Bridge 4: Sound Walk

Location: Greenwich Villiage

 Idea 1: Mole People

Subway system.

  • “What had made Greenwich Village such an important seedbed for the growth and flowering of culture in New York City, the United States, and indeed the world?” Could it perhaps have been the fertilizing effects of the 20,000 or so human corpses that still lie beneath the park?
  • While estimates vary, it seems likely that over 20,000 people were buried in the land…. The bulk of the bodies were never disinterred, which means that they remain to this day under the grass and pavement of Washington Square.”
  • So, how did those bodies get there? In 1797, the quickly expanding New York City government purchased a portion of an old farm for $4,500 to create a potter’s field—a burial ground for the indigent, poor, criminals, and victims of the epidemic. The potter’s field operated for almost thirty years and occupied what is now the eastern two-thirds of Washington Square Park. It also happened to be adjacent to several established church cemeteries, adding to the area’s body count. In Around Washington Square, Harris commented that this area was a “natural choice for such bleak facilities because it was a rural northern suburb of the city and already the site of cemeteries owned by downtown churches.”
  • Hundreds of people who could not afford to be buried privately were laid to rest in the field. Soon, the city sheriff erected a public gallows, near the current loc


Idea 2: Gallow

Washington Square Park

  • It was not even always a park. It was not until 1827 when Philip Hone (a war hero from the War of 1812) became Mayor of New York[1] that Washington Square Park became such.
  • He pushed for the development of the park in order to mimic London’s high-end residential neighborhood West End.
  • Attempt to lure wealthy individuals to live in the area
  • Named after President George Washington in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of his presidency (and the American Revolution).
  • Previous to this turn of events, the large public space was designated as a common cemetery where victims of the Yellow Fever epidemic were buried in 1797.
  • Bones and human artifacts are regularly discovered each time renovations occur at Washington Square Park, and even on occasion when ConEd needs to break ground for repairs.
  • Eventually, the space was appropriated for public gallows.   This led the big English Elm tree near the northwest portion of the park to be dubbed “the hanging elm.”

Idea 3: Artist Group

  • A group of artists in 1917 staged an insurrection.
  • They wanted to make Greenwich village a sovereign state.
  • At night you can hear them reading their declaration of independence.
  • Having the recording be a night
  • Softly playing the Declaration in the background
  • Talk about the History of Greenwich Village



  • Audio Recorder- Sony PCM-M10 Kit
  • Microphone- Handheld Pro Microphone Kit



  • Washington Square Park (near fountain and trees)



  • Cloe
  • Ella



  • Free narrator


  • Yellow Fever
  • Hangings
  • Burial Ground


  • Rich People Moving in
  • Harlem Renaissance
  • Greenwich Village wanting to become a sovereign state.


  • Con Ed finding Bones
  • Things that happen at the park around it.

Possible sounds

  • People talking (background chatter)
  • Dogs barking
  • Nature noise (I.E Birds)
  • Eerie Noises
  • Trees in Wind
  • Running in the snow
  • Rustles of leaves in the wind
  • Footsteps dry eaves
  • Horror ghost sound
  • Ghost piano
  • Guillotine sound
  • Creepy ghost scream this one is fire we gotta use it
  • Carriages
  • Gallow pole
  • Scared breathing
  • “Henry James writing”

Walking through the park and hearing a bunch of haunting voices

Screeching from subway sampled to sound like piercing screams

Sound presented through individual character passing through



Check out Recorder and Mic (Dec. 1st)

Return (Dec. 4th)

Start Recording (Dec. 2nd)

Write script (Nov. 28th)

Record Script (Dec. 2nd or 3rd)

Edit (Weekend)




Context: Young girl finds great (x a lot) grandmother’s journal and decides to read it.




It’s that wonderful time of year again, I thought to myself as I unwillingly rolled out of bed. Dreading what the day had in store I slowly walked to the bathroom to prepare for the horror that awaits me downstairs…MY MOTHER!!


-Door closing followed by Walking downstairs sound


Blasting Christmas music my mother greets me more cheerfully than a person should this early in the morning. Handing me a to-do list she pinched my cheeks telling me to cheer up, but how could I, it should literally be illegal to wake anyone up before 11 am.


Written in bold, highlighted, and starred Gosh I swear she can be so extra sometimes; is my least favorite Christmas chore of them all…GETTING THE DECORATIONS FROM THE ATTIC



Scarlett: why am I the only one who has to go to the attic for decorations every year.

It’s so creepy up here


Rummages through stuff

Trips on box


Journal falls out


Scarlett: ow

Picks up stuff


Mom whose old journal is this (delete this line)


Mom you are not going to believe what I found…(says excitedly as she runs past her mom grabbing her coat as she rushes out the door holding the journal tightly in her grasp)


Sounds: fast walking/ running, fabric sound for her grabbing the coat, and door slamming

Footsteps downstairs


Walks back downstairs


Betty May voiced by Ella


Scene opens with the sound of a book opening and rustling leaves and trees


Betty May: Walking through Washington Square Park, I soon came to the realization that the body count has extended way beyond our expectations


Ambience sounds: A cough, Cough, Cough, Faint moaning, Groaning, and Crying


Betty May: Yellow Fever has plagued us, over 20,000 lives have been taken, what have we done to deserve this? We have no more space to bury the deceased, the smell of death envelopes the square. What type of punishment is this?


