Missing Sounds of New York: An Auditory Love Letter to New Yorkers

By NYPL Staff
May 1, 2020
Album cover for 'Missing Sounds of New York'

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. 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.

A new immersive experience, the album is a collection of audio landscapes that evoke some of the sounds of New York City. Missing Sounds of New York, a partnership with creative agency Mother New York, is a love letter to NYC, connecting New Yorkers around the familiar sounds of urban life that they love and miss during this unprecedented time of social separation.

Each track uses a combination of sounds to create familiar, ambient canvases on which mini stories are placed: a glass breaking in a bar, a dance performance on the subway, an overly enthusiastic baseball fan. Missing Sounds of New York reminds us of what makes New York so special for so many people.

Spotify users can head here to listen (listening on Spotify requires using or creating a Spotify account, including free accounts). Or you can take a listen below!

New York Public Library · Missing Sounds of New York

The Library previously partnered with Mother New York in 2018 on the award-winning Insta Novels project.

The New York Public Library has offered New Yorkers a vast array of remote, digital programs and services since it temporarily closed its 92 physical locations beginning on Saturday, March 14 to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. For example, the system has offered digital library cards and over 300,000 e-books to browse, borrow, and read via its e-reader app SimplyE. Among the many other digital resources available remotely are:

All voices and sounds heard on the tracks were compiled from a mix of recorded (with permission) and commercially-sourced audio.

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