To all those who lived in New York City or the surrounding area in the 1930s, '40s, and '50s, here’s a sentimental journey back home.
When things get a little rough, and I’m looking for cheers
I think of New York City, in my earlier years
From the 1930s to the '50s, life was a ball
Exploring the five boroughs, between buildings so tall
The big family parties, the good food and the wine
Listening to my father and uncles, sing "That Old Gang of Mine"
They could drink all they want, who cares if you’re a souse
Nobody had to drive home, we all lived in the same house
Walking through the exhibits, in the Worlds fair of '39
With my parents and cousins, it was a paradise divine
It gave us a look at the future, which was hard to forget
And it was there that I saw, my first television set
The war came along, in late '41
We all toughened up, until the fighting was done
New York might be invaded, but my gang they will meet
"Don’t worry you'se guys, da'le never get pass dis street"
Saturday we'd walk to the movies, through the elements
To see a double feature and newsreel, for the price of ten cents
And watch Batman whip the bad guys, in episode number six
"Der cartoon wus OK, but dey wus two lousy flicks"
"Georgie, take your wagon to the ice house, and get a 15 cent chunk
Then run home fast as you can, before it gets shrunk
The ice box is getting warm, and the food will go bad
And if the beer isint cold, your Grandpa will get mad
Back in the eighth grade, this little dame gave me fits
The beautiful, the exotic, Lenora Lippshitts
Sitting by her, was almost like heaven
I can remember those days, in P.S. 37
The gang filled the street, to play "Kick the Can"
When it was your turn to be it, the faster you ran
"Hey I got da ball, Fat Head you bring da stick"
"Gee's I can't come out guys, my Mudder is sick"
Hanging out with the Kotzes, was anything but serene
The old man was a bus driver, and he fathered sixteen
We went trapping for muskrats, where the airport is today
A few bucks for the pelts, was not a bad pay
"Hey Dad! I made a cool fin, settin pins in der alley
Lets shoot down ta Flatbush, and watch dem Bums rally
De're playing der Giants, and da fans in Ebberts will pack
And if dem Dodgers don't win, I'll have anotter cardiac"
Many times we played handball, from morning till night
At the Firehouse or school yard, on any wall that's upright
When the hands were all swollen, and the legs were all sore
It was time for a soda, at the old Dutchmans store
We use to rent horses, and ride down to the Bay
If you just fell off once, you had a good day
Only chickens use saddles, bareback we would ride
Full gallop on a truck horse, was close to suicide
The neighborhood ballgames, in old Springfield Park
Lets choose up sides, and play 'til it's dark
"Hey Tony! Wuz dat yer brodder, I jist hoid call?
Fellas der ballgame's over, Tony took home der ball"
The post-war boom brought houses, and International Airport
The city was upon us, our territory got short
Grab your Red Ryder and slingshot, adjust that bowstring
And meet at the town dump, for one final fling
"Need a lookout on da trash heap, and its your toin Stinky
If ya see any cops, don't ferget ta yell chicky
Shoot der rats and der snakes, but don't hoit dat poor mutt
Den we'll all rondervue, in our secret tree hut"
The most popular guy on the block, was Charley by far
He was the only one, who bought his own car
A '40 De Soto, with bright shiny chrome
Not bad for twenty bucks, if it gets us back home
"I feel like some seafood, der ain't none here ta be found
Let's go dig fer clams, in Long Island Sound
And set up da crab traps, along da south shore
Take a look at dis guys, I caught a dozen Blue Claw
Riding the bus to Hillside, to the subway station
And board the E train to Manhattan, the best ride in the nation
"Hey Ma! I need some more money, ain't it a crime?
They raised da damn fare, from seven cents to a dime"
The elevator ride, that makes your ears pop
Up the Empire State Building, nonstop to the top
The nostalgic sensation, was a real thriller
To stand on the spot, where they shot that big gorilla
Shopping on Delancy, eating a Kosher pickle
Let's take the ferry to Staten, it's only a nickel
The water ain't rough, there won't be any motion
It was the poor guy's way, of cruising the ocean
"Gotta stop at the drugstore, I need a pack of butts
How about a cup of coffee, at the Chock Full of Nuts
And walk up ta Dempsey's, for a slab of cheese cake
See? Jack's in da winda, offerin a handshake"
"Why are all der flags at half mast, has some big shot expired?
Far worse den dat buddy, Joe Dimaggio retired"
The city rivalry in baseball, was torrid those days
We had the world’s greatest outfielders, Mickey Mantle and Snider, and say hey Willy Mays
Let's hitch a ride downtown, to Battery Park
And take a boat to the statue, before it gets dark
Climb the winding stairs, and through the crowd we will thread
To gaze at the city, through Miss Liberty's head
"Hey Ma! I'm gorn out wit dis goil, she's kinda cute
Should I wear da Drape Shape, or my poiple Zoot Suit?
We're gonna swing to da music, wit da Second Street Band
Den stop off at Ryan's, for dat great Dixie Land"
Of all the perfumes in this world, nothing can compare
To Coney Island food, and the Atlantic Sea air
Get in the front seat of the Tornado, to feel that big bump
The Wonder Wheel is next, then the Parachute Jump
Take your girl to Central Park, rent a rowboat for two
Then a quick ride on the train, to see the Bronx Zoo
Back down to Times Square, for one of those fabulous nights
Standing on Forty Second and Broadway, when they turn on the lights
I can go on with memories, the good and the bad
But instead of cheering up, I feel a little sad
The neighborhood has changed, the Giants and Dodgers moved west
We packed the kids in the Falcon, and left the old nest
Started out for California, but the car lost its will
Got as far as Indiana, and a job in a steel mill
Now my hair is quite gray, and my butt is quite fat
I no longer play handball, or swing a mean bat
So I ask you Lord, when you take my old gang and I
Up to that beautiful city, You built in the sky
If You could take one tiny corner, in that place called Heaven
And duplicate the New York,...I knew...in 1947
by George Konig
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