1 WTC (Freedom Tower) as æolian harp

Winds from approaching Hurricane Sandy turned 1 WTC (previously known as the Freedom Tower) into an æolian harp. (via Doubtful News)


    1. Yes, “Freedom Tower” just brings back all of the fake fear-based “patriotism” we were subjected to for a decade. Not to mention that “1 World Trade Center” is much more evocative of the event that brought it about, and deserves to be remembered respectfully.

    1. No, it’s horrible, it sounds creepily like a jet engine running at low revs in a test stand – I used to live near an engine service depot.

      1. I’m voting lovely too.

        And I was visiting NYC during the storm, it wasn’t doom for everyone by a long shot. My favorite story:

        I was walking to a friend’s apartment just as the storm was about to hit. Stopped in a bar to get out of the wind for a second and the mayor was on TV telling everyone to GET INSIDE! DOOM! So i walked the last couple of blocks, and sure enough the wind kicked up a big notch and all hell was breaking loose. We opened the window to look outside and all the trees were going berzerk, we had to shout to be heard, and it looked like if I had still been outside I’d have been in trouble. Just then a guy comes into view walking his lap dog while smoking a frickin cigarette, right in the worst part of the wind.  His little dog lifts his leg to pee, no big whoop.

        Oh well.

        Not to discount the damage the storm inflicted in some places, but it was far from doom everywhere.

        And parenthetically, an additional +1 for not calling it “Freedom Tower”. And well said Joshua Ochs.

    2.  I couldn’t really tell, anyone have a higher-quality version?

      I wasn’t actually sure if the guy was being serious

  1. Don’t æolian harp’s have strings? I think this sound may be closer to the Wind Harp just north of San Francisco Airport, which gets its similarly whale-songish sounds from the vibration of the whole lattice-shaped structure.

    1.  Aeolian harps don’t need strings, just some roughly cylindrical shape that will create a regular unsteady wake (called a “von Karman vortex street”), and  usually will vibrate at the same frequency. That said, I highly doubt that the building is actually causing a wake vibrating in the audible spectrum, as the oscillation period of a vortex street is usually in the order of magnitude of the time it takes the wind to get past the object. In order to get in the order of 100 Hz (audible, rather low tone) and a building diameter of about 50m (base edge length is 61m, at the top 43m) the wind would have to blow at 5.000 m/s, that’s about 21 times the speed of sound…

      also, I don’t think the building can vibrate at audible frequencies…

      I’d much rather think that some antenna or part of a scaffolding in the vicinity was making that noise. Or maybe just some cavity in the building (which would make this a Helmholtz-Resonator)? It’s most definitely not an aeolian harp, though, and it’s most certainly not by design.

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