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GQ Names Pleasantville Second-Best Smelling City

PLEASANTVILLE, N.Y. – It doesn't have ocean breezes, tropical flowering gardens or even wafting scents from a big tasty bread factory, but a very discerning nose has decided that the small village of Pleasantville is the second best smelling city in the world.

The ranking, in GQ Magazine, was news to some locals.

“I’m a little surprised that GQ even knows where Pleasantville is, let alone that there are articles out there about how places smell,” said Ron Konchalski, a Mahopac resident who works on Wheeler Avenue in Pleasantville.

The January 30 article titled The Smelliest Cities on the Planet written by Chandler Burr, a former perfume critic for The New York Times and GQ's own "globe-trotting scent critic," ranked Pleasantville only behind the city of Los Angeles as the best smelling in the world.

Pleasantville smells like America, Burr said.

“Maple, oak, and pine smell cyclically different as the seasons turn, and Pleasantville's scent is based on these trees and their leaves at all stages—green, yellow, dead brown, and budding,” he wrote.

“When you close your eyes you get grass and then the smell of ‘America as it was,’ whenever that might mean for your nose. If Normal Rockwell's paintings emitted a scent, this is what it would be.”

The village, with its population just over 7,000, beat out the scents of large cities across the globe such as San Francisco ("soft clouds, smooth pine, sharp eucalyptus, and cold ocean"), Rome ("slightly dirty, sometimes greasy smell full of cedar and car and bus exhaust"), New Orleans ("humidity penetrating wood porches and plaster walls; dead moss") and London ("Mist, rain, peppermint, wet pavement").

One Pleasantville resident said it’s just all in the name.

“Just think of the name or hear it out loud, ‘PLEASANT-ville’,” said Giovanna Talio, who has lived in the village for 56 years with her husband Sal.  “Everything here is so pleasant.  For us, everything about it is just the greatest.”

Sal Talio said although he enjoys the current nature of Pleasantville, a lot of the town has changed over the years as the village’s business district continues to grow.

“Being here for so long, I’ve seen a lot of change with the village modernizing,” Talio said.  “Some good, some bad.”

Even Konchalski, despite his skepticism of the village's olfactory ranking, thinks Burr got the pleasantness of Pleasantville right.

“Right now it’s not the best time of year because there’s no leaves on the trees or anything,” Konchalski said. “But it’s beautiful here, I think it’s a great place.”

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