New York Daily Photo Analytics

Monday, February 21, 2011

Urban Elephants and Hydraulic Tusks

We have many many sounds in the city, some unique and some we share with our suburban and country brethren. For those whose apartments face the street, there is the unabated sound of street traffic, less or more depending on where one faces and the time of day. There are also birds, dogs barking or the occasional screams and shouts of children at play. At night there is the sound of taxis dropping off passengers - usually identifiable by the longer time between opening and closing of doors and the conversations that sometimes ensue between passengers and driver. There is the walk of the lone and confident woman with every step of her hard heels clearly audible.

Then there is the occasional late night revelry, screaming or fighting of the severely inebriated. The sounds of these individuals getting into vehicles is not a pleasant prospect. The vehicle often jettisons away with squealing tires.

In the early morning we have the trumpeting of urban Elephants, i.e. garbage trucks, and the crunching and groaning of debris caught in their hydraulic tusks.

In the case of new, substantial snow, there are giveaway sounds - the reduced frequency of cars, the telltale echo of snow shovels and the unmistakable grind of the snowplow against the pavement. In the event of rain, I can hear the spray of water against tires and the roadway.

I have windows facing a park which I have featured in the four seasons: Spring (Enchanted April), Signs of Summer, Fall (Wood, Glass, Brass and Trees), and Winter (White By Design 2). In the mornings, however, I often rise before sunrise and immediately go to my laptop, typically without even looking out the window. Instead I rely on the sounds of the city. - perhaps for any number of reasons, including a growing reliance on the Internet and also being out of tune with the outdoors and nature from living in such a high urbanized environment. This morning I had no idea we had another in a series of snowstorms until I heard a snow shovel.

On an Apple computer the F4 key immediately displays the dashboard, a group of widgets which can be custom configured. I currently have mine to include the weather which displays the current conditions and the week's weather forecast. I can see if the sun is shining without turning around.

But not everything can be experienced through the Internet, the F4 key or even the sounds of the city. You've got to look out your window if you want to see the snow and you have to step into the streets and follow the trumpeting if you want to see Urban Elephants and their Hydraulic Tusks :)


Karen said...

Love the bikes! Great shots! I also enjoyed the White by Design entry.

Sue said...

Well done! Brings back so many memories for me. Living across the street from a rock club for many years I remember being able to figure out which group had played on a specific night by the sounds of singing fans leaving the club as they walked underneath my window! Then there was the food vending truck that sat outside the post office across the street which had deliveries 24 hours a day, 6 days a week. The truck with the noisy generator was my absolute favorite. One night I remember it was so loud that at about 2:00am I had to call the police. I remember the police car stopping and talking to him and then him shutting the motor off. Thank goodness, I thought, now I can finally get to sleep. The next thing I remember is about 15 minutes later - the truck driver turning the motor back on and me, all five feet, 104 pounds of me, going outside in my pajamas and slippers and then me yelling at the man so crazy like that he absolutely never came back to my street again! I wish I had been living outside of a park like you do, Brian. It wasn't until I finally moved to an apartment in the back of my building, which actually faced a courtyard and garden, that I could finally get some sleep. Ah, New York. I do miss it though.

Brian Dubé said...

Karen - I like the whole White By Design series.

Sue - Living across from a club like you did is brutal. A friend I know lived about a retailer that blasted music all day and night. She battled them for years.

Isabel said...

Like this different point of view of bycicles!

Victoria said...

lucky me. I wake up with birds. And I go to bed just listening if its windy the sound of the leaeves from the trees.
Since I left the city ( small but city at the end, "Montevideo") it´s extremely quiet here.
I agree, truck are the worst. (sorry because of my english)
I like the photos. bye, bye.

Anonymous said...

Love your writing!

Annie said...

That was daughter in NYC said she didn't know it had snowed til she turned on the internet (and of course the weather) yesterday. So then of course they got to look out the window and enjoy! She's obviously not listening for the sounds, with a little one, and one on the way, and losing sleep.

Anonymous said...

Like your words about NYC city sounds. Years ago I stayed at a NYC hotel across from Central Park and in the morning it was raining and the sounds of the cars honking against the rain has stayed with me....and now I am in Cali for 4 months and it is the sounds of the falling rain (it has been the rainy season) and the chirping birds that I want to capture and send back to friends.

Anonymous said...


Preeti Edul said...

Beautiful pictures !