NYC Beats

Rushali Paratey

A web art experiment for New York’s iconic subway musicians and their underground audiences, explores how to connect these artists in real time to engage their spectators via crowdsourced location information populated on a 3-dimensional map.


New York City – has an amalgam of influences from all over the world which reflects in the city’s ever vibrant street music culture. A custom so strong that it extends into the transportation system – the century old subway of the city. Subway music is unpredictable, chaotic, rebellious and these tunes reverberating underground have an ecosystem that has flourished over the years. Protected by the 1st amendment yet outlawed based on decibel levels – whether it is a music student rehearsing or U2 in disguise, the subways have become a unifying stage for all. Observing this chaos led to NYC beats, an art experiment to gauge the patterns between commuters, musicians, music and locations. It is a WebGL map of NYC made with Mapbox and Three.js where one can navigate to find artists currently playing in the subways. Commuters can ‘spot’ musicians and musicians can ‘tag’ themselves on the map. MTA allocated locations are always “active” zones based on the Music under New York program's schedule.