Puzzled Over


There are weeks where the news just keeps topping itself, where it feels like the universe is trying the one-up itself into oblivion. We’re certainly in one of those weeks – just look at the news stories crossing the globe. White Sox sweep the series, Harriet Miers withdraws from the Supreme Court nomination process, Sheryl Swoopes and Sulu both come out of the closet, and we’re almost to Fitzmas.

But all of these pale in comparison to the shock and horror NYC faced last night: the [entire city smelled of something sweet](, somewhat resembling maple syrup. From Columbia down to SoHo, crossing waterways over to Staten Island and, yes, even Astoria/LIC, the smell could not be denied. Reports say it even made it all the way to New Jersey. The New York Times is running the delightful headline, [Good Smell Perplexes New Yorkers]( The Post, insisting on being doom-and-gloom all the time, is running with “[STRONG WHIFF OF WORRY DOWNTOWN](”

You want to talk terror? Try sitting in your apartment and at 11 o’clock at night, having the sudden urge to have breakfast. Then realize that urge is because the world around you has become tinted with sweet – unidentifiable sweet. It will drive you mad, trying to figure out what the smell is. Worst of all, you cannot do anything about it.

As of press time, the police have no idea what caused the smell, although we’ve been assured that emergency response teams were sent out:

> There were so many calls that the city’s Office of Emergency Management coordinated efforts with the Police and Fire Departments, the Coast Guard and the City Department of Environmental Protection to look into it.

Visualize this, for it is a hilarious mental image. For further amusement, imagine the radio chatter.

Conspiracy theorists are already speculating as to the cause. Most point to an insidious attack from Canada. Of course, I have my own crackpot hypothesis: a multi-corporate advertising campaign to get New Yorkers eating breakfast again. It is obviously the most skipped meal in the city, and what better way to kickstart the industry than delicious chemical warfare?

I, for one, welcome our new smelly overlords. I am tired of the horrible odor of the 51st St. 6/E/V station, the Chelsea streets that smell of dog pee in the summer, the constant diesel fumes. I say, give me more smell subversion! I want the city smelling of fresh baked pretzels, or sizzling bacon, or hot grilled souvlaki, or anything even remotely considered delicious.

**Bring it on, olfactory assassins!**

RELATED TANGENT: Coffee Shop on Union Square serves Brazilian Pancakes with a Passion Fruit syrup. The pancakes are excellent (“brazilian” = slightly fried to give them a crispy top), but the syrup should be considered a weapon of mass destruction. Not because it’s bad, mind you – but because it is so concentrated and fruity. Might be a good hangover cure.