West Side Chopper

Recently, I was required to record some quiet sounds on a boat and when you try and do that on the westside of Manhattan you are going to be in for trouble. It is always a good idea to try and record in the late hours of the night in urban environments when you need quiet, but that is not always possible when you have to work around the schedules of others.

Sometimes you need to get a job done and other times you can take the opportunity to stop, listen and appreciate what is ruining your work day. In my case, it was a series of tourist helicopters that take regular tours around Manhattan that made my recording session useless, but instead of walking home pissed I decided to record a few choppers.  Sometimes it not so bad to have your day ruined. Sometimes . . . . . . . .

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5’s setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.



Barge Bells

I love finding surprises in my back yard (if you can call Brooklyn a backyard. I recently found myself wandering around Red Hook, Brooklyn, which is a chunk of land on the southwest side of Brooklyn that juts into the East River.  Over the last few decades Red Hook has changed from a rather tough industrial neighborhood to a bit of an artsy village.

Nestled away on a small dock with a great view of the Statue of Liberty is the Brooklyn Waterfront Museum.  The museum is actually a small shipping barge that used to move goods on the Hudson before bridges connected Manhattan to New Jersey and Brooklyn.  The barge that houses the museum was restored over a period of years and now houses all sorts of barge related history when the Hudson and East River were active shipping waterways. I got excited when I discovered the barge had many old nautical bells.  Bells that served as dinner bells, bells that alerted other boats in the area, and bells that were specifically used on tugboats.

This old dinner bell made quite a beautiful sound.  It was a rather windy day so unfortunately the ring out of the bell is overlapped by the barge rocking and creaking in the water.

Recording Geek Note: Rig consists of Schoeps CMC5’s setup for MS, with the MK4 as the mid. It was all tracked to a Sound Devices 744T at 24/96.

St. Marks Farmer’s Market

I love farmer’s markets for the ambiance. One of my favorite markets is the NYC farmer’s market every Tuesday outside of St. Mark’s Church.

When I used to live in the neighborhood, I often sat on the benches on warm days just to kill some time and listen to the activity of the market.  For me, one of the ultimate signs of winter in New York were the last few markets in December before it shut down for the season.

As you can hear, the promise of $1.50 cider and fresh cabbage could not get many New Yorkers out on such a cold day.

The recording and the photographs were made just weeks before the New Year and the close of the market.  This winter, NYC has been under what seems like constant cover of snow.  I don’t think I’ll be sitting on that bench again until the spring.

The beautiful photographs in the week’s post come from my brother Dave Raphael and I highly recommend you check out his blog.  I say this not because he’s my bro, but because I think he is super talented.

Recording Geek Note:  Rig consists of a pair of DPA 4060 mounted stealthily in a hat.  It was all tracked to a Sony PCM-M10, with Sound Devices MP2