You may remember that one of my songs for February Album Writing Month was “The Subway Sings Somewhere, which combined field recordings of the NYC subway with harmonica and guitar and various loops and electronic treatments to create a song based on the musical tones made by the newer subway trains. Most people identify those tones as the opening notes of “Somewhere,” from West Side Story.
The day I made the field recordings (on the way to Staten Island for my dad’s birthday), I also shot some video, and today I finally got around to editing them into a video to go with the song. It includes (starting at the two-minute mark) a complete view of “Masstransiscope,” an animated piece by artist and filmmaker Bill Brand that can be seen on the Manhattan-bound BMT tracks between Dekalb Avenue and the Manhattan Bridge.
The abandoned subway station shown at the end is the Cortlandt Street stop on the R/W, one of the World Trade Center stops abandoned after 9/11. I used to get off the train there every day to go to work.