Growing up, I didn’t have many memories of playing outside. Instead I remember longing for the rush and diversity of big cities. This moment was realized when I stood on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile as a young teenager surrounded by high-end shops, David Yurman and Hugo Boss, in a sea of people ranging from the obviously rich to a man in ratty clothing with cardboard held to his feet by rubber bands. I used the sounds of South State and East Washington Streets to emulate a city with high traffic. The triangle from Heathdale to the River and back up the School Girl’s Glen inspired me. I focused on snippets of speech and crisp, crunching autumn leaves. This tone differs from the latter section when the rush of cars and conversation is interrupted only by the bustle of a coffee shop.
My soundwalk is best listened to starting in the middle of Heathdale and ending at the peony gardens, the plateau at the Washington Heights exit. At first, the sounds of the forest surround the walker, but finally, near the edge of the Arboretum and the modern University of Michigan Mott’s Children’s Hospital, one can hear faint sounds of traffic.