My favorite part is how the Department of Homeland Security is assuring us that the odor has nothing to do with a terrorist attack. Because when I first heard that New Yorkers awoke to a profound smell of leaking gas, my first thought was "I'm sure Osama bin Laden is behind this, that bastard!" If I were a terrorist, I'd take notes on this level of undiluted panic on the part of authorities and media (the New Yorkers, I'm sure, while irritated, are probably just going about their business with a renewed sense of "what the fuck" and something novel to talk about -- this is one of the many reasons I love New Yorkers!)
"Memo to Ahmed Assim-Jourabi:
Ahmed, please make provisions to arm our subordinate splinter cells with several bottles of White Shoulders, and have them prepared to dissiminate on my command. Together, we will at last bring the city of New York to its knees!
Here's my theory (because this happened in the San Fernando Valley about two years ago). The genius who adds the smell to the natural gas (an odorless substance in its natural state) got a little overzealous and added too much. In the proper amount the artificial odor general burns off with the gas. Too much, and it lingers long after the gas is shut off. Now, because of him New York gas workers are going to be going around, having to check on every single report of a gas leak (they have to investigate every complaint, just in case).
I'm amused at the idea that New Yorkers must now admit that they're going to New Jersey for a breath of fresh air. That's killing them. You know it is.