Thursday, November 3, 2011

new york notes

 Your nosy host poses with our mascot at the Sensorium exhibit. 

We spent this past weekend in New York, and smelled winter. On Saturday it snowed on and off all day, big fat wet clumps of snow, turning all the wool I wore wet. But I don't mind that wet wool smell, and I don't mind the first day of snow; it still feels clean, smells like air and mineral. And I love how everybody heats up when they come inside from the cold, how they're stinkier even in some ways than in summer, wearing all those layers, sweat and perfume rising thick off their sweaters. 

Other nosy New York highlights:
  • The entryway to my aunt's apartment. Why is it that some homes--some rooms, even--maintain such powerfully specific scents over time? Her foyer was probably the first smell I distinctly associated with New York and, as such, it remains one of the most New York smells I know.
  • The Sensorium exhibit, where my favorite part was smelling the "flights of fragrance" in unmarked wine glasses. I liked having so little information about the fragrances (I wouldn't say that I had no information, as the perfumes were organized thematically on four trays: playful, polished, casual, and addictive, and I also knew they were all for sale at Sephora). My other favorite part, and this is very unMidwestern of me to admit, was the tickle of pride I felt when the attendant, Ranfi, remarked that I'd correctly guessed more of the fragrances than some of the perfumers and noses that he'd seen come in and sniff. Apart from my deeply-ingrained aversion to boastfulness, I don't know why it's so uncomfortable for me to admit I am getting better at identifying scents. Of course I am improving; if you smell a lot of fragrances, you get better at remembering and naming those fragrances. And wasn't that part of the point of starting this blog in the first place? To improve my fragrance vocabulary, to reduce the number of times when identifying a scent is, as it so often becomes, frustratingly similar to the experience of hearing a melody to a song you can't name, or having the right word forever on the tip of your tongue.
  • We finally made it to MiN New York, a gorgeous little store that feels like the well-appointed personal library of a fragrance-obsessed, tweed-wearing grandfather. The beautiful built-in bookshelves displayed all sorts of fragrances--many lines I'd never had the chance to smell before--and, book-related bonus, MiN is super close to two actual (and awesome) bookstores: Housing Works and McNally Jackson
  • At MiN, my husband fell pretty hard for the Parfum d'Empire line. He just brought the shirt he was wearing when we were there in to the kitchen to have me smell it, and the Fougere Bengale he'd sprayed still lingered. It smelled warm and alive, like it could take on any weather. 


Anonymous said...

I've heard about the Sensorium! I must visit it.

Great post!

PS-- You don't look at all how I thought you would. (A neutral thing, I swear.) It's nice to see your face. Hi!

Elisa said...

That's such a cute picture! I feel like you're always standing behind a plant or something :)

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on being so accurately nosy! Love the picture. So sweet!

Britta said...

Yay! Boast away! What a lovely post. I love the anecdote about LB bringing in something for you to smell. When I picture your home, this is what I see: L passing through the rooms where you write and read, bringing you something to smell, or eat, or just something for you to listen to. A sweet vision of domesticity.

Preets said...

Funny, you look just exactly how I pictured you.

Preets said...

(P.S. I TOLD you you had a WAY better than average sense of smell.)

nosy girl said...

Yes, I prefer to hide behind my nose around these parts.

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