Scratch-And-Sniff Posters Help Mask the Smells of NYC Subways

Andrew LaSane

There's no getting around it: New York City's subway stations are stinky. While you might not be able to totally shield yourself from olfactory assault during your commute, a student at the School of Visual Arts, Angela H. Kim, found a creative way to momentarily ease the pain. It's surprisingly simple, and harkens back to the days of childhood: scratch-and-sniff.

Kim posted a series of her scented creations at some of the city's busiest stations as part of her thesis project. The video above begins with a statistic about New York City's Metropolitan Transit Authority cutting its Track Cleaning Unit nearly in half, as fares continue to go up (which is true [PDF]). The result, according to Kim, is more trash and broken equipment throughout the city's underground network. To bring attention to the problem and provide some relief for her fellow subway users, Kim designed flyers with tear-away strips scented with vanilla, tuberose, magnolia, lavender, and orchid. The phrase at the top of the flyer reads "If You Smell Something, Smell Something Else," which is a play on the MTA's "If you see something, say something" campaign (borrowed from the Department of Homeland Security) that encourages riders to report suspicious activity.

Check out the video above and head to Kim's website to see close-ups of the flyer, and the creation process.

[h/t FastCoDesign]

Images via Vimeo // Angela H. Kim