I’m in Manhattan, staying at the Marriott Marquis, in Times Square. You may have heard about the strange smell that wafted through Manhattan today. Indeed, it’s all over the news.

I met my agent, Alice Martell, for breakfast at Michaels (on W. 54th St.) at 8:30am and walked the 10 blocks or so over to the restaurant from the hotel. I didn’t smell anything other than the scent of uncollected garbage. But mostly, it was raining pretty heavily, and the air was heavy and damp. I arrived at breakfast soaked from the shins down.

On the way back, while it was still raining, I walked past News Corp., which is Fox News headquarters, on Avenue of the Americas (that’s 6th Avenue for those of you keeping track at home). A ton of people were standing outside, along with a couple of videographers who were clearly prepping for a live shot outside the building.

It looked like the kind of crowd that was expecting a celebrity. But this being News Corp, I couldn’t imagine what kind of celebrity would draw this sort of crowd. Since it became impossible to think of anyone, I concluded that the building must have been evacuated. I asked, and someone said it was a bomb scare.

Close, but no cigar. I had dinner tonight in a charming French Bistro in Chelsea with Richard Ferrari, the top real estate agent (not the politician from New Jersey) and he asked me if I had been worried about the mysterious smell.

“No,” I replied. I hadn’t smelled anything that unusual and I didn’t notice any panic in the streets.

Richard said his phones were ringing off the hook from his New York friends and clients who were completely out of control hysterical.

Clearly, September 11th memories run strong — just like the real estate prices.

Jan. 8, 2007