I have a sickening love for New York. Nothing it can do makes me angry.

In a matter of minutes, you can switch neighborhoods and it’s as if you’ve entered a new world. Every area carries their own constantly evolving identity.

But there is one thing that you can’t escape when wrapped in the warm embrace of the city, the noise. People talking, cars honking, sirens blaring, children crying, workers jack hammering. The city symphony is a cacophony of sounds to delight or disturb our sense of hearing.

I often find myself meditating to sirens – gazing, dozing off to the white noise. A siren here, car screeches there, a street troubadour in the near distance…

The noise hugs you in New York. It lets you know you’re not alone, it’s comfortable, it’s safe. In a park the car horns and sirens fall back, and new sounds slip in: children running, leaves ruffling, water splashing, dogs barking.

The streets have the traffic commotion but added to that, there’s people. Listen closely. Headphones out and you’ll hear all the languages of this urban mecca. The melting pot of people from locals to foreigners to tourists is a gorgeous concerto for the ear.

But not all noise is pleasant. A wailing firetruck will always hurt the eardrum and a pesky street salesperson will always have you looking for the next best excuse as to why you don’t need to buy their moisturizer. And therein lies the beauty. Noise and your relationship with it is circumstantial.

The noise bothers and the noise delights. The noise is life, the makeup of a city – what people are talking about, what music is playing, how much or how little you hear.

The sounds are what make community.

All images provided by Nicole Stankus


  • Nicole Stankus

    Designer | Writer | Urbanist

    Nicole's desire to expand and improve on the way people interact with one another and the city in which they live led her to study architecture during university. Seeing the world passionately and always seeking moments of urban ecstasy, Nicole aims to create better spaces for people across all realms of design.