That maple syrup smell

mrs-butterworth-lit-maplHave you ever smelled maple syrup in the air, in New York city? I have. According to Gothamist, it’s back.

Gothamist has been tracking it, which is awesome; their map has Mrs. Butterworth as the icon, showing how wide the cloud of syrupy aroma has spread, and they’ve documented each date, as well. I first smelled it just before Halloween, 2005.

It’s not an unpleasant smell, to me, though some people don’t like it. The problem is, it’s not one of our usual smells. There’s no maple syrup factory in the five boroughs, as far as I know, no reason why we should all suddenly smell a pancake breakfast.  It’s not like oh, sometimes when the wind is right, you can smell Vermont…

The first time I smelled it, I swear, I ran home and put the news on, sure that some factory or fleet of trucks had had some enormous, comical accident. Nothing.

Nothing from the police, nothing from the mayor. Not  a word on what this thing might be.

Naturally, I have a theory. I think that it’s some government agency, testing to see how gases travel in the city. You  know, you release a harmless gas, with a distinctive odor, at Grand Central, and see how far that thing travels. You can’t tell anyone what you’re up to, because people might object to being experimented on, and it also lets “the terrorists” know that we’re, I don’t know… trying to be prepared? There must be some important, government-agency-type reason why we can’t know what they’re up to.

I’m not too concerned about it, though I’m usually fairly paranoid about these things. Maybe because it’s maple syrup. I worry much more when I smell something nasty. Somehow I don’t think anyone would bother to scent, say, sarin gas with a pleasant aroma. Apparently sarin is odorless. So if you don’t smell anything right now… maybe you should be worried.

Meanwhile, report all non-pancake-induced scentings of maple syrup to

Here’s hoping that, whatever it is, it’s harmless. *chink*

Leave a Reply