I recently purchased a white noise machine. This magical little contraption emits a constant whirring that sounds like the “t.v. snow” when stations used to sign off for the night. I set it up near my front door and it quite successfully blocks most errant hallway noise. If plain white noise isn’t your thing, know that you can pick up a variety of soothing sounds. The nature-inspired can listen to the sounds of the rainforests (gorilla mating calls included) and New Agers can be calmed with Anasazi flutes. Since this machine is for my dog, who gets a little riled up by strange noises in the hallway, I didn’t think he’d have the appropriate appreciation for Sounds of the Orca.
These machines are nothing new to many New Yorkers, who have to find some way to drown out all kinds of street noise, especially in the summer when windows are open and neighbors (read teenagers) find it reasonable to hang out on the corner talking trash, etc. until 3 a.m.
(In a strange paradox, give a New Yorker the silence of a remote B&B and he will lie awake interminably because it’s too quiet. It’s just him and all that empty stillness. And for the love of God something make a sound!)
Enter a new genre of soothing vibrations: the sound of the subway. This would be a compilation of a subway car gliding down the tracks on a ride that never ends to lull you into peaceful slumber. In this version of subway nirvana there are no annoying PA announcements, no ear-drum splitting brakes, no bing-bongs of the doors closing. Just you and the gentle clickety-clack rhythm of the train. What I call the Kick-It-Up-A-Notch edition would include a device to tenderly rock you to dreamland complete with the shimmy and shake of the F train.
I can’t claim this idea as entirely my own. Last weekend my friend M. was visiting from the West Coast. She’d lived in NYC for years before relocating to what I like to call the Groundhog Day City. (Here is my synopsis of every morning I’ve ever experienced in San Diego: 1. Alarm goes off. 2. Open curtains. 3. See perfect blue sky, nary a cloud. 4. Feel gentle breeze of 70 degree temperature. 5. Repeat.) As we rode the Q to Union Square M. noted that she forgot how easy it was to nod off listening to the hum of the subway. Now if she could just package the sounds of the subway she could cure her insomnia for good.
Coming soon for $19.95 to a station near you.