Essay on the sound of buildings in and around New York City.

During the Middle Ages, smell was the unspoken plague of cities. Today it is sound. Streets, public spaces, bars, offices, even apartments and private houses can be painfully noisy, grim and enervating. And we seek respite. The architects of the High Line did not focus especially on the sound of that popular elevated park.

But a good deal of the pleasure of walking along it — and of a visitor’s sense of escaping the city while being in the middle of it — derives from its height, some 30 feet above the street, and the corresponding change in the sonic environment. The rumble of traffic below the High Line physically assaults pedestrians at street level.

The article has Vine-like videos demonstrating sound environments around NYC. Listen to the contrast between Grand Central Terminal (a giant space) and Penn Station (with low ceilings).

My favorite locale is the Lafayette Bistro in Manhattan. It sounds…warm.

Posted 2 years ago by John Piscitello

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