CLOSE
iStock
iStock

Listen to the Sounds of New York's Diverse Neighborhoods Without Leaving Home

iStock
iStock

New York is filled with fairly distinct sights, smells, and sounds. You’ll have to visit to enjoy its fragrant bakeries, or the view from the Empire State Building’s observation deck, but as Condé Nast Traveler reports, a new website lets audiophiles explore New York with their ears, from anywhere in the world.

Breather—an office-space rental service that’s been described as “Uber for private workspaces”—has created “Sounds of New York,” an online catalog streaming ambient noise that captures the spirit of 25 diverse Manhattan neighborhoods. Each soundtrack is a blend of curated sounds, recorded at popular local attractions. “Visit” Times Square to hear skates gliding across the Rockefeller Center Ice Rink, Greenwich Village to hear snippets of Comedy Cellar shows, or Washington Heights to eavesdrop on Spanish conversations at local restaurants. (Sorry, Brooklynites, other boroughs aren’t included in the mix.)

Since Manhattan's cacophony isn't for everyone, Breather is considering creating similar sound catalogs for other cities, including San Francisco, Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles. But if you are a fan of the Big Apple, you can listen to “Sounds of New York” here.

[h/t Condé Nast Traveler]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
travel
You Need to Wear a Wet Suit to Use This Underwater Mailbox in Japan
iStock
iStock

Susami, Japan is one of the few places on earth that people travel to just to send a post card. But there’s a good reason the town’s postal service has been attracting tourists since 1999: That’s the year former postmaster Toshihiko Matsumoto came up with the idea of installing the world’s first underwater mailbox just offshore.

Great Big Story takes a deeper look at this unusual destination in a recent video. To use the mailbox, senders must purchase a waterproof postcard from the local dive shop and write with oil-based markers. Once their parcel is ready, they have to slip into their diving gear and make the trek to the post box 30 feet beneath the ocean surface. Every day the dive shop manager collects whatever cards have been left in the box and delivers them to the post office on land.

Matsumoto originally saw the mailbox as a way to bring tourists to his small town, and his plan paid off: Nearly 38,000 letters have been sent via the undersea system to date. (The postal service in Vanuatu expanded the concept and opened an undersea branch in 2003, complete with attendant.) To see the mailing process at work, check out the video below.

[h/t Great Big Story]

nextArticle.image_alt|e
iStock
arrow
travel
Pig Island: Sun, Sand, and Swine Await You in the Bahamas
iStock
iStock

When most people visit the Bahamas, they’re thinking about a vacation filled with sun, sand, and swimming—not swine. But you can get all four of those things if you visit Big Major Cay.

Big Major Cay, also now known as “Pig Island” for obvious reasons, is part of the Exuma Cays in the Bahamas. Exuma includes private islands owned by Johnny Depp, Tyler Perry, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw, and David Copperfield. Despite all of the local star power, the real attraction seems to be the family of feral pigs that has established Big Major Cay as their own. It’s hard to say how many are there—some reports say it’s a family of eight, while others say the numbers are up to 40. However big the band of roaming pigs is, none of them are shy: Their chief means of survival seems to be to swim right up to boats and beg for food, which the charmed tourists are happy to provide (although there are guidelines about the best way of feeding the pigs).

No one knows exactly how the pigs got there, but there are plenty of theories. Among them: 1) A nearby resort purposely released them more than a decade ago, hoping to attract tourists. 2) Sailors dropped them off on the island, intending to dine on pork once they were able to dock for a longer of period of time. For one reason or another, the sailors never returned. 3) They’re descendants of domesticated pigs from a nearby island. When residents complained about the original domesticated pigs, their owners solved the problem by dropping them off at Big Major Cay, which was uninhabited. 4) The pigs survived a shipwreck. The ship’s passengers did not.

The purposeful tourist trap theory is probably the least likely—VICE reports that the James Bond movie Thunderball was shot on a neighboring island in the 1960s, and the swimming swine were there then.

Though multiple articles reference how “adorable” the pigs are, don’t be fooled. One captain warns, “They’ll eat anything and everything—including fingers.”

Here they are in action in a video from National Geographic:

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios