The night air all over Manhattan was brisk, with a hint of winter and a dash of something sweetly out of the ordinary. Some thought it smelled like maple syrup. Some said caramel, or a freshly baked pie, or Bit-O-Honey candy bars.More updates at the New York Daily News and the Washington Post.
From downtown Manhattan to the Upper East Side, Prospect Heights in Brooklyn and parts of Staten Island, the question was the same on Thursday night and into early yesterday: What was that smell?
The aroma not only revived memories of childhood, but in a city scared by terrorism, it raised vague worries about an attack deviously cloaked in the smell of grandma's kitchen.
It was so seductive that many New Yorkers found themselves behaving strangely, succumbing to urges usually kept under wraps...
The chase led the city's environmental bloodhounds to some interesting places. Investigators working on a tip checked the Jacques Torres Chocolate Haven in SoHo, but the owner insisted he had not been the culprit. His staff had spent the afternoon roasting almonds, he said. And anyway, chocolate, for those who really know, smells bitter, not sweet...
Experts say that no human sense is more directly connected to the emotions than the sense of smell. "Before we know we are even in contact with a smell we have already received it and reacted to it," a professional perfumer, Mandy Aftel, said. "Smells come in without language and go directly to the emotional center of the brain. That's why they are so connected to memory..."
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