One of the most beautiful memories I have of New York was last December in Washington Square Park. My boyfriend and I were heading from the West 4th Street D train over to the East Village to eat at Porchetta. On our way past the park we saw a weird crowd assembled: groups of hipsters, yoga moms with their baby’s in Bjorns, NYU kids, old solitary men. They were all holding portable stereos, boom boxes or those little audio recorders that people use to tape their voices. My boyfriend and I stood and watched. All at once someone in the front of the group began to speak, and a moment later the park was filled with the most beautiful sound of bells I’d ever heard. Gentle, light bells emanating from everyones speakers. It was Unsilent Night.
Created by Composer Phil Kline, the project gathers dozens of people in the park and gives them each tapes with different sections of Kline’s piece. The resulting sound was incredible.
They began to walk East and we followed them. Everyone around us stopped, trying to figure outwhy this strange parade of people with seemingly no instruments (its hard to see the boomboxes in the dark) seemed to be emanating sound. Despite the East Village foot and car traffic the music was the loudest sound on the street and groups of people stopped talking in hushed silence as the parade moved by.
It’s going down again tonight–don’t miss it. Even if you do just a few block walk with the parade, it is something you’ll never forget.
Washington Square Park