Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sound Walk- Diaka

     I decided for my sound blog I would roam the streets of Inwood, NY. A neighborhood at the tip of uptown Manhattan where I live.  I thought this assignment was a cool opportunity for me to explore my neighborhood differently than I've ever done before in the 5 years I have been there.  So I began my exploration by making sure my phone was shut off and hidden deep inside my bag so that I couldn't constantly peek at it from the top of my bag where I always keep it for instant reach.  I started walking from my building on 204th Street and Seaman Avenue in the direction of the train station on 207th Street and Broadway.  

     I was immediately struck by the sound of birds chirping around me.  This really caught me by surprise because I don't remember hearing them in the background among the street noise.   And while I waited for the light to change, I heard the humming sound of several cars also waiting to make their turn.  When I crossed the street, a delivery guy from my favorite Chinese restaurant zoomed pass me on a motor bike speaking Chinese into his Bluetooth.  The birds are still chirping away while I hear hammering noise coming from a building's construction site.  My heels made a knocking thumping sound as I was walking. This made me question how loud I must sound to other people on the street.  Several people passed me by and I could hear their fading footsteps.  Two very animated women speaking Spanish who appear to be mother and daughter are having an argument.  A young guy on the phone is walking towards me then stops to yell at the person on the other end.  And just when I'm almost at the train station, a Fed-Ex truck cruised by and an older Latin man screamed after it, "Hey Yo!"  Well I don't know for a fact that he was screaming at the truck because he was speaking in Spanish and the only thing I could make out was "Hey Yo!"  People are always shouting on the street at something or someone in this neighborhood.

     Now I am at the corner of 207th Street and Broadway, but I couldn't hear the birds chirping in the background anymore.  This made me sad but glad that I started my walk on the side of the neighborhood where birds chirping can be the sweet background noise until they get drowned out by the loud sounds of cars, trucks, people on cellphones, or people talking over each other in another languages.   On this side of Inwood, it is street noise galore.  Broadway is a very busy avenue with bus lanes on both sides.  The sound of the buses lowering closer to the ground so that passengers can get on.  People signaling for taxis cabs by whistling or yelling, "Taxis!" Parents rushing their kids along after school and I heard this little girl say to her mom, "I wanna go potty."  There were so many different sounds coming out of this area that after a while it started to become one noise.  So I decided to leave and walk up Broadway towards the park.  Interesting development, as I got closer to the park, the noise started to fade.  Inside Isham Park, I heard birds chirping, dogs barking, and the rustling sound of squirrels playing in the grass.  As I sat there listening, I was grateful for this experience.  It made me realize how often I don't take the time to listen to the sounds of my neighborhood.    



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