New York

New York is quite brilliant and crazy.

Track below: On the Amtrak train from Montreal to New York. The train compartments were actually incredibly quiet: 55 -65 db on average. In between cars were small enclosed areas that were all metal and they clattered and clanked and squeaked. That is where I recorded the track below.

Track below: In the Columbus Park, Chinatown. There are granite chess tables where older Chinese men are playing cards, or a game like Checkers. The checkers pieces are small round disks, maybe made of plastic or china and they click and clatter and the men laugh and talk. There is also Tai Chi happening in two goups. They did one motion where they stepped forward and made a short sound: AhAA several times, and the overlapping of the groups was an interesting effect.

At the World Trade Center site on the morning of September 11, 2010 I arrived too late for any official ceremony. There were peaceful protesters handing out information on the theory that 9/11 was an ‘inside job’ planned by the US government. The three tracks below are one protester calling out to passers-by.

The New York Police Department pipe band playing in full uniform (with kilts) near the World Trade Center site, Sept. 11, 2010.

On another corner nearby the Trade Center site there was a protest against the Qur’an burning that was planned by Rev. Terry Jones in Florida.

I met Elmo on the street and my attempts at conversation went arwy (see track below).

In Times Square, scalpers were common. They called out their tickets for the night and pitched how good the seats were to tourists.

In Central Park there were many buskers, and the track below is of an erhu playing Ave Maria. It seemed like two worlds colliding, but the erhu had a wonderful lyrical quality that even made his accompanying boombox accompaniment sound good.

The track below is Times Square on a Sunday night. The place was packed and as bright as day. Noisy, light, flashing and overwhelming.

I took the Metro North train from Stamford to New York – it is in between the comfort of Amtrak and the convenient crampness of the subway. The sound level is also in-between in terms of both decibel level and appeal.

I had a conversation with Vincent from the Bronx in the track below.

Some notable pictures from New York:

Carmen gets a free makeover.

My personal favorite: a hybrid taxidermied jewelry display with the head of a warthog and the body of a black bear.

A bird’s nest made of bamboo on top of the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

I’m recording in Grand Central Station.