As many of us sit in our homes in the coronavirus pandemic, we might be starting to forget what New York sounds like. We no longer hear the cacophony of rush hour traffic, the chatter of a crowded restaurant, nor the rumbling of the subway. Today, the New York Public Library dropped a new Spotify album titled Missing Sounds of New York, a collection of audio landscapes evoking the “daily urban orchestra” of New York.
“It’s a playlist of the sounds of normal New York: the sounds that are literally missing during this period of self isolation, and that New Yorkers are just missing,” said Angela Montefinise, Senior Director of Communications and Marketing at the New York Public Library. “For example, one track is a branch library, another track is a park, another is midtown at rush hour, etc. It’s a way to connect people around a common feeling at this moment, from an organization that for 125 years has chronicled (and been a key part) of New York City life.”
In the tracks of Missing Sounds of New York , you will hear the sounds of a subway turnstile
Described as a “Love letter to NYC,” the album is a partnership with Mother New York, a creative company that collaborated with the New York Public Library in 2018 on the Insta Novels project that brought classic literature to Instagram stories. From essential workers adjusting to current times to residents quarantined inside, the album reminds all New Yorkers of our daily routines just a few months ago.
A typical day inside the Rose Reading Room at New York Public Library
The album features eight tracks depicting different parts of the city from a subway dance performance featuring Kid The Wiz to a crowded bar to a baseball game. Creatively named tracks range from “Romancing Rush Hour” to “Serenity Is a Rowdy City Park” to “For the Love of Noisy Neighbors.” The “The Not-Quite-Quiet Library” follows a New Yorker passing by a tour group, speaking with a librarian, and hearing toddler story time. Tracks range from just over one minute to nearly three minutes in length.
“This album is a different and creative way we can help: providing an entertaining distraction that allows New Yorkers access to something we are all missing: many of the quintessential sounds of the city we know and love,” said Carrie Welch, the Library’s chief of external relations, in the press release.
In addition to the new album, the NYPL, which temporarily closed all of its 92 physical locations, has begun offering digital library cards and over 300,000 e-books. In addition, the NYPL is currently offering K-12 tutoring, online story time with librarian, career counseling, and a number of research databases.
Next, check out The 10 Most Borrowed Books in New York Public Library History!