The mysterious, vexingly delicious smell of maple syrup that has been terrorizing New Yorkers for years, wafting about on its mysterious errands, has been run to ground. It is fenugreek, emitted from a New Jersey perfume plant.
The first wave arrived in October 2005, drawing thousands of New Yorkers onto the streets for a lively debate. Was it maple syrup? Caramel? A freshly baked pie? But as quickly as it arrived, it had vanished. Then, last month, the smell returned.
Both times, the city's police and 311 information lines were flooded with calls. Many feared bioterrorism cloaked in an pleasant aroma.
On Thursday, the city announced that the mystery had been solved. The source of the odor was a plant in North Bergen, N.J., which processes seeds of the herb fenugreek to produce fragrances.