Smell something funny? Amber C. Jones is publishing a 40-page scratch-n-sniff book, New York, Phew York: A Scratch-N-Sniff Adventure, offering an olfactory jaunt through NYC. Written in rhyming couplets, it follows a family that comes to New York and is given a city tour by a friendly hotel concierge.
Jones, 36, came up with the idea when she caught a delectable whiff of pizza in Times Square. She then narrowly missed stepping in a pile of horse poop. Next, she was engulfed in a cloud of smoke from a kabob vendor. “We’re in such close quarters, you can’t escape the smell,” says Jones, who works as a concierge at a Times Square hotel. “Everyone talks about the smell, whether pastrami sandwiches or pizza.”
The book will feature 20+ odors. "You might step in horse manure and you might trip over a garbage patch,” says Jones, who lives in Flatbush, Brooklyn. “Let’s keep it honest.” For example, Little Italy will smell like pizza. The Upper East Side will carry whiffs of pastrami sandwiches. And Central Park will be a mix of manure and trees. Other scents will include fish, garbage, churros, pickles and bagels.
Most publishers balked at the cost of developing the custom-made smells, so Jones took her cause to Kickstarter, an online fundraising webbie. She is asking for $20,000 in donations, which will allow her to print up to 5,000 copies. So far, she has raised $3,000. She hopes to distribute the book to hotel gift shops, tourist outlets, bookstores and airports.