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Subway Train in New York at Sunset
Photograph: William Perugini

Iconic New Yorkers will be the new voice of the MTA

New York Nico is teaming up with MTA to record the city's most recognizable voices.

By
Shaye Weaver
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Come 2021, there will be new voices telling straphangers to "stand clear of the closing doors." 

The Metropolitan Transportation Authority is teaming up with @NewYorkNico (Nicolas Heller), the "unofficial talent scout of New York City" and NYC's favorite Instagrammer, to find the most iconic New Yorkers to record announcements for all to hear aboard the subway and bus systems.

Imagine hearing Robert De Niro or Joe Pesci reminding you to wear your mask or that the train is going express. It certainly would spice things up for us straphangers.

Heller says some of his favorite New Yorkers have already expressed interest, but his dream list includes names like Robert De Niro, Jerry Seinfeld, Rosie Perez, Desus & Mero, and Debi Mazar. That being said, not everyone needs to be a celebrity. Heller says local legends, recognizable voices, unsung heroes, and others could qualify.

@NewYorkNico followers have suggested Pat Kiernan from NY1, Jennifer Lopez, 50 Cent, all of the Wu-Tang Clan gang, Lady Gaga, Larry David, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Steve Buscemi, among others.

"There is no real determination for who is iconic," Heller told us. "It's really just who the people think is worthy of the honor! I want the people of New York to be a huge part of this whole process."

Heller is putting together a list of those who were recommended on his Instagram post from Sunday and will reach out personally to these people. Once all the logistics are ironed out, Heller and his team will write the scripts and record the announcements. 

"It has always been a dream of mine to get together a gang of incredible New Yorkers to record new subway announcements similar to what yellow cabs did back in the early 2000s," he said. "I think it's important for the time that we are in that we have a reminder that we are still strong, we are still here, we are still New York. If all goes according to plan, it will spark a sense of New York pride every time you take the train."

Heller nor those who provide the voices are getting paid to do this — they are "doing it for the culture!" Heller says.

Sarah Feinberg, the interim president of MTA New York City Transit, says it's a fun way to welcome riders back. 

"As we work to bring customers and our city back, what better combination than two New York originals teaming up to do just that," she said. "New York City Transit is thrilled to work with New York Nico to bring the voices of iconic New Yorkers into the system.”

If you had your choice, who would you like to hear on your commute?  

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