Cloudy with a chance of meat stench at the New York Times

Katie Callahan Contributor
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Shut the office down!

The aroma of expensive steaks in the New York Times building has caused health issues among approximately a dozen of the New York Times staff, Jim Romenesko reports.

Given a name and a Twitter handle, the “NYT Meat Cloud” resulted in the relocation of people who couldn’t handle the fumes to other offices or back to their homes. They experienced burning eyes and breathing issues, according to the New York Newspaper Guild.

Restaurants Wolfgang’s Steakhouse (the most likely place of origination for the smell), Schnipper’s Quality Kitchen and Inakaya Robata Grill and Sushi all sit under NYT’s BizDay reporter offices on the second floor. The ventilation system failed and let the smells in.

This isn’t the first time the meat smell penetrated the newsroom.

“This odor is an issue, one that seems to occur seasonally at around this same time each year,” New York Times spokesperson Eileen Murphy told the Daily Intelligencer. “At present, we are working with the architects of the building on a solution more permanent than relocation.”

Industrial hygienists tested the area Feb. 18, and found that “no carcinogens, carbon monoxide or other harmful elements were detected” the Newspaper Guild of New York reported.

“This is being considered a ‘quality of life’ issue and not a health concern,” said the guild to Jim Romenesko. “Nonetheless, Times managers have temporarily relocated the people who felt the effects of the fumes and said they would look into moving others if need be.”
Guild president Bill O’Meara said to Romenesko that a staffer complained about the smell of bacon from the other side of the newsroom. That particular smell did not get a filed report from the New York Times.

New York Magazine asks, “But seriously: Is Andrew Ross Sorkin going to be okay?”

Sorkin, a columnist, chief mergers and acquisitions reporter, and editor of DealBook for the New York Times, is not the only source of humor — at least not on Twitter. Others have taken up the cause, jesting about the situation, with a tryst between @NYTMeatCloud and @NYTFridge.

Some tweets include:

Kevin Roose, current writer at New York Magazine, experienced the meat cloud of 2011 from the New York Times office.  Emily Dreyfuss, news editor at Wired, keeps it real. (Photo: @NYTMeatCloud/Twitter) Matthew Zeitlin, business reporter at Buzzfeed, and Will Alden, DealBook reporter at the New York Times, debate the seriousness of the matter. (Photo: @NYTMeatCloud/Twitter)NYTMeatCloud speaks out about its own return. (Photo: @NYTMeatCloud/Twitter)Jordan Cohen, communications associate at the New York Times, brings a different perspective. (Photo: @NYTMeatCloud/Twitter)