1. Trash Bags
Aka, the most famous of all the smells in the Big Apple. In an unofficial, (very) improvised poll, all of the New Yorkers asked indicated the smell of trash as a most significant one. Those are facts. And then there are tons of real life experiences, especially on a hot summer day. The trick: take a breath three steps after passing the trash bags.
2. Fresh Laundry
Every now and then after passing trash bags, your nose will be pleased by the smell of fresh laundry detergent. Too bad it mostly happens in residential areas only.
All the time. Everywhere. Aren’t New Yorkers running on a coffee? The beautiful smell of coffee seems to accompany you anywhere you go. Whether it’s a chain coffee shop, a small independent cafe, or a coffee truck, you literally can not walk a block without getting an olfactory-caffeine fix.
4. Subway Air
I know what you might be thinking, but let’s just call it “a warm breeze” and ignore all the other smells you can find on the subway.
5. Honey Roasted Peanuts
Sometimes when strolling the Central Park area, a mysterious sweet aroma grabs your attention. In tracking the smell, you’ll be surprised its source is a tiny truck lit by a single light bulb and full of roasted peanuts.
6. ‘Chicken Over Rice’ From a Food Truck
This one’s more frequent but less pleasant—depending on your taste buds and the time of day. Halal trucks are an easy and cheap way of keeping your belly full anytime.
7. Perfume on Fifth Ave.
Posh stores and luxurious fashion all live together on Fifth Ave—together with the heavy perfumes and colognes of their shoppers and owners.
One of the best smells.
9. Wintery Air
Ever noticed that cold air has a smell? The concrete jungle of New York City makes it even more specific. It is sharp and tickles you right in the nose.
10. Melting Concrete in the Summer
It is another story during the summer when the burning sun is melting everything within reach, including you.
11. Nail Polish Salons
There’s a lot of them in the city. The smell makes you think twice about stepping in, though.
12. Unknown Sea Creatures in Chinatown Markets
Chinatown is a chapter all of its own. Reconsider shopping there with a full stomach.
13. Old buildings in Greenwich Village
This is the smell of history, so much needed in this modern city.
14. Oxygen in Central Park
Available in very limited amounts. Enough said.
15. Rotting Fish in Brooklyn
Tossed out by sushi restaurants and baking in the sun—and it’s a lunch time in New York City.