Frank Sinatra returns to A Song and a Story with his take on this standard of civic boosterism:
New York, New York
Officially this song is entitled “Theme from New York, New York,” but no one really calls it that, and I’ve got another song and a story for the letter T. If you asked me as a kid, I’d would’ve told you that “Theme from New York, New York” was an ancient song, written shortly after Francis Scott Key composed “The Star Spangled Banner,” and possibly of greater significance to my parents’ and grandparents’ generation. It was only later in life that I learned that song originated in Liza Minelli’s 1977 movie, and the ubiquitous Frank Sinatra version was released in April 1980, when I was already six years old!
I’ve never lived in New York, but my parents grew up there, my sister was born there, and I lived within 30 miles of the City until I went to college. I’ve visited New York City at least once every year of my life and it’s an important place for me. My childhood coincided with a time in the 70s and 80s that was not a good period for New York with an increase of violent crime, homelessness, and deteriorating buildings and infrastructure. And yet at every public event, sporting event, or party I went to in New York as a child, I heard this cheerful song extolling the virtues of New York. I think people gravitated toward the song whose lyrics gave them hope in bad times.
Among my childhood memories was going to the great parties my parents’ friends who lived in the City would throw to celebrate their children’s’ baptisms, first communions, and confirmations. At one of these parties around 1982, the hosts set up a jukebox behind their house in the Rockaways. You didn’t need to put in a coin, just pick a song and wait for it to play. I was part of a group of boys who repeatedly selected the theme from “Chariots of Fire” by Vangelis and ran in slow-motion down the driveway, until one of the dads put the kibosh on that. But no one objected to selecting “New York, New York” on the jukebox, and it played with greater frequency as the party went on. By the end of the night, I remember standing on top of a milk crate conducting a chorus of drunken adults as they crooned along with Frank Sinatra to “New York, New York.”
Today people associate Sinatra’s “New York, New York” with being the Yankees’ victory song, but dammit, it means so much more to me!
2019 Blogging A to Z Challenge – A Song and a Story
A: Always on My Mind
B: Baby Come Back and Baker Street
C: Cheek to Cheek
D: Don’t Worry, Be Happy and Doctor Jones
E: Everyday Sunshine
F: Fly Me to the Moon
G: Ghost Town
H: Hobo Humpin’ Slobo Babe
I: If I Were John Carpenter
J: Jungle Strut and Justified & Ancient
M: Marble Halls and My Moon, My Man
If you want to read more, check out my previous Blogging A to Z Challenges:
- 2016: A journey through my neighborhood of Jamaica Plain in Boston.
- 2017: A spontaneous photograph each day.
- 2018: Watched and reviewed documentary movies.
And dig deep into Panorama of the Mountains, by checking out my:
- Book Reviews
- Movie Reviews
- Beer Reviews
- Music Reviews and Writing
- City Stories, expository writing about my experiences in various cities
And, if you like Doctor Who, I have a whole ‘nother blog where I review Doctor Who stories across media: Epic Mandates.