okay, Grumman was never an "airport." But it certainly was big enough to be one. Grumman was an aerospace equipment manufacturer that was in business in central Long Island from 1930 to 1994, when it sold to Northrop and closed up that particular shop.Their heyday was during the Cold War. Their products were so durable and reliable, many people just referred to them as an "iron factory."
Inevitably, a large-scale manufacturer in the late 20th century was going to use chemicals, and before the 1970s, no one gave a thought to what those chemicals were, where they could go, and what they could do when they got there. We started learning about environmental pollution when we were in middle school, and part of the uneasy feeling it gave us could be articulated as "Man, that's awful! ...But what exactly are we supposed to do about it?"