Here is a view of Lower Manhattan as seen from the ferry as a boat-load of us returned from the fabulous Gadgetoff ’09 convention. The night-time skyline as seen from the harbor was incredibly peaceful somehow.
With the boat’s diesel engines drowning out the distant din of the city, I realized thatÂ there was without a doubt a whole encyclopedia of soundscapes contained in this scene! Sound is a funny thing – especially on a Friday night in NYC on a warm, early autumn evening, one can only imagine the extent of these varied and collective urban sounds.
Disembarking from the boat within walking distance of the Port Authority near 42nd Street, the first of two ‘miracles’ was having a local New Yorker from the convention lead me to the nearest Starbucks. After three days on Staten Island with its propensity for Dunkin Donuts and White Castle locations, this was a real treat!
The second ‘miracle’ on 42nd street was that I actually got the last bus ticket out of NYC to make it back to Toronto in time to meet with my Saturday flute students at the Royal Conservatory!
Sounds, like smells, can be an indelible stimulus where memory is concerned, yet fleeting and somehow ephemeral. Taking in the sights and sounds of the city as I walked along to catch my bus, I was reminded ofÂ Scents and the City, a recent article in the New York Times that humorously described a catalogue of Manhattan smells: an olfactory guide to the Big Apple!
Pictured above is the Port Authority entranceway where I recorded this mp3 and I hope you enjoy this sonic glimpse of a New York streetscape. I would have played flute a bit, but as it was I barely made my bus. For some awesome beatbox flute playing, check out New York’s Greg Pattillo and Robert Dick. And below is a clearer image of the NYC skyline as viewed from the harbour at night.
NOTE: If you look carefully at the first of these three images, you will see the head and face of King Kong in the upper right of the photo…still haunting the Empire State Building it would seem!!