If you live in the Gramercy neighborhood of Manhattan, forget about sleeping in or dining in peace. According to the New York Post, St. George’s Episcopal Church in Gramercy Park now uses a powerful loudspeaker system to fill the area with the sound of church bells pealing “Jesus Loves Me” and “Amazing Grace.”
This is done four times a day, every day. The church blasts the recording at 9:00 a.m., 10:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m., and 6:00 p.m.
No actual bells are rung, but that doesn’t dampen the relish of people not known for their discernment of what’s real and what isn’t. St. George’s music director, Kamel Boutros, likens the initiative to “an intangible hug.” The reverend Jacob Andrew Smith adds magnanimously that
… “Church bells are historically rung to call people to prayer, in times of celebration, and in times of sadness… We wanted to specifically play some comforting songs that reminded us [of hope] during sadness.”
I have a question. What if I lived in Gramercy and I affixed eight P.A. speakers to my roof so that I can, um, hug thousands of people with music I find rousing and comforting? Maybe the famous earworm from Life of Brian at 9:00 a.m.; a choice track from The Book of Mormon at 10:00; John Lennon‘s “Imagine” at 3:00; and “Dear God” by XTC at 6:00?
Day in, day out, of course.
Would that be alright? Or would the locals — religious or not — overwhelmingly find that annoying, aggressive, presumptuous, selfish, and illegal?
(Image via Shutterstock)