Betty May: A wave of thick moaning whips through the wind and past my ear (wind sound, shovel sound, body flopping, and grunting)


Ambience sounds: Loud horse nay and carriage mixed with car horns and NYC banter and her footsteps


Scarlett voiced by Cloe


Scarlett: As her birthday approaches her influence on my work has never been more apparent.


Scarlett: I sit here in the same park just as my great (x a lot) grandmother once did


Ambience sounds: Park sounds and drilling, beeping, construction noises


Construction worker 1: (In the background) Stop! Wait what’s that?


Construction sounds stop


Construction worker 2: (In the background) What are you talking about?


Scarlett: (Running footsteps, Scarlett approaching) Whats going on?!


Construction worker 1: Get back little lady the area is not safe, it’s a hard hat zone


Scarlett: Is that what it looks like? Are those bones? (man grunting Scarlett pushes construction worker and trips on the bones)


Construction worker 1: I said get back!


Scarlett: (Whispers to self) So the stories are true


All sounds fade out


Sound: Book closing


Academic resources:

  • “After the Revolutionary War, the city fathers of New York acquired some of this property for use as a potter’s field, a public burial place where poor and indigent people, mostly victims of yellow fever, were laid to rest. Epidemics continued to ravage New York’s population and after twenty years of use, the potter’s field was filled. Meanwhile, city development was fast approaching the site. Pragmatic members of New York’s Common Council determined that the former cemetery would be a good location for a much-needed drilling ground for the city’s volunteer militia companies.  On July 4, 1826 – the fiftieth anniversary of the Declaration of Independence – the former potter’s field was officially declared the Washington Parade Ground. Leveled and landscaped, the new parade ground conferred a privileged status to the area and helped elevate the value of the surrounding real estate.”


500 Word Research Writing

Project Narrative

A morass. A cemetery. A parade ground. A venue for avant-garde musicians and artists. A playground for canines and children. Washington Square Park has served various roles in its community throughout history. When we look at the bustling of the park today, it is really hard for anyone to imagine that it used to be a marshy valley with a creek running through. The earliest thrive of the park started in the 1860s when Henry James1  took over the park and decided to turn it into a little Garden of Eden to carry his nostalgia of childhood memories.2 Henry’s contribution towards Washington Square Park set an early tone for the Park and its surrounding neighborhood. He helped constructed rows of Greek Revival style housing which attracted a handful of middle to upper-class people to move in.

    However, before the preeminent neighborhood was established, the Park was once covered with the veil of death. New York City was once seriously affected by infamous yellow fever. In 1793, the yellow fever epidemic first hit Philadelphia, causing the death of over 5000 people. The pandemic spread quickly and hit the neighboring New York City. In the summer of 1795, the cases of yellow fever began to emerge in Manhattan. The epidemic lasted until 1803 and cost thousands of lives over the course of its presence in NYC.3 Since this pestilence was highly contagious, the government decided to isolate healthy people from the diseased. Common Council of New York purchased a land far away from the uptown area where the celebrity and upper class people lived. In the land the government purchased, where the sick people who were cruelly abandoned, mother carrying their dying baby, crying for God’s help and so forth. It was the living hell. And that land is now known as the Washington Square Park.

   It is very hard for people to connect the serenity of the park today with its very dark past. Through digging into the history, we decided to reveal the past of the Park. We found a way to connect the Washington Square Park’s past and present. We used the bone being found during modern construction and a diary from the past as clues throughout our sound walk. If you follow us on this sound walk, you would find the urban legend revealing its truth.


  1. Henry James, American author, a key traditional figure between literary realism and modernism.   
  2. Harris, Luther S. Around Washington Square: An Illustrated History of Greenwich Village. JHU Press, 2003. Page 1.
  3. Washington Square Park Council. Archived from the original on December 13, 2014. Retrieved Dec. 5th, 2017.

Final Poster

Final Soundwalk Audio

Overall Analysis 

Initially,  when we were given the assignment my group was truly excited about it, especially once we began researching the different stories that once inhabited the neighborhoods we all frequent today. In particular, we were strongly drawn to the eerie past of Greenwich Village. Compiling facts regarding the three most prevalent occurrences surrounding the gallows of Washington Square Park, the use of Washington Square Park as a burial ground for the overflow following the yellow fever epidemic, and mole people. Thinking we could use all three to convey a true telling of the village’s history we began thinking of ways we could create a compelling narrative that included so many intricate components. After many attempts, we soon came to the realization that combining so many parts would make for a piece that would seem unfocused. We ultimately chose to create a narrative surrounding Washington Square Park being used as a burial ground. Once we finalized our topic we wanted to create an outline to help us stay on track and finish things in a timely manner. We decided that even though we were supposed to convey a historic occurrence to some extent, we wanted to create a narrative that was seemingly light-hearted, however, not dismissing the dark undertones as being the core of the overall narrative. For this reason, we decided to connect the joy of Christmas to the sad harsh truth of the past along with the complex differences between the way a person acts depending on the time period. Throughout the entire process, we were able to get along very well, however, our overall recording did not convey everything we intended it to. We realized that we could have pushed the overall narrative further by adding more content also, we could have taken more time to edit the recording so that it would sound more natural. Initially, we had the work divided among ourselves which helped us get started, however as time progressed tasks began overlapping and we began working on whatever needed to be done not what we had been assigned originally. Overall, I believe our group got along very well and had great communication skills so there wasn’t much lack in this department.I do think that if we were to all do this over again we would pay closer attention to details so that listeners would gather all the information we had initially intended them to. This was a great project something I would have never done on my own, so I truly enjoyed it.


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