Get us in your inbox


Artist tries to make the subway smell better

Written by
Howard Halle

Hey, guess what? The subway stinks! Huh? You knew that already? Ok, but did you know that an artist named Angela Kim is trying to do something about it? Well, in a small way.

Kim is a graphic design student at the School of Visual Arts, and she’s been posting notices resembling service advisories. Each has a box reading “Scratch & Sniff,” which goes on to offer, “a program to make your ride more pleasant because the MTA cannot keep the subway clean.” Good point. While the MTA seems able to banish hover-boards with ease, they can’t seem to do anything about smells on platforms and trains that generally run from humidly fetid to eye-wateringly fecal.

Kim’s solution? Providing passengers with tearaway tabs that are scented with aromas such as vanilla, lavender, orchid, magnolia and tuberose. It’s the 21st-century, mass-transit equivalent of those scented handkerchiefs the gentry used back in the day to keep the foul odor of the masses at bay.

The flyers have been posted in the Canal Street, Union Square and Herald Square stations, though there’s no word yet on whether the artist will continue this public service. Probably not, though the idea of taking a breather from the subway’s stale stench is certainly on the nose.

Popular on Time Out

    Latest news