Scratch ‘N’ Sniff: The Only MTA Service Advisory Flyers You Should Actually Read

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Escaping those disturbing, specific to New York smells that lurk throughout the city is especially unavoidable underground. And there really isn’t any suitable solution to the problem, other than maybe biking or driving in an attempt to minimize your exposure time. Or, better yet, just move.

But now, Angela Kim, a School of Visual Arts student, came up with a better solution for those whose olfactory senses can’t quite get used to the harsh subway smells: scratch and sniff tabs that mask the odors. The scented tabs are attached to a flyer that mimics the normal MTA Service Advisory flyer design, only this one admonishes passersby that “if you smell something, smell something else.” What else exactly? Well, the available scents are vanilla, lavender, orchid blossom, magnolia, and tuberose oils, according to CityLab.

Can these flyers dramatically change your subway-going experience? Maybe not, but it’s more of an effort than any the MTA has put forth, especially since it decreased the cleaning staff by 48 percent, even while upping the MetroCard fares—a point that Kim includes on the posters and in her video. The posters have been spotted in Canal Street, Union Square, and Herald Square stations, with plans on expansion to other subway stations.

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