high line
David Berkowitz

I am not terribly interested in iPhones, really, unless someone calls or emails me on it wishing to employ me or just give me money. But this app called The Gaits might make me change my mind. If you use it while walking New York’s High Line park, it turns your stroll into an individualized piece of music. (I don’t know what happens if you use it while walking somewhere else. Probably Ragnarok.)

The app uses the phone’s accelerometer to make and modulate a variety of sounds, from water splashes to car horns to guitar chords, so that as people move faster or slower, it changes the sounds and the rate at which they’re emitted. Where you stand matters, too; as you approach a bird feeder, for instance, you may hear artificial birdsong.

If you go alone, it’s a private performance. If you go as a group with speakers — like in the event that the app’s creators hosted last week — it becomes more of a symphony. (Someone actually told me about this and I was like, “Whatever,” but I blame them because all they said was “some music thing on the High Line with iPhones,” which theoretically sounds horrible. More fool I.)

The High Line can already be pretty meditative — the foliage, the sunbathers, the feeling of being above it all, the naked people in the hotel windows. From the looks of it, The Gaits makes this urban oasis even better.