Monday, January 8, 2007

The smells of a great city

It was a great day for noses in the city. I walked from Penn Station to my office. Got in before 9 AM. As I walked to my desk, I noticed the faint odor of a gas leak. It got stronger and stronger. I called the front desk, and they said that the building was looking into it. I went into my office, but by then the noxious aroma was everywhere. I decided to go outside for some fresh air.

People were milling about in the lobby, which was my first sign that it wasn't limited to our floor. I went outside, and the gas stench was just as bad in front of the building. More people were congregated outside, and some of the arrivals said that they had smelled the natural gas on the subway, or at their homes.

I pulled up channel 4 on my cell phone (thanks, Slingbox!) and they had a report on the citywide natural gas odor. So it wasn't my imagination. The press conference didn't shed much light on the source:

Con Ed: "We have detected no leaks or potential sources that can be traced
back to our utility."

Bloomberg: "Oh yeah, Con Ed? Well, whoever denied it supplied it."

Con Ed: "Whoever smelt it dealt it, Mike."

I figured I'd go back up to my office. People were pointing fingers and it smelled like they were all being pulled. I made the right choice, for the air was pretty much fresh again within 20 minutes or so.

Hours later, I got on the 6:27 train home. The conductor actually apologized in advance over the PA because four of the bathroom cars were too raunchy for anyone to sit in. He advised people to find an even-numbered train car to avoid the stench.

Mystery solved.

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