Monday, June 20, 2011
Stench hunting isn’t easy.
Stand on a New York City sidewalk next to the window of a ground floor apartment and you could be smelling a French cheese or a pile of dirty diapers. Tough call without any context cues.
Same goes for the brighter end of the olfactory spectrum. You’d think perfumers would use their esoteric knowledge to meet chicks at will. “Wow, I love that Gucci Rush you’re wearing” is an outstanding opening line—as long as it’s correct. However, ID’ing fragrance on skin is notoriously difficult. The potential for humiliation and loss of professional dignity discourages all but the most reckless and horny perfumers from using this approach.
When Molly Young of New York Magazine asked me if I’d accompany her on scent tour of the Lower East Side—specifically the famously malodorous block of Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge—I figured “what the hell?” I have been writing about smellscapes, might as well go check one out.
Ms. Young’s piece—"The Smelliest Block in New York"—was published today, and it turns out she had a hidden agenda; she was intent on identifying the stink at one address in particular. To that end she had previously taken an investigative stroll with someone referred to at FirstNerve Manor as TNYTODPC.
Molly! Why didn’t you tell me you were in touch with MAD’s Curator of Olfactory Art? I would have winched the mothballed BurrOmeter onto the flatbed and driven it in from Jersey. Plus, I could have unloaded a ton of Jean-Claude Ellena bobbleheads over on 14th Street.
Oh well. It’s tough to stay mad at Ms. Young (who is cute as a button). And her story is pretty entertaining.