Photo credit: Onur Yumlu

by Daniel Fink, MD, Chair, The Quiet Coalition

Cities and Memory is looking for participants in its new project, Obsolete Sounds, reimagining and remixing the obsolete and disappearing sounds of the world.

I’m participating! I sent in information about two sounds from my boyhood in Newark, New Jersey: the sounds of the fruit peddler and his horse-drawn wagon on our quiet one-block street, and the sound of coal clattering down the chute from the coal truck to the basement coal bin for the few houses in the neighborhood that still had coal-fired furnaces in the basement.

I had never thought about obsolete or vanishing sounds but now that I have, I also remember the ringing of the old rotary dial phones, actually from a striker hitting a small bell inside the phone, the call “Extra, Extra” from newspaper vendors standing in the middle of busy streets with an extra edition of the long-gone Newark Evening News reporting some breaking news event, and the sirens of police and fire vehicles which were different from those we hear today.

Do you remember any obsolete or disappearing sounds? You, too, can participate in this fascinating project by clicking on the link.