Mp3 Experiment 5 – New York Details

Here are the full details for our next mission, The Mp3 Experiment Five. Please take the time to read all of the instructions on this page. This is event is taking place in New York City. Details on the Toronto event are here. Chicago details are here. San Francisco details are here.

Please note: This is a participatory event. If anyone wants to cover this event for the press, you may only do so by participating, not observing. No press cameras allowed. We also encourage participants to leave their cameras at home and have fun participating. We will be thoroughly documenting the event as usual and will post tons of photos.

Date: Saturday, September 27 (rain or shine)
Location: Governor’s Island (detailed info below)
Time: The event will begin at exactly 3:15 PM. Arrive early and remember to budget time for weekend subway service delays and lines to get on the ferry. The event will be over at 4:06.
Wear: A Red, Blue, Yellow, or Green t-shirt.
Bring: An umbrella and an uninflated balloon.

Full instructions below:

1. Download the Mp3: Download Page (Right click on “New York” and save the link. If you just click on the link it will start playing in your browser. Spoilers!)

Note: The filename for the track is “mp3experiment_nyc.mp3” and the album, artist, and track name will be “Mp3 Experiment 5.”

2. Load the track onto your mp3 player (iPod, etc) or burn to a CD for use with a “Discman.”

3. Do not listen to the track.

4. On Saturday, wear a t-shirt that is one of the following colors: Red, Blue, Yellow, or Green. (Long sleeves / sweaters are OK too.)

5. Bring an umbrella and an uninflated balloon. (Any kind of umbrella. Any kind of balloon that can be blown up. They are available at most 99 cent stores in NYC.)

6. Bring a watch with a second hand (or use your cell phone if it displays seconds.) Before you leave, sync it up to this atomic clock:

New York

(If your browser doesn’t show the clock above, you can use this link to get the correct time; note that the hour is off, but the minute and seconds are correct.)

7. As 3:15 approaches, take a seat anywhere on the island. You can sit on the ground, a bench, wherever. Spread out and don’t sit too close to others who look like they might be a part of it.

8. At exactly 3:15 PM, press play.

Directions to Governor’s Island: Detailed directions to Governor’s Island as well as the ferry schedule are located here. The island is located in the New York Harbor, just south of Lower Manhattan. The ferry ride is free and takes 7 minutes. The ferry leaves every half hour starting at 11 AM. We strongly encourage participants to arrive early. We expect a large crowd and you should take an early ferry if you want to guarantee your participation. The last possible ferry to take is 3 PM, but if you arrive that late you run the risk of the ferry being full. The island is absolutely beautiful, so arrive a couple of hours early and take a leisurely tour before the experiment. There is food and drink available for purchase, and there are public restrooms.

Frequently Asked Questions

Say what now?

If you’ve never heard of The Mp3 Experiment, check out our coverage of the past four years:


How will we know when to start?

You will have synchronized your watch or cell phone clock to the atomic clock above. Start right at 3:15:00 PM.

Do I have to have an iPod?

No. The event is designed for folks who own an iPod or similar portable mp3 player, but those of you with portable CD players can participate as well. Simply download the track and burn it to a CD. Don’t have a burner? Ask a friend to burn it for you.

I can’t find the track on my iPod. Where is it?

The artist and album are both listed as “Mp3 Experiment 5”.

Should I listen to the track beforehand?


Can I listen to the track beforehand?

You really shouldn’t. Sure, there’s nothing we can do to stop you, but to really get the full experience of the event, you shouldn’t listen to it. It will spoil most of the fun. We know it’s hard to resist. Be strong.

What if I get to the event late?

Plan to be early! Take a ferry a few hours ahead of the event and enjoy the island.

What if I don’t press play at exactly the right time?

That’s OK. We’re counting on everyone’s tracks being slightly off. Different mp3 players have different response speeds. It will be fun to see participants who are clearly ahead or behind. If you are significantly off, feel free to glance at a neighbor’s iPod and try to sync back up to the correct time.

What if I accidentally hit a button on my player during the experiment that stops the track?

We recommend turning on the “hold” button on your player after pressing play to prevent this from happening.

What if my player crashes or the batteries die during the experiment?

In the unfortunate event that this happens to you, we recommend you pretend like nothing is wrong and just go with the flow. There’s really no way to fix it, so why not have as much fun as you can anyway?

Can I take photos or video?

Please refrain from taking photos during the experiment. We will have plenty of photographers covering the event, and you’ll have more fun if you’re not taking photos. We take care of the documentation; you take care of the fun!

I’m coming with some friends. Should we all wear the same color t-shirt?

