This song is steaming hot.
A comedian has gone viral on TikTok after composing an 80s-style pop anthem that asks a question that’s long plagued New Yorkers: What, exactly, is coming out of those orange and white steam stacks set up all across the Big Apple?
Tom McGovern has clocked up more than 5.5 million views with the Springsteen-esque song that features a saxophone solo from Big Apple resident Gabi Rose.
“What the f—k is happening here? What is coming out of the ground?” McGovern asks in the catchy track that is accompanied by visuals of the eye-catching contraptions. “Why is everybody in the city acting like they aren’t worried while they’re walking around?”
McGovern told The Post on Thursday that he couldn’t stop thinking about the steam stacks after they were pointed out to him by a friend.
“They’re seemingly dangerous and also mysterious,” he declared. “No one’s telling you what’s going on with them. And it’s such a New Yorker thing to keep your head down and not pay attention to steam coming out of the Earth.”
In the viral song, the singer subsequently wonders whether the steam seen rising from the stacks could be heated up urine.
“Ever think that it could be piss that the underground has turned into steam?” the comedian crudely croons. “What if every time you flush the toilet they just take all of the fluid, heat it up and blow it out of the street?”
McGovern’s musical question quickly sparked spirited replies from New Yorkers.
“The Ninja Turtles are just cooking pizzas,” one viewer quipped in the comments section beneath the clip, claiming they’d solved the steam mystery.
Meanwhile, comedian Dane Cook also chimed in saying he was similarly left baffled by the steam stacks.
“I lived in NYC for two years and always wondered what that s–t was,” he declared.
Another perplexed local wrote: “I’ve lived in NYC all 26 years of my life, seen these a million times, and I still have no idea what they are.”
It turns out McGovern’s warmed-up urine theory is far from accurate. The steam is simply made from pure water and isn’t harmful to your health.
New York City has a huge network of underground steam pipes, currently managed by ConEdison.
The steam system started in 1882, with the network today running 106 miles and delivering steam to 1530 customers, including the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station.
The steam helps keep buildings warm in winter and is used to power cooling systems in summer. It also heats up water and, according to Bloomberg, is “a cleaner and more efficient alternative to having each building operate its own boiler.”
However, steam occasionally leaks from the pipes prompting ConEd workers to employ the large orange and white steam stacks on the street before carrying out maintenance work.
“The stacks vent steam leaks and vapor caused by water hitting the steam pipes,” a spokesperson from the utility company told The Post. “They direct the steam above the eye level of drivers and pedestrians. We place a steam stack after determining that there is no immediate safety concern and schedule repairs.”
McGovern’s TikTok track was so such a success that he’s now released an extended edition on Spotify and Apple Music with a second verse that provides an answer about the steam stacks.
“I found out what is happening here,” he sings. “New York City put some pipes underground so they can can carry steam from giant boilers out to buildings that can use it every day year-round.”
“So it turns out it that it’s not really piss,” McGovern crudely continues, “It’s just water that they turned into steam… that is what is happening here.”