Broome & Allen Officially Smelliest Street in Manhattan

Posted on: June 20th, 2011 at 9:50 am by

We’ve mentioned it umpteen times here on Bowery Boogie – Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge is the smelliest stretch of real estate in Manhattan.  It’s an olfactory nightmare year-round.  Mainstream media agrees, with New York Magazine ranking it as such.  Author Molly Young penned an investigative piece on why this particular block reeks some kind of horrid.  She was kind enough to reach out and interview our head honcho for the article, which appears in this week’s summer guide issue.

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Our itty-bitty quote appears in the second paragraph:

One particularly striking exception remains. It’s a mystery, the stretch of Broome Street between Allen and Eldridge—a quiet little block that smells like high meat and old squeegees. It gets bad in the spring and worse in the summer, when the smell of decay is overpowering. “Everyone around knows that block is the stinkiest block in all of Manhattan,” a resident named Kate told me. Elie Z. Perler, a neighbor who edits the website Bowery Boogie, agrees. “Not even the most disgusting subway smell compares,” he says. “I try not to eat while walking there, since I’d probably throw up.”

The scent was apparently traced to 284 Broome, Yu & Qiang Trading Inc.:

Chandler Burr, the curator of the ­Department of Olfactory Art at the Museum of Arts and Design and former perfume critic for the New York Times, agreed to canvass the block with me on a recent damp morning in pursuit of clues.

“Whoa,” he said, stopping on a dime. “Cat urine. Wet dog. Live dog. It’s that,” he said, pointing to an open warehouse at 284 Broome Street.

The air was a mesh of flies. At 284 Broome, the warehouse was doing a slow Saturday business, and as we approached the building, Gilbert replicated Burr’s body language. “Ay-yi-yi,” he said. “Wow. Oh, boy. Oh, boy.

Concerned about the fuss I’d kicked up around 284 Broome, the Agriculture Department conducted an unannounced inspection last week. What they found, according to spokesperson Jessica Ziehm, was a big nothing: no live chickens and no evidence of live chickens. No live ducks, turkeys, pigeons, or any other kind of edible, respirating creature, either. The bad smell appeared to come from “stacked boxes of processed poultry sitting in the warmth.” Gross, but not illegal. Yu & Qiang Trading Inc. continues to enjoy a lively summer season, smell be damned. Chicken costs 93 cents a pound.

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