People collect all kinds of things like baseball cards, dolls or butterflies. But what about collecting something invisible - like sounds. For the past 47 years Conrad Milster has been creating an acoustic scrapbook of all sounds relating to steam powered vessels of the New York Harbor and Hudson River. Listen to the StoryScape Hudson Valley Radio Program "Collecting thumps, whistles and whooshes." 5 minutes
Sounds from Conrad's Acoustic Scrapbook
Machine sounds are like music to Conrad Milster. He spent hours collecting the sonic details of anything steam powered and today has over 100 reel to reel tapes of historic sounds.
The Last Salute On September 3, 1963 Conrad recorded the Hudson River Day Line Alexander Hamilton and the Newburgh Beacon Ferry as they pass each other and exchange salutes. This was the last trip of the season for the Alexander Hamilton and the Newburgh Beacon ferries would soon cease to run.
The Aqua October 1965 The Aqua was fitted with water tanks to carry fresh water to ships in the New York harbor. Conrad recorded the sound of her pumps delivering water.
The Peter Stuyvesant 1961 It is 9:15 in the morning and Conrad is aboard the Hudson River Day Line Peter Stuyvesant for a charter trip recording her engine. The Peter Stuyvesant was laid up in1962 and ended up as a floating restaurant in Boston. After being badly damaged in a 1978 storm, she was scrapped.
The Pratt New Year's Eve Whistle Blow began in the mid 1960's. Conrad is the Chief Engineer at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn and every year he delights visitors by welcoming the New Year with the sounds of old steam whistles, including the Orange Whistle, the Victor Whistle, the Liberty Ship and the Alexander Hamilton Whistle.