59th Bridge Street Song

28 Jun

One of the most important links we had with the American music scene in the Fifties was the radio.

I would have been just thirteen years old when I first heard Simon & Garfunkle’s 59th Bridge Street Song on VOICE OF AMERICA’s Breakfast Show. At the time I did wonder why the song was named after a street.

When I was in New York between 7th and 14th June 2019, my son Ajoy asked me if I would like to go for a Broadway Show. I said no and asked if we could hang out at a cafe on 59th Bridge Street in Manhattan.

“There are no cafes on the 59th Street, Dad” Ajoy said… “its a cantilever truss bridge between Manhattan & Queens. But if that’s where you want to hang out, I have another idea. Lets get some bagels and go sit on the riverside and eat them.”

“‘Bagels’? I dont think we get them in India, although I am sure I had read about them and ‘Pretzels’…”

So what are bagels? These days the information is just a few clicks away… “a bagel is a round yeast roll with a hole in the middle. The shape is important — the name translates to “bracelet” in German. There’s no egg in the dough, and malt is used in place of sugar.” It is said to have been brought to America by Polish Jews, but has become part of New York’s food culture. We went to Bagelworks, the store that specialises in Bagels and Ajoy stood in a queue.



So, we made a father and son excursion out of it… sat watching Manhattan’s East River flow past, and the occasional speedboat or barge as it puttered by.

Slow down, you move too fast
You got to make the morning last
Just kicking down the cobblestones
Looking for fun and feeling groovy…

What does ‘feeling grooy’ mean?

“The more casual you were, the groovier you were. The groovier you were, the cooler you were. It’s what everyone aspired to [during the Sixties].”

The song was included in S&G’s album, Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme (1966). It was Paul Simon’s musical interpretation of the energy and movement on and around Queensboro Bridge. A call to take it easy in New York where everyone is busy and moving around purposefully on the roads.

I was glad to be on the Street, 60 years after the song was written, in the company of my son. He gave me a brief presentation on the history of the Bagel in New York as we had a relaxed breakfast.

One Response to “59th Bridge Street Song”

  1. Paul Chater June 29, 2019 at 7:30 am #

    Wow what a way to spend your day with your son and learning something new about the song , enjoy u r holiday and hope to hear more updates and photos

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