NEW YORK (Reuters) - A mysterious, powerful smell of natural gas throughout much of Manhattan forced evacuations of some buildings and a temporary suspension of a commuter train service on Monday morning as authorities scrambled to determine the source.OK, I confess that Bermuda fish chowder had me a little gassy, and being rather stocky, one good fart could conceivably pollute the ambient air for a few miles, however, this was not me. It did, tho, cover most of Manhattan from the Battery Park area up to and just beyond Grand Central Station. Fortunately, my office is hermetically sealed from the air...I work for hypochondriacs, what can I say?...so I never smelled the stuff, and it cleared by lunch.
But there were no immediate reports of injuries and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the odor was not dangerous.
"It may just be an unpleasant smell, but at this point we do not know any more than that. The one thing we are confident about is, it is not dangerous," Bloomberg told a news conference.
This is the third such mysterious smell incident in NYC in the past year and a half, it should be noted. In October, 2005, a maple-syrup-like smell permeated most of Manhattan Island and the adjacent parts of Queens and Brooklyn. Back in August, a methane smell was detected in large chunks of Staten Island, cause undetermined, as well as Queens (altho the Queens eruption seems to have been the result of an underground oil spill in Greenpoint, Brooklyn). My calendar indicates I had left on vacation that day...