Leave Your iPod at Home Tomorrow

The first annual MAKE MUSIC NEW YORK is coming to New York tomorrow, Thursday, June 21.

For one day, public space throughout the five boroughs — sidewalks, parks, community gardens, and more — will become impromptu musical stages, dance floors, and social meeting points for 550 different musical acts.

Time Out New York provides a nice online program guide showing who will be playing where, when.

Make Music New York is based on France’s Fete de la Musique, which has been a great success for 25 years. Since it was inaugurated, the festival has become an international phenomenon, celebrated on the same day in 340 cities in 108 countries, including Germany, Italy, Egypt, Syria, Morocco, Australia, Vietnam, Congo, Cameroon, Togo, Columbia, Chile, Mongolia, and Japan — everywhere, it seems, except New York.

Make Music New York was instigated and is being organized by classical music composer Aaron Friedman. In 2002 Friedman founded an environmental advocacy group called Silent Majority to combat noise pollution in New York. Funded by Transportation Alternatives, I worked with Friedman to co-author a report called Alarmingly Useless: The Case for Banning Car Alarms in New York City.

Friedman’s advocacy and T.A.’s political muscle prompted new legislation in the City Council to regulate car alarms, and lobbying efforts led to the bill’s passage in 2004. When Aaron and I are both in the same room at the same time, some people (OK, pretty much just Paul Steely White at Transportation Alternatives) still refer to him as "Car Alarm" and me as "Honker."

So, it looks like "Car Alarm" decided that if he couldn’t beat the urban noisemakers, he’d join ’em. Sounds like a good idea.

  • JK

    This is a wonderful thing. It’s bringing the best aspects of living in New York City to the fore. It’s like Ciclovia in Bogota, but with a “Musicavia” twist. It shares the same fundamental idea of bringing all types of people together in public spaces, big and small, to revel in the common enjoyment of a facet of life. In this case it’s music. In Bogota, walking and cycling. Hat’s off to Aaron Friedman. Great job and congratulations Aaron.

    (Now, about those car alarms, maybe when you have a second…)


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