Made in collaboration with the digital agency Mother New York, the album is resonating, with about 200,000 streams since it dropped on Friday on Spotify and SoundCloud via the library’s website.

“It was one of the things we could do to support New Yorkers, this shared narrative, if you will, that would bring us together while we’re all apart,” Welch said. Last Monday, Governor Andrew Cuomo made the album his “Deep Breath Moment” in his daily email.

The idea was born last month in a Zoom meeting between the library and Mother – also responsible for the library’s 2018 Insta Novels project, which translated classic literature into Instagram stories. They had been discussing ways to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the library this year but found themselves instead talking about what they missed about city life: the clop of carriage horses and the wail of a soloing jazz saxophonist; the streetside gossip overlaid with the blaring car stereo; the raucous, expectant buzz of a bar. Even “It’s Showtime!”

Kim Chavez, the producer of the album, used some archival audio and some from a sound library. Then she got creative, conjuring up snippets from memory and summoning others to do the same, and send in clips. About 100 people worked on the album, she said, producing it in just three weeks.

New York Times



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