By Gordon Hughes
For the past 22 years I have lived a wonderful life in the relaxed pace of the West Village. If you are a reader of WestView News you may have stumbled upon my “Travels With Charlie” style column.
I love reporting on the unique aspects of our Village. I do travel north of 14th Street to the Theatre District where I work, but for the most part south of 14th is my briar patch. Oh, there is the odd trip to Brooklyn now and again. For all practical purposes the Village is my preferred lifestyle; the lifestyle I really love. During Covid I was sequestered at my farm for more than a year. Well, I came into the city last week and stayed in mid-town as a visitor rather than staying in my co-op on Bleecker. I thought I should prepare for my visit by first getting a visa, second by getting immunizations, and also a street map, etc., as I ventured north into foreign territory. I was assaulted by the remarkable differences in our island’s decibel levels. In my co-op I sleep with my windows wide open. I hear a lone dog every now and then and sleep like a baby. Yes the sounds of the north are very different. Let me start with the sirens; police sirens, ambulances sirens, fire truck sirens and others that I cannot define but are constant.
In addition to the sirens the north has a cacophony of car horns. Have you ever considered the variety of automotive horns? Well there are bass tones from truck horns, flute-like smart car horns, bike horns, the bleating horns of NYC’s official cars. Then there are the Con Ed horns and east river boat horns: tugboat horns, barge horns, cruise-boat horns and I can’t forget the warning bells of vehicles backing up.
That brings me to construction. Yikes, buildings being torn down, buildings going up and yes the church bells. There seems to be a church on every corner. By noon I was close to losing my mind because as you know, each of those bells ring 12 times. Oh yes, jack hammers seem to be everywhere. Then there is the yelling. The only good thing about that is the variety of languages. Well I kind of feel about midtown and the north of Manhattan the way John Snow felt about going north of the wall in Game of Thrones. So it is back to the West Village for me where the loudest thing I hear at night is the click of my door security lock as I go to bed.