James Murphy Partners With Heineken for His New York City Subway Symphony Project
Back in 2011 -- right around the time his longtime band LCD Soundsytem broke up -- James Murphy revealed he wanted to update New York City subway turnstiles to play music whenever someone swipes their MetroCard. He later dubbed his project the Subway Symphony, and though he’s still struggling to gain support from the MTA, Murphy has now received backing from Heineken.
“Subway Symphony is a little idea I had to change the sound the subway turnstiles into different pieces of music depending on what station you’re entering,” Murphy explains in a new promo video detailing his partnership with the Dutch brewing company, which you can watch above. “Rush hour, instead of being a nightmare, would possibly become the most beautiful time to be in the subway.”
According to previous interviews, Murphy says each station’s trunstiles would play a select chord and, together, all of the stations would create larger piece of music. Murphy and Heineken are teaming up as part of the beer company’s Project to Make Cities Better and hope to install the first set of music-playing turnstiles by the end of this summer.
However, Murphy has yet to receive support from the MTA. A representative expressly denied any go-ahead for Subway Symphony, saying the city couldn’t take turnstiles out of commission for a “very cool art project” (via Gothamist):
We have heard from him, and as we’ve told him many times, we cannot do it. The tones are an ADA element for the visually impaired, and we won’t mess with them -- much less take turnstiles out of service and risk disabling them for an art project. (It would be a very cool project, don’t get me wrong, but we can’t mess with turnstiles that handle 6 million customers a day for it.)
In fact, the MTA spokesperson added that they asked Murphy to acknowledge the fact that they won’t be able to move forward with his project before granting him permission to film the above promo clip.
While the future for Subway Symphony may not look bright, Murphy is set to open a wine bar in Brooklyn later this summer.