Sound of A-Train


It is no longer surprising for me to meet performers who suddenly play music or dance on subway in New York City since I’ve already stayed here more than 8 months, nor even no longer annoying. It never happens in Japan, but now I enjoy such performance without being irritated even though they interrupt my silent reading. To be honest, I do not like aggressive breakdance performance using pipes on the train by young boys so much, but still it’s ok unless they accidentally kick me. Most of the sounds of such subway songs and dances jolly and boisterous ones. But today’s sound I met in the afternoon was a little different, and therefore comfortable for me.

I was on an express A-train and going down to Canal Street in SOHO from 168th street in Washington Heights. I like A-train, cos he lightly passes most of the station within Upper-West Manhattan. I was reading an interesting book about “soundscape” by Raymond Murray Schafer, while the A-train was running through Upper-West without stopping from 125th to 42nd. At first I was concentrated on the book, but gradually become aware of a moody music coming to my ears, and I found one guy was singing the song with his CD playing. For a change, it was an R&B music, which I rarely hear on subway. He’s from Puerto Rico. His moody and melodious sound matched today’s mood of myself combined with a dark, continuing express road. I closed my book and listened to his sound, while looking out of the window from my seat, which was put parallel to the direction of the train. Outside of the window was almost dark, but sometimes blue light on the wall of tunnel cut across. I saw my face reflected on the window without thinking anything. Stable clickety-clack sound of the subway wheel made a session with percussions of his CD, and he sang on that. Whenever I meet such a gift from NYC, I imagine if you like this town.


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