Listen to the Sound of the City, Circa 1929 [VIDEO]

Posted on: February 8th, 2018 at 5:07 am by

It’s rather common to see old black-and-white photos and footage of New York City from the early 20th Century. The quality of this old media tends to convey a nostalgic quaintness about a time vastly different from the present. So much so, that it seems crazy to think that life happened in color during these years.

But that’s focusing on the visual. What about the audio aspect? Sound paired with moving image from that time period is not the norm. Which is why the following clip provides a fascinating cacaphony of sound from the city in 1929. The unearthed segments, all shot with Movietone sound cameras (proprietary “sound-on-film” recording technology owned by Fox Films), were stitched together for a single 14-minute experience that illuminates the classic hustle-bustle.

What the recordings show is, even then, the city was a loud clusterfuck. If not more so. And that people embraced jaywalking.

Other highlights include a lively scene outside of “Zero’s Tub” on St. Mark’s Place; a lively rally of local socialists; trolley cars galore; old New York City accents; and the Local 60 union workers doing plaster work on the then-in-progress Chrysler Building.

[h/t Manhattan Before 1990]

Recent Stories

Chinatown Asks, Where’s the Beef? [OP-ED]

In scenes reminiscent of life in the Soviet Union during the Cold War, where long lines were the norm for basic necessities and food, the past couple weeks of coronavirus quarantine have shown a crack here at home. Despite federal and state leaders’ calls to remain calm and reassurances that there are bountiful supplies of meat, vegetables and […]

The Crazy Line Outside Trader Joe’s on Grand Street

This is the queue outside Trader Joe’s on Grand Street. Distanced six feet apart, the line of shoppers snaked around onto Clinton Street and up to Broome. It’s a scene that plays out daily amidst the COVID-19 shutdown, as residents scramble for groceries. We were told that management allows a store occupancy of fifty to […]

DOB Unveils Real-Time Map Plotting Essential and Emergency Construction Sites

At the end of March, Governor Cuomo froze almost all construction projects statewide in response to the fast-moving COVID-19 pandemic and its infection of 19 workers around the city. Only essential projects are granted a pass – infrastructure and transportation projects, emergency repairs, hospital building, and work on affordable housing. It is these exception jobs […]

Pickle Guys to Close Next Week, Hope to Reopen in May

Some sour news indeed for Lower East Siders: The Pickle Guys are going on hiatus. Indefinitely. The brine stalwarts of Grand Street announced the closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which also coincides with the Jewish holiday of Passover. The pickle peeps hope to return at the beginning of May. The store will remain open […]

Straphanger at East Broadway Station Chases Down Mugger to Retrieve his Wallet

Criminals are still out there, in spite of the COVID-19 lockdown. Especially in the largely empty subway stations. East Broadway station again lives up to its dangerous reputation with a mugging there last week. According to police, a man entered the station at Rutgers Street and East Broadway at 8:45pm on March 24 to purchase […]