Vintage NYC Sounds Compiler Shares Her Favorite Noise Complaint

This is just great. NPR caught up with the Princeton University professor who has been meticulously compiling sounds from late 1920s and early 1930s era New York City.


Emily Thompson told All Things Considered that one noise complaint from these bygone days stands out:

Thompson is specifically interested in the sounds that drove people crazy. Her favorite?

“A man named Mr. Schmuck called to complain about the noise of the Colonial Pickle Works Factory where he lived in Brooklyn and somehow that just seems quintessentially New York to me,” she says.

We hope, for the sake of good-manners posterity, that Schmuck’s efforts never got heated to the point where he said something like, “I got your dill pickle, right here.” Thompson’s project, titled “The Roaring Twenties,” includes a block-by-block “sound map” of that era’s NYC. It is, without a pickle doubt, the most fun bit of local history you will peruse today.

Listen to the full NPR report here.