Wednesday, August 26, 2009

There are 8 Million Smells in the Naked City

New York is a city of strong smells that go along with its loud noises and powerful tastes. Some of the smells are bad, some good, some nostalgic and some are so new it's hard to categorize them.

Let's get the bad smells out of the way first
(and this is just a scent sampler, so to speak): subway stations on hot, summer days (ditto piles of garbage), manure (rare and attributable to either carriage or police horses), faux butter in movie theaters, the former Fulton Fish Market, the peroxide smell of hair salons (sorry, hair spas) and the ubiquitous city "sewer gas" (I don't know what causes it and I don't want to know!).

Good smells include but are not limited to: fresh cut flowers on the sidewalks outside greengrocers, roasted nuts sold by street vendors, freshly baked bread
(still produced by some storefront bakeries), the cool earthy smell that many old stone churches have, coffee stores and the air after a strong rain. Note: the smell of manure can be considered a good smell by some nature-starved city dwellers and tourists from the Midwest.

Nostalgic smells include places that are still imbued with scents from earlier lives such as the vinegar, Chiclets and Silvercup factories and the meat-packing district
(not all nostalgic smells are good), the beach at Coney Island and egg creams.

Then there are the smells that are so new I'm not sure how to categorize them...for example, the smell of the vinyl seat cushions in pedi-cabs.

Whew! or should I say phew! How do you spell P U?

No comments: