The New York Public Library Drops New Album: Missing Sounds of New York

The new album —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

Media Contact: Angela Montefinise /


MAY 1, 2020 —The New York Public Library today announced the release of Missing Sounds of New York, a new immersive album to bring all New Yorkers together and foster community during an unprecedented time of social separation during COVID-19.  The experience is a collection of audio landscapes that evoke the sounds of New York City as we know it, and transports listeners to the daily urban orchestra they look forward to hearing again soon. 

The album finds comfort in the familiar for all New Yorkers, whether it’s an essential worker who is still braving our new normal, or a resident who is socially distancing themselves indoors and dreaming about the city they used to know and hear: cabs honking, bike messengers whizzing by, snippets of conversations, cooing pigeons, or the not-so-quiet of a branch library. Missing Sounds of New York reminds us of what makes New York so special for so many people. 

Full track list below:

  1. To See an Underground Show (feat. Kid The Wiz)

  2. Romancing Rush Hour

  3. Serenity Is a Rowdy City Park

  4. Out in Left Field

  5. For the Love of Noisy Neighbors

  6. I’d Call a Cab to Anywhere

  7. Never Call It a Night Again

  8. The Not-Quite-Quiet Library

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, and so on. The library recording, for example, follows a New Yorker entering a branch, running into a tour group, interacting with a helpful librarian looking to make a reading recommendation, walking past a toddler story time and sitting down to begin quiet work.

Missing Sounds of New York was created in collaboration with independent creative agency, Mother New York, and is publicly available to stream on Spotifyand at The Library previously partnered with Mother New York in 2018 on the award-winning Insta Novels project.

“For 125 years, the Library has supported New Yorkers and, through its collections, chronicled the City’s day-to-day life,” said Carrie Welch, the Library’s chief of external relations. “During this challenging time, the Library is offering a wide range of e-materials and remote programs and services to continue to support and strengthen our communities. This album is a different and creative way we can help: providing an entertaining distraction that allows New Yorkers access to something we are all missing: many of the quintessential sounds of the city we know and love.”

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 (and has seen a 13% increase in e-book borrowing). 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. 

About The New York Public Library

For 125 years, The New York Public Library has been a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 92 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library receives approximately 16 million visits through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at