I walked by a bodega on Third Avenue today and was stunned by what can best be described as Eau de Bodega, that smell that all New York City bodegas have, which often creeps out onto the sidewalk. I thought they ought to have their own signature scent. Perhaps a pungent mixture of spicy sweat, a week’s worth of body odor, cheap foreign cologne, stale tobacco, and exotic mold.
Jokes aside, why do these places all smell the same, and so powerfully? And how do they stay in business? Given what they sell, I can’t imagine the profit margins are enough to cover the rent. Can cigarettes and lottery tickets really pay for it all?