The Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the home stadium of the Brooklyn Nets, is a much-discussed venue for a variety of reasons: Bruce Ratner and Jay-Z, for two. There've been the myriad Brooklynite concerns about traffic, noise, hype, and other aspects surrounding it (particularly when it was being built). People have squawked, happy and sad, about the way it looks (then and still now), and over its wide range of sports events and shows (from Justin Bieber to Paul McCartney to Cirque de Soleil). But one aspect of Barclays that hasn't gotten much media attention until now is, well, the way it smells. How does it smell?
DNAInfo's Leslie Albrecht writes, "As the last few fans rushed through the arena's front doors, the brisk breeze that followed them gave way to a distinct aroma: a fresh-smelling fragrance with citrus notes that some call the arena's 'signature scent,' in the words of one Twitter observer." Though Albrecht was told by "a source familiar with the matter" that a company called ScentAir had been hired to perfume the place, now that the Brooklyn Nets season is over, it's a lot harder to get a definitive account from smell-witnesses. I'm thinking a little bit orange-y, a little bit lemon zesty, maybe. Some reports call it musky, cologne-y, like an Abercrombie store, or like "a brand new Benz." It's similar to "the intense smell of aroma therapy," says one astute smeller. Or maybe "the whole place smells like a Calvin Klein store."
Whatever the smell is, the smell of Barclays (and maybe smells in buildings near you) are now programmable by smell consultants. ScentAir calls itself "the global leader of adding more to your customer experience through the power of scent." The company pumps in smells it concocts for its customers (hotels, stores, theme parks, etc) because, as it pitches itself, "Our senses play a vital and complex role in forming our thoughts, impressions and behaviors. By targeting the senses, brands establish a stronger and enduring emotional connection with their consumers." There are, in fact, "more than 2,000 scents in [ScentAir's] library, from the obscure (dinosaur breath) to the delectable (caramel apple)," writes Katie Linendoll for ESPN.
ScentAir is also why Times Square's Hershey's store smells of chocolate. It's not really chocolate, it's nose chocolate. Other venues have their own special smells, like "cotton candy" in the St. Louis Rams stadium or that outdoor music festival you recently attended which featured a special high-end "Porta-Potty" bouquet. Oh, that latter scent really is just Porta-Potty. Or maybe it's dinosaur breath. Sometimes it's hard to tell, what with all these smells swirling around.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.