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No matter how fine the prose or stunning the photography, any literary attempt to capture the essence of a city will miss the mark on one key characteristic: scent. Urban centers are a menagerie of smells, including everything from the delicious—freshly-baked bread, sizzling garlic, taco trucks—to the atrocious—garbage trucks, roadkill, or the Abercrombie & Fitch cologne counter.
Featuring both the good (strawberry, pizza, hot dogs, churros) and the bad (garbage, sewer steam, horse manure) smells which sum up the city, New York, PHEW York was dreamed up by hotel concierge Amber Jones. "I work in Times Square and one day while I was walking to the train I got a delicious whiff of pizza. As I was was looking in the window at the pizza, deciding if I should buy a slice, I didn't realise I was steeping in horse manure," said Jones. "I went to the corner to make sure I didn't get any on my shoe and was engulfed by shish kebab smoke from a food cart. It's then I thought 'there should be a scratch-n-sniff guide of New York'. Wha-la! The idea was born."
Other scents in the book include red apple, fish, peanuts, shish kebabs, smoke, bagels, grass, pickles and pastrami. "The scents are being placed in the actual ink of the illustrations. Many of the scents have to be custom made and that's where a lot of the expense comes in," said Jones.