Why acoustics matter, even outside a concert hall

We live in the era of noise. So much so, that we no longer hear the TVs idling on as we talk, and we can’t pin down what’s so annoying about a perfectly mute office (it gets worse when a colleague opens a pack of chips), yet love the layered sounds that concur at Grand Central Station of New York. Michael Kimmelman of the New York Times takes us for a walk through the sounds of the city’s landmarks and houses, taverns and streets. He explains why we don’t mind, and are actually pleased, by the ruffling sound of pages in a space of silence, like a library, yet can find spectacular views of the city claustrophobic: windows are not only meant to be viewed but also opened to the sounds of the outside world, even in the depth of winter to hear, as it were, the silence of snow. For noise is another name for the sounds of silence.

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