No. It won’t matter. You won’t be separated from them either way.

Can my shirt have writing on it?

Sold colored t-shirts are best, but it doesn’t really matter if there is writing or designs so long as it’s clear what color it is.

Do I have to RSVP?

Nope, but we did create a Facebook Event if you want to RSVP there. Bring as many friends as you like– this event is open to the public.

What if it rains?

Unfortunately we do not have a rain date. It will happen rain or shine at 3:15. You’ll have an umbrella with you anyway.

How old do you have to be?

The Mp3 Experiment is appropriate for people of all ages. If you are under 18, you should have your parent’s permission to participate. Governor’s Island’s rules state that anyone under 14 must be accompanied by a parent.

Can I bring my dog?

No. The following are not permitted on Governors Island: pets, alcohol, controlled substances, weapons or explosives.

Can I bring my bike?

Limited leisure bicycling is permitted only on designated paths and in designated areas of the Island. There are bikes for rent on the island.

Why is Yahoo! involved this year?

Our partnership with Yahoo! is making it possible for us to tour The Mp3 Experiment to three other cities. Yahoo! did not influence the content of the mp3. They are making it possible for us to do exactly what we want to do in four cities. We’re thrilled about it.

I have another question that hasn’t been answered!

You can ask it by leaving a comment on this entry.


  1. i wish i could go charlie, but im going to NYAF, only on saturday. i wish i could take out those hours to get from the javits center down to the island, but since im only going one day, for 45 bucks, i really dont think i shouldnt. :(
    unless my mom doesnt let me go to NYAF for a bizarre reason, ill definitely go here, and meet up with the nj group ^_^

  2. When I right click the link for NYC and do ‘Save Link As’, it offers me mp3nyc.htm but that’s all.

    Am I missing something D:

  3. I think the download site is slammed right now– probably from a couple of hundred people trying to download an 80 megabyte file at the same time. We’re working on it. Download it tomorrow if you can’t get it now.

  4. Sorry I’ll be outta town on tour w TheWhoFarm.

    So I think I’ll cheat n listen to the mp3.

    But I promise not to spoil for anyone attending.

  5. The forecast for that day calls for rain!
    I love rain!
    It keeps the lightweights away.

    I’ve got the MP3 downloaded, I’ll be wearing my galoshes, and I’ll be on the ferry an hour ahead of schedule with my own portable MP3 player, appropriately colored t-shirt, uninflated balloon, and umbrella.

    Anyone who plans on being there with anything less, might as well stay at home.

  6. The instructions only say MP3 player, not Mp3 player with headphones, boombox mp3 player, etc. Should I bring headphones only or something more public?

  7. I am so ridiculously excited. Half the reason I went to college so close to home was that I could finally participate in all the IE stuff.

    also, IT MIGHT RAIN?? =D that would be too much awesome in one day.

  8. Hey,
    I can’t right-click with my Mac, and so it just starts playing in my browser. How do I get it to save to iTunes on a Mac?

  9. The MP3 download is not working properly. It downloads for me, as a file of the web page the link, a .htm file. Anybody know how to fix it?

  10. I got last minute tickets to the Mets game that day so I’m going to have to miss out. The previous MP3 experiments were a blast, you’ll all have a great time.

    Also, you’ll want to double check with that clock, but I found previously that Verizon Wireless phones are all perfectly synced to the atomic clock, so if you check it, you can use your phone as a time keeper.

  11. I think it’s annoying that your web site says the press can’t take photos. It’s a PUBLIC park and the press can take photos and you can’t violate the freedom of the press. I encourage all journalists who want to bring cameras to do so, although I don’t think this event is particularly newsworthy.

  12. Sorry guys, my wife hated me after the last outing in the rain on the bridge. Definitely not going to attempt this one.

    Ever think about creating a “rain date”? Just a suggestion. It may end up nice on Saturday, who knows.

  13. @Ernie,

    At The Mp3 Experiment 2.0 in 2005, press photographers showed up with huge cameras and took photos right in the middle of the action, showing no respect for what was happening. They got in the way and made it less fun for those around them. Since then, I ask press photographers not to come. Yes, it’s a free country and if a press photographer wants to take the ferry and come shoot photos we certainly can’t stop them, but I want to at least try to discourage them from doing so. Our photographers are always happy to license photos to the media after the fact.

    You wouldn’t get up on stage at a play and take photos. You wouldn’t take photos on the basketball court of a Knick’s game, nor would you take photos from the middle of the court in a pick-up game in a public place. For some reason at these types of events, press photographers in the past have jumped in the middle of it all and detracted from the experience.

