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The Mystery of the Smelly Herald Square Subway Station, Solved (Maybe)

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The MTA knows the source of the stink, but not how to solve it

On average, more than 125,000 people pass through the 34th St-Herald Square subway stop every day. Of those thousands of commuters (including your Curbed editor), it's likely that most have had the misfortune to encounter a terrible stench that has emanated from the tracks for the past several months now.

But the source of the smell has remained a mystery—until now. The Wall Street Journal looked into the problem, and found that the culprit, according to the MTA, is most likely a sewage leak. There's just one problem: no one knows exactly where the leak is coming from. Per the WSJ:

MTA crews initially checked the station’s refuse room, a spokeswoman said. Then they checked a room where cleaning equipment is stored.

Crews later determined the odor was drawn in as trains enter and leave the station, pointing to a potential problem inside a tunnel leading to Herald Square, she said.

MTA crews haven’t found leaking sewage in the station, she said. It isn’t clear whether there is a damaged sewer main in the street or a building sewer line could be at fault.

So basically, it's a good news-bad news thing…but the bad news is pretty, well, crappy. (Sorry.)

A similar issue recently plagued the Myrtle-Wyckoff St station in Bushwick, which services the L train; the MTA has pledged to fix the problem, so Midtown commuters, there's hope for us yet.