Various Artists

NYC: Meat Packing District 2004

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There's the stodgy museum audio tour -- here's your quasi-futuristic headphone set; stay tuned for the stultifying commentary, please -- and then there's Soundwalk. Soundwalk updates the audio tour concept for a new wired culture, one bursting with curiosity and the expectation of being challenged. In a typical installment, a narrator with intimate knowledge of the neighborhood is the guide for a headphones-only journey through the breathing city and personal memory. New York City is the obvious and perfect landscape for Soundwalk, and numerous localized titles help build a patchwork of first-person urban experiences. In NYC: Brooklyn 2004, filmmaker Asa Mader walks us through the lofts and long shadows of D.U.M.B.O., or "Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass." "I was born and raised in Chinatown," Jamie Gong begins in NYC: Chinatown 2004. "These are my blocks, these are my listen to me carefully, and I will take care of you." Catherine McNelis weaves her way through the tradition and cultural diversity of the city's Lower East Side, and the cover of NYC: Meat Packing District 2004 carries the perfectly evocative summary "Butchers, Designers, Transvestites, Promoters." The NYC: Times Square 2004 Soundwalk is guided by exuberant New York tour guide and personality Timothy "Speed" Levitch.

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