  14. @Daniel,

    We’re hoping for the best in terms of weather. Sadly there was no way to book a rain date– we are an official event on the island, and the 27th is the date Governor’s Island has given us. Also due to the tour, we’re going to be in Toronto the next day and SF and Chicago the next weekend.

    We have done rain dates in the past– we had to move to a rain date in 2005. Hope for the best!

  15. hmmm, it says to wear a colored shirt but there’s no mention of pants. should i leave those at home or is that another IE event? Sorry, I couldn’t resist. :)

  16. @DanielH – Another thing to consider, many weather-related websites now offer hour-by-hour forecasts. Many media outlets will say “rain” if there’s a chance of it happening ANYTIME during the day, just to err on the side of caution. But maybe all the rain will be later or earlier. (I tend not to trust forecasts more than 3 days out, so I haven’t even bothered to look yet.) I believe the Weather Channel at has hour-by-hour forecasts. If you prefer a different site, then check that too; they may have a similar feature.

  17. I have a mac, so I can’t right click… it shows up as a quicktime file for me…within the browser and I can’t get it to download into iTunes…. tech support anyone?

  18. I am in mississippi, and therefore will be unable to participate and will just listen in…is there a difference in the MP3 for different cities? (so I can get all the experiences)

    Also, for MAC users: there actually is a right-click, it’s just off by default…go to your system preferences, then the mouse settings. It’s in there.

  19. @Mark K – I think wearing jeans (or maybe slightly waterproof pants?) would be appropriate. Though, if I see people going no-pants on this one, I’m going to laugh a little (with them) and then high-five them. :P

  20. I’m trying to download the MP3 from the site, but it just takes me to the yahoo site and says
    Sorry, the page you requested was not found.
    I’m on a Mac. Does that make a difference?

  21. Sorry, I did it wrong. Not sure if anyone else had this problem, but if it won’t go to your IPOD, you actually have to right-click, Download Linked File As, and download it directly to your IPOD.

  22. I had a friend put the file onto a CD for me, because I’ve been having trouble downloading it from any of the links you’ve provided. I put the CD onto my mp3 player and it’s 2 minutes and 17 seconds, which isn’t right. So now I have a different friend trying to download it onto her computer and e-mail it to me. When she downloads it, it doesn’t go to where she saves it to. Help, anyone?

  23. @ jenny
    lol yeah that’s true I actually dont mind getting wet but my friend doesn’t want to be soaked or anything.. Plus we having to take the LIRR back if it’s a light rain we’ll def. go =)

  24. Dont forget a ziplock bag for your ipod or mp3 player to keep it dry! It works for me to a limit, meaning not in the pool.

  25. How long is this supposed to take? Also… is this for everyone or will people with disabilities and difficulty moving have trouble with this?

  26. I don’t have a timepiece with a seconds hand, but I’m pretty sure both my phone and iPod are automatically synched with the correct time. Good enough?

  27. Bottom Line: It’ll be less rainy than the Brooklyn Bridge Experiment! (or at least that’s what I’m telling myself)

    see ya soon!

  28. Blue shirt seeks red shirt: I’m a blue shirt looking for the red shirt who smiled at me across the subway station after the experiment. If you know this girl, tell her I’d be interested in doing other random and silly things together. (And give her this:

  29. Today was grand, however, I can NOT for the life of me get the song “Rainbow Connection” out of my skull.

  30. I have to give props to Agent Sokoler for getting a picture of my brother and I hugging at the end (its the first time I’ve seen him in what seems like eons) thank you soooo much for that picture!!!

  31. I uploaded the MP3 Experiment Four also, but didn’t realize it until I was already on the ferry over and my boyfriend (whose iPod I uploaded that morning from the same site) was doing something completely different. He tried sharing his with me but that didn’t work when we had to start attacking each other. Still, I had a good time. Even though I didn’t know what I was supposed to be listening to.

    # Liza
    September 22, 2008 at 3:26 pm

    “The artist and album are both listed as “Mp3 Experiment Four”.”

    Charlie, shouldn’t it be five?
    # 2 Charlie Todd
    September 22, 2008 at 3:32 pm


    Nice catch. Corrected!

  32. Is it possible to coordinate the event to take place in other cities as well [specifically, Seattle?] The cacaphony society here (and it’s supporters) are extremely motivated and “guerilla” events like this in the past have had huge turnouts and stallar success! For several years, it has been my wish to be involved w/these, but since i’ve moved from NYC to Seattle full-time, it’s a bit of a commute! :(
    Since it looks like this event, however, has branched out to several cities, how can we be included??