NYC Smells on a Book
& Odd Odors in Bottles
Scientists have long known that the sense of smell is not just the most emotionally evocative of our senses, it’s also the most subtle.
It can influence decisions, derail business deals and crucially affect our judgment about a our fellow man (or woman).
Now, a self-published book will offer a tour of the rich, varied and often brutal smells you come across in New York City.
Following that, check the oddest collection of smells ever contained in a bottle, and see whether one of your favorites is out in the market, sold as a perfume.
SCRATCH AND SNIFF
New York, Phew York has accomplished what no multimillion dollar Hollywood production has been able to: capture a sample of this city’s odors.
Author Amber Jones created it as a children’s guide to New York, but any resident will be touched by its collection of smells, from freshly-baked pizza to uncollected garbage piles. Even the musty steam from city manholes can be evocative and, as with any smell, pack a punch of memories and feelings to New Yorkers.
Editors may complain about Amazon.com’s attempt at striking deals directly with the authors themselves, but Jones has a few tales of her own about publisher rejection.
They praised her editorial template, a family’s adventures in the city, but twitched their noses at including “bad” smells in the book, such as roadkill and horse manure.
Fortunately, she ignored their advice, and advanced orders show that she may be on to something. After the official release in November, a series may follow it.
Smoke, shish kebabs and pastrami; sewer, pickles and churros are some of the odors included. Perhaps a future edition will feature some of our own favorites: old book store, subway tracks and the backseat stench inside some taxis.
WHAT’S THAT SMELL?
Imagine if you could turn into a perfume and bottle a particular event in your life? What about a colorful character in your childhood; would you ever coat your neck and wrists with their scents?
Etat Libre d’Orange is a line of colognes aimed at providing those bored with the fragrances of Calvin and Issey with just the sensorial alternative they may crave.
Try the Fat Electrician, for men. Because there’s nothing like keeping in a flask the scent of an end-of-a-busy-shift, slightly overweight laborer, who’s just fixed you power connection.
Other Etat Libre selections include Putain de Palaces, Delicious Closet Queen, and even Tilda Swinton Likes This. All with indications whether they are for men or women, but we wouldn’t take that too seriously either.
BOTTLING BODY FLUIDS
The online magazine Mental Floss lists other examples of unusual, strange and purely odd scents turned into perfumes. So essences of Lobster, Bacon, Stilton Cheese and Your Blood Type by different manufacturers can be purchased, but they seem somewhat predictable, if you’re already into this sort of thing.
There’s one, though, that we did come across months ago, but our strict editorial board concluded that it was, most likely, a hoax, so you wouldn’t have found anything about it here.
Urine, by ‘conceptual artist Cherry Tree,’ is described as being recycled from the artist’s own body fluids. Somehow, we’re still having a hard time buying it.
SCENT AND SENSIBILITY
But in consideration to the site, which we consult often for fresh scholarship and insight, it’s included here, for your own pleasure.
Those inspired by this post may also come up with their own ideas. In a famous Seinfeld episode, the character Kramer did come up with a unique scent, promptly greeted with scorn by his fellow sitcom friends.
Whether if by chance or pure marketing research, the scent did get bottled and sold a few years after, to relative success, by a clothing chain.
So nothing prevents you from creating, for example, the Eau of Refrigerator Repairman, or a Wet Dog Cologne, branded perhaps according to the breed, or hair length, for optimal effect.
As with your own most treasured remembrances, a New Yorker’s pleasing memory may be instantly triggered by just a whiff of your creation, to great pride from your family and friends.
Better yet, what about those electronic nose machines you see in subway stations, designed to detect dangerous chemicals? What if someone could bottle the contents of their filters?
Each could be named after its location: Union Square Station, Rush Hour. Or Grand Central Fragrance. And, for the nostalgic of a bygone era, the legendary Ol’ Times Square Scent, 3OZ.