Call it Smell’s Kitchen: Mysterious stench turning stomachs in Manhattan

Posted at 6:05 PM, Feb 12, 2013
and last updated 2013-02-12 18:27:17-05

There’s a wretched smell near the corner of 56th Street and Eighth Avenue in Hell’s Kitchen. One person we spoke with said it smells like there could even be dead rats under the grate in the street. After published reports of a problem at the location, PIX11 News went to the scene to investigate.

It turns out, when the wind blows, so does the smell. Matthew Westerby told us he walks by the grate on his way home and it smells.

“It’s kind of gross,” said Westerby.

David Abbate is also grossed out by this mysterious odor seemingly coming from underneath the grate.

We asked him what it smells like, Abbate said, “Wet snow and garbage.”

“I wouldn’t stand here very long and I’m not going to stand here much longer,” Abbate added before leaving.

We couldn’t stand it long either. The odor though, we noticed, comes and goes.

The odor is apparently drifting enough to cause problems for a nearby Balducci’s food store.

“Customers have complained about it,”said Supervisor Jonluca Agnihotri, “A lot of rain run off lately we’re hoping it’s just that.”

Jeffrey Harris clears the trash above the grate and works in a nearby restaurant. He says he hears customers complaining.

“It stinks,” said Harris.

Even when the trash was cleared from the location, the smell remained.

The reason is a mystery. A Con Ed spokesperson said they are working with other city agencies on this. The spokesperson also said it’s unclear where the smell is coming from.

The Supervisor of Balducci’s said the smell is the last thing the neighborhood or his store needs.

“If that’s what’s on their mind when they come in, it’s not very appetizing,” said Agnihotri.

The DEP said this is a Con Ed grate and that DEP responded to complaints, but inspectors didn’t smell anything. The DEP says the infrastructure was checked out under the grate and all agency infrastructure is in working order.