S+P – Summer 2013 – Photo by Alyssa Lina

A few months ago, when Peter and I found out that we were moving to NY, my father decided to make us a NYC soundtrack of all of his favorite songs about the big apple. We all know that there’s no lack of music and songs based on the empire state,  just another accolade to the city that never sleeps, no place in the world like it. It’s not just the music that’s written about NY, it’s the plays, TV shows, movies, and art that are all centered around life in the big city, there’s no two ways around it, NYC is the greatest city in the world.

I’m trying to take advantage of these next couple of weeks and obsess over New York as a outsider, while I still can. New York has always been such a big part of who I am, and now I must say goodbye to that chapter of my life as a Non-New Yorker and step into the comfortable walking shoes of a NY resident/city dweller, which means I can’t listen to songs about NY anymore, and I have to sell my huge canvas print of Lower Manhattan…I’m not complaining!

Track 1:

My first visit to NYC with the parents in 1997. Yes, I’m wearing a pleather jacket, don’t judge!

  
My very favorite New York song has always been Sunday In New York by Bobby Darin, my dad got me hooked on this tune years ago and I always think of him when I hear it.

     “If you’ve got troubles,
Just take them out for a walk.
They’ll burst like bubbles
In the fun of a Sunday In New York!
You can spend time without spending a dime,
Watching people watch people pass!”

 The thing that I love about NY is that you  have absolutely no clue what you might see, who you might meet, an interaction you might have, or what crazy things could be happening right outside your door. Everyday that you’re there is a day that could change your life or influence you in a way you never knew possible. NY is like jazz in that way, it’s totally improvised and never the same, because it’s a city of people, and people are constantly changing and evolving.


 I love just staring out the window and trying to comprehend all of things that are going on at that exact moment, it’s just like being back in Tanzania looking up at the Serengeti ceiling trying to understand the universe, with all of its flickering lights and wondrous complexities. 


Track 2:


Then we have the classic tune Manhattan by Dinah Washington, how can you not love this song! 

 
“The great big city’s a wondrous toy
Just made for a girl and boy —
We’ll turn Manhattan
Into an isle of joy.”


  I’ll never forget my friends telling me, years ago, about how different I am when I step foot on Manhattan, like a light switch, I start walking faster and standing taller. I always laughed and thought it was cute, and so true! The energy in NY infects me.

  Track 3:

 

Top of The Standard, ladies night!! Summer 2011(Lily, Sam, Amy)
Just last week I fell in love with this tune: New York City Blues by Peggy Lee. If you only listen to one of these songs, let it be this one!!!


“They say it’s a great place to visit, but my heart tells me it’s a better place to live.”

“I love the people, yes the people, and how they make that big town swing. In the autumn, in the winter, in the summer, in the spring… yeah the people are everything.”
    
For most people, NY is an inspirational environment, even with millions of us crammed onto this tiny island, it never feels crowded (unless you’re in a stampede at the NY marathon or in Times Squares for NYE…) because it’s the millions of people of NY that make it what it is: the ultimate melting pot of people from all over the world (approximately 800 spoken languages!!), of ALL walks of life, doing entirely different things. It boggles the mind to think of the countless reasons why any individual would move to Manhattan, it’s beautiful and compelling. And most definitely fascinating. Entire careers have been built off of revealing these individuals out of the millions, if you haven’t already, check out Humans of NY. Along with several ‘street style’ photographers that also make a living off of the people of NY, just this past summer I was stopped and photographed by Mr. Newton, while perusing the Brooklyn flea.  

Track 4:

The Boathouse, Summer 2012, NY afternoon/night that went down in history as one of the best.


I’m not too embarrassed to admit that I’ve been driving around DC blasting this next tune, New York Afternoon by Rare Silk. I’ve been cranking it as loud as my speakers can handle, trying to get it in before I have to part ways with my car. This song sounds so 80’s and dated that it’s actually current, or at least in my world it is. Right around 1:45 min is when it really starts to get hot, your welcome in advance! Christmas came early this year, thank you dad, this is my new favorite song in the whole world. I love how happy and goofy it is, and then you’re like, “holy crap they’re KILLING IT on the vocals!” Simply amazing. I plan on making my own music video to this tune…

Track 5:

New York Stock Exchange, November 2013

What better way to end the soundtrack than with the most famous and stereo typical NY tribute, New York, New York by legendary swoon-er Frank Sinatra.

 “I want to be a part of it, New York, New York”

“These DC blues, are melting away. I’ll make a brand new start of it, in ol’ New York!”

New York is unique in that so many people come to this city on a dream, a dream often based on doing something creative and unique, something extraordinary, or simply to make a better life for themselves and their families.  

My grandfather, Sam Angelo, and my new family, The Ostrega’s (Anka, Zbig, and Koralia) are in this category. They are my inspiration in so many ways, after leaving everything they know and love for the dream of giving themselves and their children a brighter future. It takes a lot of courage to do this. From the moment I met Peter and his family I had a completely fresh take on the place where I was born and raised. I learned to never take this life, and the opportunities that come with it for granted. 

 My father in-law told me one of his favorite stories of their arrival to NYC from Poland:


“Peter and his mother flew into JFK airport and we stayed in NYC for a couple of days to see my sister and friends as well as to do some sightseeing. One of the first things we did, was to go to the NYSE. We went to the gallery of the stock exchange and I told Peter to watch how money is being made so that he would know how to do it :-) He must have retained the lesson well, given his age (4 yrs, 7 months). We’re very proud of the success he has had and that little story always makes me laugh, particularly since he is now in charge of business development for his firm’s Wall Street office.”
– Zbig 
Young P

 New York City is the heart and soul of the land of opportunity, dreams are made here and they do come true, like good old blue eyes said,”If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere.”  The bar is as high as it gets, because the most talented and hard working people in the world live in this city, you either keep up with that NY pace/work ethic or wither.


Bonus Wild Card Track:

(Robert, Sam, Evan) Lombardi Hotel, December 2012

You may need to mentally prepare yourself for this one, many years ago Evan Hart turned me on to this crazy German opera singer, Nina Hagen, who had her hay day on VHI in the 80’s, and is best known for her theatrical and outlandish vocals. In more recent times her music has focused on civil rights, anti-establishment, anti-war, and anti-nuclear power icons and movement, mixed in with punk gospel, needless to say she is very unique. Dad, you’re going to hate this, but at least get a good laugh out of it! Enjoy this disco/punk/opera song, New York New York by Nina Hagen.

“New York City is the hottest place for a honeymoon in a hotel room.”
 
“New York City is my favorite place cuz I know so many people with a gold face…AHaaa!”  
What’s your favorite New York tune?




 “I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”- F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby
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