Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Blog Assignment #1 – “What I Hear”

I chose to walk around my hometown neighborhood, Flatbush Avenue in downtown Brooklyn for this “Soundwalk” exercise. As I closed my eyes, my ears were filled keynotes of cars passing by, sometimes swiftly, hearing the accelerated rev of an engine, and sometimes slowly, as you would imagine the tires of cars inch up slowly one behind another waiting for the light to change.
Some sound signals that drew my attention in the foreground were the honks of passenger vans. From my knowledge, these vans only go down Flatbush Avenue, picking up and dropping off passengers like public car service for the price of $2. The sounds of these honks varied, some were short and frequent, others were longer customized musical sequences. Along with the sound of these horns were the sounds of the van door slamming closed; those were harsh and abrupt.
As I walked closer to the train station I could hear the screechy breaks of the train entering the station, and then the loud sound of pressured air being released as the train comes to a full stop. Taking the train everyday, these are sounds I hear quite often but I didn’t realize how loud they actually were until I could hear them from outside of the underground station.
Of course while walking down the sidewalk, I eavesdropped on a couple of conversations between groups of people, as well as those chattering away on their cellphones. It made me aware of how unaware people are of how many of us disregard our voice volume while on the phone.
The sounds I least expected to hear were present only early in the morning or really late at night. In the morning, I could hear seagulls calling very softly in the air. I didn’t know seagulls flew into our area at all. It was nice feeling like there were some “natural” sounds in a neighborhood filled with sounds of transportation vehicles. At night, I heard both fire truck and ambulance truck sirens. Both of these sounds were alarming and shocking, as they should be, since they are emergency vehicles. They were extremely unpleasant to hear late at night when all the sounds of cars, trucks, and buses disappeared. Even though it is a little eerie with nobody out on the street at night in my neighborhood, I found the silence preferable after a long day of school and work.