The soundscape of New York City can be quite deceiving. When I first approached this assignment I was strangely tempted to question “what sounds?” We often hear the saying “stop and smell the roses” a proverbial encouragement to take things easy but seldom do we do so with sound. As a New Yorker, I believe I have become desensitized to certain sounds; knowing that they exist but not bothering to analyze the many parts that make up the whole of what I can consider my life’s soundtrack.
My sound walk did not require any walking, the sound came to me. I live near Central Park on Manhattan avenue and W. 107th street. I woke up early this morning, opened my window, closed my eyes and simply listened. There is a dog barking (sounds like a Shitzu), it barks every morning, if I am home long enough it barks for hours. It is funny how I found it annoying two years ago when I first moved in. My apartment is positioned so that I am only - at most - three meters from my neighbors window in an opposite facing building. They are mumbling short statements, maybe too tired to speak in full sentences.
I can now hear the birds that chirp and sing every morning and through out the day. I wish I could pin point the species but for me that would be impossible. There are about 235 species of birds that either live in Central Park or visit during spring and fall migration. I find the chirps to be calming and entertaining. As I listen closely, I can tell I am eaves dropping on a conversation between several bird friends. They are calling and responding to one another.
Finally, I am interrupted by the dominating sound of a garbage truck coming down the street on W. 107th. The sound is monstrous, even scary. I would suspect that the birds would stop chirping or be frightened off to another place but they seem to be true New Yorkers too. They carry on as if nothing has happened.