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Photograph: Time Out New York

Listen to the NYC sounds you’ve been missing on this Spotify playlist

You didn't realize you miss the sound of honking cabs until now.

Shaye Weaver
Written by
Shaye Weaver

New York City has its own distinct soundtrack—a subway train moving out of a station, honking cabs, birds singing as you walk down the sidewalk, bicyclists whizzing by, the hum of voices in a crowded park—and we're all missing it right now.

Luckily, there's a playlist for that. The New York Public Library, with Mother New York, just dropped a playlist on Spotify called "Missing Sounds of New York" so you can bring those iconic sounds to your apartment.

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The eight-track list includes sounds from a glass breaking in a bar, a dance performance on the subway, cabs honking, bike messengers racing by, snippets of conversations, cooing pigeons, and the not-so-quiet of a branch library. The library recording actually 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.

Whether or not these sounds are part of what makes you love New York, the playlist is a cozy reminder of your life before the shutdown.

"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. "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 full list is 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

The NYPL, although closed to the public right now, is still offering digital library cards and has over 300,000 e-books to borrow from its e-reader app SimplyE (the library has seen a 13% increase in e-book borrowing). It has also launched some fun at-home challenges like #bookcoverdouble, encouraging people to recreate their favorite book covers, created new library-themed Zoom backgrounds, and partnered with WNYC on a virtual book club.

Happy listening!

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