Skip to main content

Spotify playlist offers the familiar sounds of pre-pandemic New York

New York City is still in lockdown as it continues to grapple with the appalling effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

With most businesses in the usually bustling city ordered to close in mid-March in a bid to slow the spread of the virus, the unique sounds of the Big Apple have slipped away, leaving its inhabitants wondering how long it’ll be before life returns to normal.

Related Videos

As a stopgap measure to help locals cope with the unsettling sound of silence, the New York Public Library knocked together a playlist of familiar audio landscapes recorded in the city before the virus caused changed everything.

“The New York we know and love is one click away: Cabs honking, pigeons cooing, bike messengers whizzing by, strangers gossiping, the hum of a local library,” it wrote in a message  announcing the playlist, adding, “Anywhere you are can now become the city — all you need is Missing Sounds of New York, the New York Public Library’s new album.”

Comprising eight tracks running a total of 16 minutes, you can immerse yourself in the familiar soundscapes of a bustling city park, a lively neighborhood restaurant, and that (not so quiet) library, among other places. You’ll even find a recording of a New York City rush hour, if you can stand to remind yourself of the hectic journey.

The New York Public Library said it used a combination of sounds to create each track so that it could include short “mini-stories” inside each one where the audio picks out particular people or happenings.

Created in partnership with creative agency Mother New York, the library describes the collection as “a love letter to New York City, connecting New Yorkers around the familiar sounds of urban life that they love and miss during this unprecedented time of social separation.”

Best enjoyed with a pair of headphones and closed eyes, you can find the evocative playlist on Spotify, or simply explore the tracks via the embedded SoundCloud player below.

New York Public Library · Missing Sounds of New York

Editors' Recommendations

Next presidential debate will be virtual, but Trump says no
trump versus biden

UPDATE: President Trump has suggested he will refuse to take part in the debate if it's held remotely, telling Fox Business on Thursday morning: "I'm not going to waste my time on a virtual debate," adding, "You sit behind a computer and do a debate, it's ridiculous."

Next week’s second presidential debate between President Donald Trump and the Democratic hopeful, former Vice President Joe Biden, will take place virtually due to coronavirus concerns, the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) confirmed on Thursday, October 8.

Read more
The next presidential debate on Zoom? It may yet happen
trump vs biden

A campaign adviser to President Donald Trump has suggested that, as long as his health permits, Trump's positive test for coronavirus could mean that the next debate between him and former Vice President Joe Biden will take place with both men appearing on digital displays instead of in person.

Mica Mosbacher suggested the idea in an interview with BBC Radio’s flagship news show on Friday morning, October 2.

Read more
Amazon reveals how many of its workers have caught COVID-19
amazon employee wearing mask

Amazon confirmed its first case of COVID-19 at a U.S. warehouse back in March 2020 when the pandemic was just starting to take hold in the country. Since then, it won't surprise you to learn that many more workers at the company have contracted the illness.

The e-commerce giant said on Thursday that after a “thorough analysis” of data on all 1,372,000 front-line Amazon and Whole Foods Market employees throughout the U.S., employed at any time between March and September, 19,816 employees (excluding delivery drivers) have tested positive or been presumed positive for the coronavirus.

Read more