IF: phenomenon

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This week’s Illustration Friday challenge word is “phenomenon”.
In every phenomenon the beginning remains always the most notable moment.
On the evening of October 28, 2005, both the New York City Office of Emergency Management and the city’s 311 system (the non-emergency municipal services center) were flooded with calls from panicked Manhattan residents. The frantic callers told of the overwhelming aroma of maple syrup permeating the air. While most of the calls received were centered in the Upper West side, some complaints came from as far as Queens. After a few hours the smell dissipated and was soon gone as mysteriously as it had arrived. The questions, however, continued for days. Was it dangerous?  Was it a terrorist attack?  Where did it come from?  The city was baffled and the citizens’ inquiries remained unanswered.

The mysterious maple syrup smell returned several more times over the years, most recently in 2009. At that time, a group from the New York City Department of Environmental Protection, gathering and analyzing atmospheric data, determined the smell to be harmless. They traced the odor to its source, a fragrance and food additive processing plant in northern New Jersey. The factory processes fenugreek seeds, a spice commonly used in maple syrup substitutes.

In anticipation of the possible return of the maple syrup smell, New Yorkers can often be found wandering the city streets carrying plates of naked pancakes and optimistically looking to the skies.

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Happy Holidays from your pal JPiC!
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  1. One time I went someplace (not sure where it was) and they had fake fresh baked cookie aromas wafting up and down the Main Style Street…sort of in a turn of the century fashion. Now let me think…WHERE was that??

  2. Another fascinating story and illustration from the phenomenal Josh Pincus! The crowd erupts! Music (and maple syrup) fill the air! Families reunite! A national holiday is born!
    Your work is worthy of celebration my friend! Merry Christmas…. or Happy Holidays if you prefer. :o)

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