I could write an Ode to the smells in this fine city. Unfortunately, not all of the smell are fine, and the ones that aren't seem to assault you when you least expect it.
Lesson #12: Your nose/palate simply cannot prepare itself for the plethora of scents. Just accept this. Clearly, this lesson is just more of a fact, since I can't conceive how one would prepare for these things.
Of course, some of the scents are indeed horrible (sometimes if I'm walking close to the Hudson, the smell is almost enough to make me fall in. Or maybe it's just New Jersey...) And though I'm someone who tries very much to be in charge of my own happiness, but I've found it to be damn near impossible to even feign happiness when surrounded by a terrible smell. It's a similar feeling I get when feeling too warm - flustered, pissed off, and decidedly not myself (if I am any of these things usually, please let me know because that means I have absolutely no sense of self).
But! There are such succulent smells in this city that I'd gladly accept the terrible for a glimpse (waft? aroma?) of perfection. Most days I'm treated to the delicious delight of walking over bakery vents at Chelsea Market on 15th St. The wafting smell of bread, pastries, etc is enough to make a woman go weak in the knees. Some go for tall, dark, and handsome...others are content with the decadent smells of bread baking.