We haven’t noticed it, but apparently there has been an ongoing problem with gas smells on Grand Street between Berry and Wythe. The Fire Department and Keyspan have been out a couple of times, but have not located anything. Aside from an actual gas leak on the block, there are two possible sources of “the smell”.
First (and most unlikely, I think) is the NYPA power plant at the foot of Grand, next to Grand Ferry Park. When it first opened in 2002 or so we were constantly getting gas smells, particularly in back yards where it would settle. NYFD was down at the plant repeatedly, and whatever it was seemed to have been very small and related to bringing the plan on line. This was also in the summer, on generally windless days, when the gas could settle. Given the cold and windy conditions of late, this seems like an unlikely source.
The second possibility (crazier, but maybe more likely) is the kosher hot dog factory at the corner of Grand & Berry (the wall of it is shown in the foreground on the Gowanus Lounge post linked above). The factory is a constant source of odiferousness (meat processing, spices, etc.), and I noticed it was particularly stinky when I walked by yesterday afternoon. It is not a gas smell, but it is a smell that you don’t smell every day.
UPDATE: So much for theory. Keyspan has spent the evening going up and down Grand Street poking holes in the sidewalk and street, sniffing for gas leaks. They’ve spent the last hour or so digging a hole in the sidewalk in front of 69 Grand (across the street from Aurora). Looks like “actual gas leak” wins (the NYPA pipeline does not run down that far south). 25 January – 22:30.