A Sonic Weekend in New York

Coming directly from the IAPSM Conference in Minneapolis, I spent the weekend in New York before returning to Germany. Let me share some of my sonic impressions.

Even though this was my first visit to New York, the city looked a little familiar to me because of the movies. At least, the only way I can explain it is that I expected Spider-Man to appear among the skyscrapers at any moment when I finally found my way out of the Manhattan subway station near Bryant Park. Beyond the familiar but slightly stifling view of skyscrapers, I recognized many voices, traffic, birds, and the typical siren of an American police car. So I grabbed a coffee, sat down at the corner of the park, listened to the surroundings and tried to arrive.

In the evening I had the chance to meet a friend who has been giving a talk at the conference in Minneapolis about busking under New York. And so, I had the chance to watch Felipe and his fine Cover band at the metro station Time Square underground. The acoustic is very special when a hard rock band plays inside the metro station under the city and the changing of the public every now and then.

The next day I did a lot of sightseeing by bike, foot, and ferry and when I passed a Corner in Soho I heard someone playing „Pride and Joy“ by Stevie Ray Vaughn. That is how I met amazing Blues Man Adjua Ajamu and listened to him playing on the street. Amazing what sound could be produced through a pocket size amp, a smartphone, a microphone, and of course a beautiful voice and expressive guitar playing. I also visited a nice live music club nearby, but the sounds and music outside on the streets were my favorites.

The next day I was riding my bike across the Brooklyn Bridge, stumbling between some street market stalls and flipping through some vinyl, when I heard this fascinating rhythm created by the trains crossing the bridge. I looked for a convenient spot under the bridge. Although the recording automatically turned the sound down a bit, you can imagine part of the sound experience through the loud rhythm. Just in time, this reminded me that I had to leave to catch my train to the airport.