Missing Sounds of New York - Library - The New York Public Library JPG
Missing Sounds of New York - Library - The New York Public Library MP4 2m:05s

Missing Sounds of New York - The New York Public Library

Missing Sounds of New York - The New York Public Library - Library


Title of Entry: Missing Sounds of New York
Brand: The New York Public Library
Product/Service: Library
Client: The New York Public Library
Entrant Company: Mother New York
Creative Agency: Mother New York
Creative Director: Mother
Date of Release: 2020-05-01
Notes: As many parts of the world shut down, issuing shelter-in-place orders in response to COVID-19, life as we knew it came to an unprecedented halt. Almost instantly, new behaviors emerged, designed to ensure we all do our part to slow the spread of the virus. But as a result, these behaviors transformed our cities into almost foreign spaces, unrecognizable to the residents that called them home.

New York, a city in many ways defined by the constant cacophony of beloved and reviled sounds alike, felt especially changed. Gone were the sounds of cars honking in Friday gridlock, aggressive bike messengers whizzing by, millennials’ self-absorbed phone conversations, and that guy who yells at you for looking in his general direction. It quickly became a time of discomfort for all 8.7 million New Yorkers, with everything feeling hopelessly different.

Throughout their 125 year history, the New York Public Library has worked tirelessly to ensure every New Yorker has what they need most – information, knowledge and services that provide opportunities and level the playing field. And in this moment of unique need, our strategy was even more clear: in the face of unprecedented uncertainty and fear, what New Yorkers needed most was the comfort of the familiar. A reminder that, though we occupy a city that feels foreign to us right now, the soundscape we all love will someday return.

So, to rise to this need, we compiled our dream list of soundscapes that would speak to every single New Yorker, from the Bronx to Staten Island and everywhere in-between. We selected the most powerful sounds and released them as the NYPL’s first album as an artist on Spotify: Missing Sounds of New York. It was especially important to us to release this album on a democratized platform that would allow all New Yorkers to have the shared experience of listening to this album together. Over the course of a three week production involving over 100 people, we created eight unique tracks that draw from archival and found audio, sound libraries and select re-recorded audio staples. The result was a visceral and cathartic experience for listeners, serving as a reminder of the power we have when we all come together.

What resulted from the album release was an outpouring of appreciation, and honest expressions of the deep emotional response this album gave its listeners:

“don't mind me, i'm just sobbing at my computer at 10 in the morning over the sounds of people playing basketball or a glass breaking in a crowded bar because the @nypl put out this album of normal crowded NYC noises”

“The horns and jackhammers, late-night parties and crowded spaces that once enervated New Yorkers at every turn — has become a source of deep nostalgia and solace already.”
The New York Times
Other Credits: Mother
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