Without the aroma of car exhaust, hot dogs or coffee, the city was a blank slate. Nothing was unbearable and nothing was especially beguiling. Penn Station’s public restroom smelled the same as Jacques Torres’s chocolate shop on Hudson Street. I knew that New York possessed a further level of meaning, but I had no access to it, and I worked hard to ignore what I could not detect.
— From Finally, the Scent of the City, in which columnist Molly Birnbaum moves to New York City during a time when her sense of smell was impaired. Many thanks to Existentialist for the link!