I wake up to a pleasantly comfortable amount of light coming through my window, the usual few birds chirping and whistling from the tree in my front yard and my cat coming into the bedroom – nothing too sudden or abrasive. I don’t believe I would have to venture a very large guess that most people probably prefer sounds and extraneous noises to stay around these softer levels first thing in the morning, and that’s completely sensible.
What about the rest of the hours in the day time though? With warmer temperatures and clearer skies ahead, spending time outside can only become more appealing and along with a breath of fresh air, plenty of musicians want to be able to breathe life into song while taking in the beautiful weather. New York City in particular, has long been known for public, outdoor performances of many varieties; with music often at the forefront. One of my personal favorite places to run across musicians is at the top of the subway stairwells in Union Square.
Unfortunately, a famous slice of NYC has moved to severely dampen outdoor sound.
Although Central Park is a staggering 843 acres in area, certain portions of the grassy oasis are more frequented than others. Strawberry Fields and Bethesda Terrace are two such places, with their respective pop-culture and historical associations attracting visitors all the time.
WNYC‘s culture division discusses this change in policy (which incidentally is not brand new,) and even within the article itself there are split opinions on the matter. The NYC Department of Parks and Recreation, states the change was “enacted in response to public complaints.” I don’t doubt complaints mounted from people, but I’m sure there are an equal number of people that recognize street musicians are as much an iconic part of New York City culture as the parks themselves.
What’s your opinion? Personally, I understand extremes are unfavorable, but really, isn’t moderation usually the best answer for just about everything? There are performers that have a favorite spot to play and have been doing it routinely for a long time. Taking that away is like branding them a source of negative action.
I don’t want quiet, but I would like you to Sound Off! (sorry, couldn’t help myself)