Complaints by The New York Times staff in the Times' Midtown building, have recently resurfaced. Staffers have been complaining about a mysterious and pungent meat smell thought to be wafting from the three “meaty” restaurants who share their building: Inakaya, Schnippers, and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse. Twitter reports and the Newspaper Guild have confirmed that the stench has caused itchy, watering eyes, watering mouths, and growling stomachs. The phenomenon has its own hashtag: “#meatcloud," one which reveals that this has been an ongoing issue at the building since at least 2012.
Times dining critic Pete Wells tweeted:
Instead of a review this week I am readying a 10,000 word essay on the Meat Cloud at the office.
— Pete Wells (@pete_wells) March 11, 2014
But he later confided he has never smelled the meat aroma. One Times reporter, Michael de la Merced, even changed his profile picture to a child wearing a gas mask, and another Bryan Yeager said that the aroma has drifted down to the lobby. Twitter users had little to no sympathy:
— Danny Glover (@Danny_Glover) March 12, 2014
One senior Times staffer did confirm "the smell of a delicious beef stew" wafting past his desk. It should be noted that beef stew is not on the menu at any of the three restaurants. This is not the first time that the smell of meat has plagued Times staffers.Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told New York Magazine that the meat smell happens at the same time every year.
Inakaya and Schnippers did not offer comment, but the manager at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse who answered the phone laughed and confided, “If it’s windy, they smell it, but if it’s not, there’s no problem.”
Things were being taken a little more seriously by the Newspaer Guild. “The employees we represent weren’t happy,” said Bill O’Meara, a guild representative. “We had the air tested, and luckily there’s nothing harmful in the air. Some employees’ desks were moved. We need to look for another solution.”
O’Meara has confirmed that there is currently no feud between The New York Times staff and Wolfgang’s Steakhouse, and that the meat of the problem lies within the building’s ventilation system. Times staff did not answer calls to confirm if the meat cloud has affected daily deadlines.
Joanna Fantozzi is an Associate Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @JoannaFantozzi.