[Editor’s note: Jason Logan contributes to the resurgent field of experiential cartography by recounting his travel, by smell, across the isle of Manhattan. The semi-interactive map published in the New York Times brings to life “smell stops” in each neighborhood both as one would experience them in the daytime and at night. The piece reminds me of the 1985 historical novel Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, lent to me in university by Judy Walton. I recently posted on Edible Landscape Maps and John has a post on psychogeography maps.]
Republished from the New York Times. August 29, 2009
By JASON LOGAN, an illustrator and the author of “If We Ever Break Up, This Is My Book.” Produced by Jon Huang and Snigdha Koirala.
New York secretes its fullest range of smells in the summer; disgusting or enticing, delicate or overpowering, they are liberated by the heat. So one sweltering weekend, I set out to navigate the city by nose. As my nostrils led me from Manhattan’s northernmost end to its southern tip, some prosaic scents recurred (cigarette butts; suntan lotion; fried foods); some were singular and sublime (a delicate trail of flowers mingling with Indian curry around 34th Street); while others proved revoltingly unique (the garbage outside a nail salon). Some smells reminded me of other places, and some will forever remind me of New York.