24/365 – ‘New York City Serenade’, Bruce Springsteen (1973) – 365 Days of Music

Walk tall / or, baby, don’t walk at all

I’ve loved this song since the first time I listened to ‘The Wild, The Innocent, and the E Street Shuffle’.  The album as a whole took longer to grow on me than most other Bruce albums.  But when I finally got it, I really got it.  This is the final song on the album.  It’s nearly 10 minutes long, but I wish it was longer.  It starts off with a sweeping piano intro by Bruce’s pianist at the time, David Sancious.  You could be listening to Rachmaninoff.  The song is New York City.  Everything about the music reminds me of that great city.  NYC is one of my favourite places on the planet.  I’ve visited twice now and I hope in the next few years I will get back there for a longer stay (I’ve never been there longer than 6 days).

A great memory for me comes from my last visit to Manhattan.  It was a 5 day trip I took with two of my best friends and we were staying on the Upper West Side.  On the Sunday, we had done our usual 50 block walk to Midtown and ended up in an Irish bar on East 48th St, right near the Rockefeller Center.  It’s probably my favourite part of Manhattan.  The bar staff were very friendly, the food impeccable, and the bar manager gave us free Bailey’s when we left.  As we walked back up 5th Avenue towards Central Park, I put this song on my iPod.  It was an incredible 10 minutes.  Just me, Manhattan, my friends, and Bruce.  The night was cold but clear, and all the lights of Manhattan twinkled.  It was the closest thing to real magic I’ve ever experienced.  Moments like that can’t be bought or reenacted; they just ‘are’.  That was in November 2011 and it’s now April 2013, but that memory is as fresh as ever.  I’ll never forget it.