Recently, Heineken announced that they would be helping James Murphy in his ongoing effort to replace the current subway turnstile noise with whatever sound James Murphy finds more pleasant. His project is called Subway Symphony, and for years the MTA has said it's not gonna happen. When Heineken rolled out their campaign for Murphy's effort earlier this month, we once again checked with the MTA, and spokesperson Adam Lisberg told us:
"We have heard from him, and as we've told him many times, we cannot do it. The tones are an ADA element for the visually impaired, and we won't mess with them—much less take turnstiles out of service and risk disabling them for an art project. (It would be a very cool project, don't get me wrong, but we can't mess with turnstiles that handle 6 million customers a day for it.) As a condition of filming in the subway, we made them acknowledge that we can't and won't do it."
Still, many outlets are reporting like this thing could still happen, and Murphy and Heineken say they'll be rolling out test turnstiles this summer. Today, the NY Times reported:
"Mr. Murphy, as part of a Heineken-backed initiative, has unveiled the Subway Symphony, which would recast the beeps of the subway turnstiles into different pieces of music, depending on the station. Though the M.T.A. is currently facing a $14 billion budget deficit and increased delays, he apparently still hopes the agency will hear him out. Mr. Murphy and his team say they have already developed some test turnstiles and hope to install a few this summer."
Let's emphasize Lisberg's comment again here: "As we've told him many times, we cannot do it. As a condition of filming in the subway [video below], we made them acknowledge that we can't and won't do it."
Look, we want to have enjoyable sounds enveloping us in the subway system too, and we want to float on clouds to work and have rents go down and rooftop pools for everyone! None of that will even happen, however, even with Big Beer on your side. But just in case, we did check in to see if anything has changed since we received that comment from the MTA on June 11th (which, again, says: "As we've told him many times, we cannot do it... We made them acknowledge that we can't and won't do it")... and this morning Lisberg assured us there was "nothing new."
It is still not happening. It is never happening. James Murphy will not be installing his sonically beautiful turnstiles in a station near you anytime soon. A sidewalk, an art gallery, an empty storefront, his wine bar, maybe at more Heineken-fueled parties like the one earlier this week... but not a subway station.
You can learn more about the project at SubwaySymphony.com, which you must be 21 years old to enter, because this is all just a beer commercial now.