2007_01_gassmell.jpgWe don't know what's up with the crazy gas smell. The reports we've read had the location at 34th Street and 5th-7th-8th Avenues in Manhattan, but our readers are smelling it from the Upper West Side to downtown. WNBC reports that the smell is so strong on the 6th floor of 30 Rockefeller Center, "people are leaving the building." NY1 says the smell is strong around Herald Square and in NY1's neighborhood in Chelsea."

So far, Con Ed and the city's Office of Emergency Management are supposedly checking it out. There are also a lot of NYPD sirens - perhaps checking out the possible leak and trying to calm freaking-out New Yorkers?

We'll keep updating this story. Tell us where you're smelling it. Is it in Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx and Staten Island - or just Manhattan? And we thought all we'd have to deal with today was a case of the Mondays!

Update: ABC and Fox are reporting that the smell may have originated with a large gas leak at Bleecker and West 4th. But Fox is now saying the location may be at 7th and 13th, near St. Vincents. So things are still confused.

Update: ConEd is reporting no leaks anywhere in the system-- so it's a real mystery!

Update: a tipster called to say St. Vincents is being evacuated, and PATH trains are shut down into the city. So the smell is definitely strongest right now in the Village. Action seems to be centered at Bleecker and West 12th.

Update: Bloomberg is saying there was a gas leak on Bleecker and 6th, but much too small to be responsible for something like this. Various agencies are investigating, but the city's air quality sensors haven't picked up anything unusual. Now he's saying not to worry about it too much, but to open windows if the smell is particularly bad: "The one thing we are very confident of is that it's not dangerous."

A reporter asked how smelling gas is not dangerous. Mayor Bloomberg said that when gas enters the air, it "diversifies": "The amount of the chemical that you can smell is so minute... it's not dangerous." He adds that he didn't smell it at his home on the Upper East Side and didn't smell it at City Hall; also, all the PATH service is back to normal. OEM Commissioner Bruno says that there were 27 calls related to the gas smell, just people were feeling ill but no one was transported to the hospital.


Update: As the city says that the air is safe, it's not to late to enjoy how agencies are reacting. Reader Sacha Lecca sent us these great photographs of Con Ed testing the air and manholes in the West Village.


The news vans were on the scene, too, but it's hard for TV cameras to capture a gas leak when people aren't collapsing in the street (or dead birds on the street, as they are in Austin). Still, NY1's Roger Clark did a good job when he just said, "Uggh."


What kind of air monitor doodad is this? And where can we buy one, because the iron lung we've been looking into might take a while to ship.

Photographs by Sacha Lecca