A month into quarantine in New York City, software program developer Evan Lewis discovered himself lacking the subway — perhaps not a lot the smells, however actually the sounds. The screech of the brakes, the clack-clack of the prepare rolling over the tracks, the strict reminder to “Stand clear of the closing doors please.”
“It was weird because pre-COVID-19 I would always listen to music on my commute to drown out the announcements and the music of the subway performers,” Lewis instructed me, “but when I stopped taking the train I realized I sort of missed those sounds!”
Assuming others have been additionally lacking using the nation’s largest mass transit system, he created a soundboard app referred to as NYC Subway Sounds. That method, he (and others) might be immersed within the sonic expertise of a every day commute with out ever leaving the sofa.
Stuck inside and miss the subway? I made an NYC subway soundboard so you’ll be able to “STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING DOORS PLEASE” proper out of your sofa! https://t.co/lwFTJ319gT
— Evan Lewis (@evanlws) April 17, 2020
The checklist of over two dozen sounds contains all the classics — the “ding dong” of the closing doorways, the “mind the gap” announcement, the tough beep of a MetroCard swipe — in addition to a handful of the busier station arrival bulletins. It’s an aural melange designed to instantly ship the listener onto a dashing 7 prepare hurtling via the darkness beneath a restive metropolis.
Designing the app was the straightforward half, Lewis stated. The onerous half was finding all of the sounds. He enlisted his associates to assist him observe down as many as they may. Other sounds he discovered on YouTube or obscure internet boards for transit fans that he didn’t beforehand know existed.
Arguably, one of the best sound is a garbled conductor announcement referred to as “Tempererer derler” — although Lewis admits it could not truly be an actual subway sound. “It may not have been genuine but it reminded me of the subway so I added it anyways,” he stated.
The app has been downloaded about 500 occasions to date, Lewis stated. “Although the daily usage has been going up every day,” he added, “which makes me think people are missing the subway more and more.”
Lewis’ app is a uncommon vibrant spot in an in any other case grim image for public transportation within the period of COVID-19. The MTA has reported a 90 p.c drop in ridership because the begin of the pandemic (although some riders are slowly returning). Earlier this month, the company stated it could be shutting down subway service between 1AM and 5AM to disinfect the trains and tackle the rising inhabitants of homeless individuals within the system. Over 80 MTA employees have died from the virus.
Like Lewis, I haven’t ridden the subway in months. Of course, I don’t miss the crushing congestion or the frequent delays. But I do miss my fellow straphangers, even those who put on an excessive amount of cologne. I miss the “Showtime” dancers and other people enjoying music you didn’t ask to listen to (each featured in Lewis’ app). The proselytizing preachers and building employees scarfing down steaming containers of halal meals. (Where’s my NYC Subway Smell app? Just kidding.)
The thought of being in an enclosed house with a bunch of strangers appears so bizarre now — an artifact from The Before Time. Did we actually do this? Yes we did, and hopefully, we’ll get again there quickly. We must. The alternative is crippling car traffic and pollution. Lewis’ app offers me hope that we are going to get again. He actually appears to agree.
“I think when this is all over,” he instructed me, “I’m going to leave my headphones at home for a while to just take in all the sounds.”