New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Staff Rants & Raves: New York City Sounds

We all knew what we were signing up for when we decided to go to school in the city; New York isn’t exactly known for being quiet. But that doesn’t mean we can’t complain about it.
Grace Halio

On Crusty Catcallers

By Yasmin Gulec, Under the Arch Editor

You are walking down the street, minding your own business when a creepy man walks past you, a little too close, and you immediately tense up. You wait for the snarky comment that will lurk in your head long after the stinky man is gone. And there it is, a version of  “Hey beautiful,” “Nice ass” or something less palatable like “Let’s f-ck” or “I know what I want to do with you, baby.” Catcallers are not a New York trademark, but they are definitely a prominent part of the city. There is no uglier sound than a man not keeping his mouth shut about things that do not concern him. The worst part is, if you ignore him (how dare you!) suddenly your “pretty face” turns into the face of an “ugly b-tch.” This is a sound that all women, including myself, try to become deaf to. To the men who do it, I suggest you find another way to get women, seeing that you are such a catch. No woman will stop and say “Hey you know what, now that you rudely catcalled me I do want to go home with you and trust you with my life!” And to my fellow ladies, I suggest some good headphones with rock ‘n’ roll music blasting or perhaps a swift kick in the groin.

On The Bursar Office’s Hold Music

By Sarah John, Deputy Opinion Editor

My least favorite New York City sound is the hold music that plays when an NYU office transfers me — often two or three times a call. I have been conditioned to associate that light, joyful classical music with feelings of frustration, anxiety and light nausea — the only possible mix of emotions after fighting your way through a phone call with NYU. To be fair, I get it. We’re a big school, and it’s hard for the person on the other end of the line to know some things, like whether my question should go to Sharon in Financial Aid or Brandon with the Bursar department. But I’d just like to point out that the 30 extra minutes we all waste each time we call NYU could probably be better spent! Think of all that lost collective brainpower. One of us probably could have cured the common cold or something by now, but we were all too drained from getting transferred three times, just to ask NYU a simple question. Food for thought, Andy Hamilton.

On Union Square Park at 6 a.m.

By Melanie Pineda, Opinion Editor

Living at Carlyle has its perks. My commute to campus is never more than 15 minutes long, and now that the weather is getting warm again, the courtyard is a great place to study while getting some much needed sun exposure. But the cacophony of sounds that wake me up at 6 in the morning are, to say the least, completely unbearable. The dozens of produce guys unloading their freshly grown crops for the farmer’s market. The truck drivers hauling said crops, yelling at one another in order to decide who gets to park where. The eerily persistent ambulance that — without fail — wails as loudly as possible before dawn. Exactly one hour later, the screaming children being dropped off at the middle school two blocks away and the hundreds of passing commuters start this process all over again. And it’s not like these noises get any more bearable in the afternoon either. I’ve memorized which protestors, singers and artists show up when, as well as exactly what each and every one of them loves to scream about in hourly intervals. Don’t get me wrong; street performers are an enjoyable part of New York culture. But listening to Union Square sounds every single day is equivalent to listening to the same song 1,000 times to the point where you grow to hate it.  

On Sirens Upon Sirens Upon Sirens

By Hanna Khosravi, Opinion Editor

Alexa, play “Sound of Silence,” but change “Silence” to “Sirens” and you’ve basically got your go-to New York City theme music for your stroll down the street. Seriously, try to complete a phone call without your ears bleeding into your speaker as you apologize at least twice for the blare of sirens around you. I dare you. “Haha, sounds like New York!” your friend will say, as you try to scream over the 40-second interlude of a siren passing through traffic. Add in a few construction sites, a drunken posse outside your window singing The Weeknd songs on a Wednesday at midnight, and you’ve got a soundtrack. Ah, the noises of New York — how romantic.

On That One Weird, Overtly Long Honk

By Joel Lee, Deputy Under The Arch Editor

Every morning between 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m., like clockwork, there is the loudest truck horn on Broadway that penetrates the entire surrounding area. I have class on Gallatin’s 7th floor during that block, and the extended obnoxious horn is jarring. Not a single one of us in my class can hear anything over it, so we’re stuck staring at one another for an awkward, prolonged amount of time. Every time it happens, I get an urge to ask that truck driver, “Who hurt you?” But I guess that’s just going to class in the city.


Staff Rave

On New York City’s Bittersweet Symphony

By Guru Ramanathan, Arts Editor

All sounds are good sounds. We live in the city that never sleeps and I can’t fully express how much I love that. You walk into any corner or crevice of New York and you’ll be met with the roar of traffic, the fluttering of rats, the rumble of the subway and the shouts and cheers of crazy New Yorkers running about with no regard for the world around them. The city is always moving and is always loud — you can never escape that intoxicating energy. And I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

 Email the WSN Staff at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Grace Halio
Grace Halio, Editor-at-Large
Grace Halio has spent the past three years working at WSN because her job has an actual title, unlike her concentration in Gallatin. She's studying how journalism and public art can be narratives for social and climate injustice, but has a soft spot in her heart for New York Fashion Week and all things Features Desk. A Long Island native, she could likely live off of bagels. Grace spent her spring 2016 semester studying in Florence, Italy. Unfortunately, she did not turn into Lizzie McGuire; fortunately, she ate a lot of cheese. She looks forward to returning to the motherland. In the meantime, however, you can find her fighting for the necessity of the oxford comma and making pasta for dinner six nights a week. Follow her on Twitter to see her creative 140 character complaints or on Instagram to take a peek at how she spends her free time.

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