Musician (LCD Soundsystem) and legendary New York Hipster, James Murphy has this little idea called the Subway Symphony… a plan to change the sound of the subway turnstiles into different pieces of music depending on what station riders are entering.

For almost 20 years, Murphy has been trying to get the city of New York to install music-making turnstiles or incorporate some kind of musical experience into the ride, and it looks like things are beginning to creatively come together.

With the support of Heineken, Murphy created a number of test turnstiles and has been lobbying different politicians, organizations and researchers with the hopes of installing the devices this Summer.

New York City is in the process of renovating and replacing the existing turnstiles in many of its more than 400 stations. With that in mind, Murphy saw this as the perfect time to create a more pleasant experience for the cities riders.

“I believe that music makes people happy, and it can make them reflective,” he says in a video for the project (below), adding,

The turnstile has to make a sound. It might as well be beautiful.

If the city buys in, the musical turnstiles would blend to play a melody unique to each stop along the subway. Travelers would start to associate every stop with a special little jingle that helps them mentally map where they are.

You can follow long with the project at their website, SubwaySymphony.com or check out all the conversations happening online at #SubwaySymphony

Take a look at the first video in the series, with more to come as the program develops.

What do you think of this idea? Love it? Hate it? Think you have a better idea? Leave a comment below and share what you’re thinking about the Subway Symphony. 

—Jack DeManche

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