When Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge was named "the smelliest block in New York" by New York Magazine, I lived a short waft away from the hallowed ground on Eldridge and Delancey. It didn't take long for me to become accustomed to the burnt tang that tickled my nostrils. I'd walk downstairs to get a coffee or a cream puff and take deep breaths, convinced that the fish markets on Elizabeth or the puddles sidled up to Columbus Park were far ranker. Thankfully a fragrance company has made a special scent designed to take me back to those salad days of 2011; an odor that conjured my blog posts at the time.
Julia Zangrilli runs NOVA, the fragrance company that was just profiled in Bedford + Bowery for its New York scents. She harnessed the power of "decaying rat, detergent, dog, sweet BBQ" and "standard stink" to create the Lower East Side scent. What Would Proust Do? He would request a sample. So we did.
Zangrilli warned us to "give the LES a full 10 minutes to develop (it opens up more quickly with an atomizer)." We'd left our atomizer at home!
"Lower East Side" (Gothamist)
Still, the right combination of burnt rubber and pulsating 1000-degree asphalt funk is there. LES is pungent. It sticks to your hands, and the sickly sweet quotient is accurate. But there's also something mentholated, something astringent that doesn't exist in the wild. It's not a bad substitute for when I'm in the country and need to be reminded that I live in Filth, but it won't stop me from bottling the stuff at the source.
You can check out LES as well as Zangrilli's less noxious offerings ("Greenpoint" is made with "lush plants, berry'd bushes, and a single lucky rose" in mind) at the Bedford +Bowery Bazaar on Saturday, or on NOVA's website.