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subway smell map
September 26, 2006 12:53 PM   Subscribe

Like old cheese and vomit, mixed with dog food ... Halitosis and aged cabbage ... Rank Swiss cheese ... Sour milk ... Pee in the air every day ... Like an open corpse ... Like a musty homeless person decomposing in musky homeless person urine ... Caramel with a slight undertone of mildly rank underarm ... Rodenticide. It's Gawker's New York City Subway Smell Map.
posted by Urban Hermit (17 comments total)

The smell of feces seems fairly ubiquitous, at least in Manhattan. I don't remember it being that prevalent. Urine, on the other hand, is clearly under-represented.
posted by clevershark at 1:29 PM on September 26, 2006

There is no entry for dirty trust fund hipster douche so they'll never be able to nail the smell on the L train.
posted by spicynuts at 1:32 PM on September 26, 2006 [2 favorites]

Hipsters are douching on the L?
posted by NationalKato at 1:54 PM on September 26, 2006

The smell of feces seems fairly ubiquitous, at least in Manhattan.

My bad. Sorry.
posted by Gamblor at 1:55 PM on September 26, 2006

My neighborhood in the Bronx is oddly odorless.
posted by sohcahtoa at 1:56 PM on September 26, 2006

This doesn't seem to record persistence of smell, and thus does not do justice to the stairs going from the JMZ to the N at Canal street. Those stairs, for seven straight years, have smelled like vomit. I don't know why. I was hoping this site would expose that fact and we could really get to the bottom of it.
posted by one_bean at 2:03 PM on September 26, 2006

The whole London Underground just smells of that black stuff that comes out of your nose when you blow it after having been on the trains for more than five minutes. So, y'know, that map would be simpler.
posted by chrismear at 2:14 PM on September 26, 2006

I think that the Gowanus Smell needs its own icon. The Smith & 9th Street stop (located at the Gowanus) has a slightly different odor every day. (And I don't think its solely due to the body odor of the last few ageing junkies.) I believe that it changes with the many moods of the Gowanus Canal. (Which is not to say that it hasn't improved.)
posted by R. Mutt at 2:21 PM on September 26, 2006

Urine, on the other hand, is clearly under-represented.

Urine is the primer-coat for all of the other smells. It's the city's base odor.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:30 PM on September 26, 2006

2nd ave F needs like six urine symbols and nothing else. Did these people even do the legwork for this?? I'm not impressed, gawker.
posted by shownomercy at 3:19 PM on September 26, 2006

Oops, I thought you were describing the smell in my (now, THANK GOD, ex-) roommate's room.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 3:35 PM on September 26, 2006

Hey, N'Yawkuhs, this reminds me — has Miz Butterworth been back?
posted by rob511 at 5:14 PM on September 26, 2006

For years, subway riders have passed by elevators in stations at Union Square, Borough Hall, Penn Station, Grand Central, and Yankee Stadium, as well as a handful of others, only to be assaulted by an odor passengers have described with phrases like decaying corpse and dirty diaper.

The stench comes from the biodegradable oils used by New York City Transit to lubricate the hydraulic lifts in 98 elevators across the city's 468 stations.

More in the NY Sun, from a year ago today.
posted by Remy at 5:18 PM on September 26, 2006

Heh. I did something like this once...a smell map of Avenue Road, Bangalore...but without the map. Or the bad smells.
posted by dhruva at 6:58 PM on September 26, 2006

I thought they couldn't get my subway station right but lo and behold 116th St B&C: "Crackhead piss mixed with Lysol."
posted by splatta at 8:55 PM on September 26, 2006

sohcahtoa : same here. a partial guess would be that the above ground stations have better air circulation...

aaaand then again this may be related to the fact that you're one of the 3 mefi members within a mile of my location.

posted by arialblack at 10:47 PM on September 26, 2006

I actually hit a smell driving over the Triboro last night that was worse than anything I've encountered on the subway. But that can always change.

At least one of the other people within a mile of us seems to live in my building.
posted by sohcahtoa at 7:27 AM on September 27, 2006

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