Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sound Walk - Joanne Mariano

Being that my blogpost is quite overdue and that I just arrived back to NY from The Dominican Republic, I decided to walk around my neighborhood in Elmhurst, Queens. I specifically chose my own neighborhood because I'm incredibly familiar with it, having grown up here since I was five years old. 

It's interesting to learn how distant we grow to the things and people we are most familiar/comfortable with. We forget the beauty and meaning that lies within what we are exposed to on a daily basis.

I began by walking out of my apartment. I heard the sound of the door intertwining with the hinges and locking itself without me having to twist any keys. I heard my sneakers grind against the gravel on my sidewalk, since I kind of drag my feet. Nothing was really calling for my attention, so I listened closely to the ambient noises. I live right across from a NYC public park, so the first thing I heard was yelling - a mixture of grown men and young boys calling for their teammates to pass them the ball, the dribbling, and the ball being shot against the backboard. Where I live, there are no basketball nets, so I couldn't hear a "swoosh" when someone scored. As I continued walking up the block, I heard the acceleration and deceleration of moving vehicles. I turned and was reminded that there is a stop sign on my block. At the same time, I could hear children running, playing soccer, and parents calling out children's names from afar or to be careful. I noticed that I could still hear my own footsteps, breathing, and even the wind. I could hear the 7 train running on its tracks since I live by 74th Street Train Station.

From the park block, I could also hear occasional sirens. I live 2 blocks away from Elmhurst Hospital. I could hear the piercing sounds of ambulances, firetrucks, and police cars. I continued to walk, and I would also hear the sound of cart wheels rolling on the ground quite often, which were usually holding laundry or groceries. 

I grew a great appreciation for my neighborhood in this way, especially because I'm in the center of various cultural enclaves. My block is full of Mexican Americans. A few blocks to my right can be found many Chinese American, Thai American, and Vietnamese American peoples. A few blocks to my left can be found many Filipino Americans, Indian Americans, as well as Middle Eastern American peoples. A few blocks forward are many Colombian Americans. It was interesting to listen to the changes of speech and language throughout my sound walk.

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