Listen: Video Shows Income Inequality Along the 2 Train From Brooklyn to The Bronx Using Music


Brian Foo, a self-described ‘data-driven dj’ has created a video based on the 2 train which snakes its way between The Bronx, Manhattan, and Brooklyn and utilizing data from the census and other sources, he created a soundtrack to illustrate income inequality along the train’s route.

As the train begin its journey in Flatbush Brooklyn, the music is pretty quiet as it passes each station on its way to The Bronx — a reflection of the low median income of these neighborhoods.  But as the train approaches Park Slope and Downtown Brooklyn, the music gets progressively louder and more varied as the train passes through areas with higher median incomes.

The crescendo picks up once it reaches Manhattan, going through the Financial District, Tribeca, The West Village and then slowly starts to drop a little bit up until about 96th Street.  By the time it hits 116th Street, the music drops dramatically and then when it enters the Bronx and goes past 3rd Avenue and 149th Street, the music is a lot calmer and quieter, once again, reflecting the median incomes of these areas.

Listen to the journey of the 2 train below:

Two Trains – Sonification of Income Inequality on the NYC Subway from brian foo on Vimeo.

According to Brian Foo:

“The goal of this song is to emulate a ride on the New York City Subway‘s 2 Train through three boroughs: Brooklyn, Manhattan, and the Bronx. At any given time, the quantity and dynamics of the song’s instruments correspond to the median household income of that area. For example, as you pass through a wealthier area such as the Financial District, the instruments you hear in the song will increase in quantity, volume, and force. Stylistically, I want the song to exhibit the energy and orderly chaos of the NYC subway system itself.”

Foo also goes on to say:

Much of the inspiration for this project came from The New Yorker‘s interactive pieceInequality and New York’s Subway. The data for each of our resulting pieces came from the following places:

Check out more about this project over at Brian Foo’s webpage.


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Ed García Conde

Ed García Conde is a life-long Bronxite who spends his time documenting the people, places, and things that make the borough a special place in the hopes of dispelling the negative stereotypes associated with The Bronx. His writings are often cited by mainstream media and is often consulted for his expertise on the borough's rich history.