A Sonic Time Machine
December 9, 2013 8:15 AM   Subscribe

The Roaring Twenties: An Interactive Exploration of the Historical Soundscape of New York City (sound autoplays). via i09, which says The map uses a combination of noise complaints and old reel footage to plot everything from what must have been an exceptionally noisy subway turnstile (complete with notes from the police report) all the way to a carnival barkers in Coney Island, and is a great way to listen in on the everyday life of a New York City gone-by.
posted by davidjmcgee (3 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite
That's a really cool use for historical data and geography. I'm not totally convinced by the formatting of everything, but maybe I just need to poke around more.

I'm thinking it would be cool if you have a map with the street layout, and a movable avatar on that map. Wherever your avatar is placed, the sounds in its nearest proximity would auto-play loudest, and they would recede in volume as you moved your character around the city.
posted by Think_Long at 8:24 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]

I think it's unbelievably cool, a great way to start reorganizing historical documents in an experiential format across a few dimensions. I agree with Think_Long that it would be fantastic to coordinate sound files better with the map, but I can understand some of the obstacles there.
posted by Miko at 8:40 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

Watching the street videos I can see why some may have experienced the era as "roaring", the cars didn't have very good mufflers and the streets were a cacophony of low roar. A noticeable change from horse feet clopping. They also didn't have emission controls the air looks worse than Beijing on high alert, full lead of course.
posted by stbalbach at 9:57 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]

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