February 26, 2004

Mmm. That Newspaper Smells Good

POST #    790

Okay, am I the only person that likes the smell of the newspaper? I think it might be something about the combination of newsprint and ink. If only I could have one of those scent things on my computer so whenever I went over to the NY Times site, I could get the smell of the newspaper as well.

Another smell I like is the smell of the air that comes up the grates on the street when the subways run by. Yes, disturbing, since that smell is in all likelihood urine. Surprising, since I'm such a subway germaphobe.

Posted by tien mao in Random at 9:48 AM



When I was a kid, schools used ditto machines for tests and copies of stuff - I LOVED the smell of that "paper" - though it was probably really the smell of some organic solvent that ate holes in my brain. Newspapers (fresh ones) do have a similar appeal.

The subway air smell I must admit I also became attached to, but it wasn't until after about 8 months of my first year living in the city. Like most acquired tastes, it's probably not good for a person ...

Posted by: Oscar at February 26, 2004 10:49 AM

Oh yeah. In my pre-New York days I worked at a daily, editing and designing pages. Part of my job was looking at first-offs as they left the press. That smell is even more intense, and there's a weird gritty clammy feeling that the papers have straight out of the folding machinery.

That subway smell is weird. I like it only because it reminds me of the first couple of times I visited New York before moving here.

Posted by: Adam at February 26, 2004 11:05 AM

Tien you are way gross (this is an affectionate "way gross"). I try to hold my breath when air is coming up through the grates. Did you ever read the book, "The Mole People?" It describes parts of the subway and its' inhabitants in too much detail for me to ever think of smells wafting from it with anything other than disgust.

Personally, I love the smell of roasted nuts from the roasted nut street vendors. I would never eat roasted nuts from the street, but mmm the smell. It is a aromic blend of vanilla and nut scents. I wonder if, as fast food places do, they add scent to their nuts...

Posted by: Bunny at February 26, 2004 11:47 AM

Well Tien, I remember when I was able to smell the mimeograph pages that they gave out at school. It was so much fun to really pass the time, and well maybe feel like you were getting high. I got there early in the am (a first for skutchie), so I can run off copies for the teachers. Well I know 2 scary things here, you are probably asking, whats a mimeo?, and saying what a brown noser. Mimeo preceded photocopiers, and was done with carbon paper, and some sort of alcohol solution. I guess I will just have to live with all that. Not so much a brown noser any more, but still holding lots of useless information.

Posted by: skutchie at February 26, 2004 12:38 PM

well, it's good to know i'm not the only one that loves the smell of the subway air. and i hear that the smell of newspaper is the new acetone.

bunny, i too like the smell of the nut carts (hmm, that just doesn't sound right) and have actually bought some before. the problem is that eventually, you get sick of eating them. there are quite a lot in that $1 bag.

skutchie, i'm not quite sure what a mimeograph is. actually, i don't think i've ever heard of it until now.

Posted by: tien at February 26, 2004 1:47 PM

Of course you love the subway grate smell.

It's the scent of exhaled freebase coming out of subway junkies (which is inherently as addictive as freebase itself) mixed with the scent coming from the cookie baking elves that live in the tunnel between Union Sq and 34th St.

Posted by: Maine at February 26, 2004 2:00 PM

skutchie - were those the copies with the purple ink?

Posted by: rachelle on a dell at February 26, 2004 2:05 PM

i remember bright white paper with purple ink.. and also some paper that was kind of gray (poor quality copies) with a slick finish.. maybe those were the mimiographs.

Posted by: rachelle on a dell at February 26, 2004 2:06 PM

yes, those were mimeographs. and skutchie was the biggest teacher's pet i've ever heard of.

Posted by: corie at February 26, 2004 2:38 PM

I may be the only one here that collected baseball cards, but in the late 90s, companies started putting some sort of coating on baseball cards that had quite an intoxicating smell. It makes a very shiny, clear coat. I think its some sort of perservant, as I have seen it on ID cards (licenses, insurance cards) since then.

Posted by: brian at February 26, 2004 2:57 PM

i think mimeographs are still used in construction at times.

brian, i too used to collect baseball cards. i kind of feel like it's a lost hobby, like many things. i have a very faint memory of the smell of them. i seemed to like them too. but that may have been more of a psychological thing. smell = new baseball cards, new baseball cards = tien being happy.

oh, i also love the smell of new money. i've been known to sniff new bills extensively, getting looks and comments from my friends.

Posted by: tien at February 26, 2004 3:10 PM

My parents used to give me a $5 allowance when I was younger. It took me about 15 seconds from the time the money hit my hand until I had spent all of it at the corner baseball card shop. The smell I am talking about was sort of a scotch guard, chemical-ish smell. Mmmmm...I might have to go buy some baseball cards now. I wouldn't even know where to buy them now, or which of the 150 brands to buy.

Posted by: brian at February 26, 2004 3:48 PM

I was mimeographing quizzes for my meteorology classes as late as 1993, because my department with the extremely cheap chairman, wouldn't buy a photocopy machine. This was also the department where the secretary literally cut-and-pasted exams for another professor while the IBM PC sat in an unopened box in the corner.

Posted by: joe s at February 26, 2004 4:14 PM

man, now i want to go out and buy me some cards too brian! damn you!!

Posted by: tien at February 26, 2004 5:39 PM

another useful thing about crumpled up newspaper- the smell is supposed to ease nausea.

Posted by: dragonballyee at February 26, 2004 6:27 PM

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