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No One Knows What Was Making Staten Island Stink

Scenic SI.
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Scenic SI. f.trainer/flickr

NYC is occasionally prone to smelling like maple syrup, but the scent that drifted over Staten Island yesterday was decidedly less pleasant. A mysterious chemical-y stench has been befuddling residents and investigators since Friday morning.

"Air inspectors" (!) with the Department of Environmental Protection followed their noses (resident complaints) to parts of the borough where the smell was reported, but have so far failed to ascertain its source, the Staten Island Advance reports.

"DEP crews responded to reports of a chemical smell," agency spokesman Edward Timbers told the paper. "Upon arrival they did not detect any chemical odor. They have also been speaking to residents in the area who are telling them that the odor has subsided from earlier in the morning."

"Chemical smell" may be an overly generous term. A Westerleigh couple interviewed by the Times reported opening their window to a stench they described as "foul," initially attributing it to their son's dirty diaper.

“It started off really strong,” they told the paper. “It smelled like something rotting. Something dying.”

The bulk of complaints were made in the morning, and the smell was said to have diminished somewhat as the afternoon wore on. A theory that attributed the stench to an oral rabies vaccination dispersed around the area was swiftly extinguished by a spokesperson, who told the Advance that the distribution occurred over a week ago, and that no amiss odors were reported. "I don't know why your borough smells," he added.

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