Scratch and sniff subway posters try to combat stinky stations

Kemberly Richardson Image
Tuesday, February 9, 2016
Scratch and Sniff campaign on the subways
Kemberly Richardson has the story of a scratch and sniff campaign to bring more pleasant aromas to the subways.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- If you've ever been in the subway, you know you can smell some pretty awful smells.

Now one woman wants to give you a better option and all you have to do is scratch and sniff!

"The subways tend to be a little dirty, stinky," said Kristen Jassin, a straphanger.

Well after all, millions of people do ride the rails each day, but what if for a brief second you smelled something far better.

"Lavender, there's sweet magnolia, vanilla," said Angela Kim, School of Visual Arts student.

There are also the scents of sweet orchid and orange blossom.

"That actually smells really good. That would make taking the subway more enjoyable," Jassin said.

That's exactly what Kim is determined to do and send a message to the MTA to clean up its act.

The 23-year-old is in the process of putting up homemade scratch and sniff posters inside subway stations in New York City.

Each tab is dabbed with different oil.

"That smells good, actually better than the subway station. Yes, much better than the subway station," said Paul Magliato, a straphanger.

Kim is a student at the School of Visual Arts and this was part of a class assignment looking at space and sensory.

The campaign, "If you smell something, smell something else", is a clever play off the common slogan "If you see something, say something".

"Even without the stickers, if everyone takes all five, you'd still read this and think the MTA does really smell bad," Kim said.

Kim is onto something. Smell, as in the roses, has the most detail of all five senses. It is linked to memory and greatly effects emotion, very good and very bad.

Many admit the posters are a breath of fresh air.

"Thank you, that's brilliant, brilliant, absolutely brilliant," Magliato said.