#FromTheCatalog: Battery Park

this wk, some of my #songsfornyc



9.11 did 2 things to my songwriting self: it made me pick up an electric guitar again (after a 10 year break) and got me serious about recording and releasing my songs (beyond homemade cassettes for friends). The Windfall record was written mostly in the year after 9.11 and released in ’04. One caveat. The masters went into the ether in early ’04, before I could lay bass tracks, clean up the vocals or apply proper mastering to any of the songs (long stupid story). Even tho the piano picks up some of the low frequencies and I don’t fall off-key too many times, I would still <3 to recut a few of these tracks. From a songwriting standpoint, tho, Windfall remains my watershed. After that, I was all in. Again. As it was, the title track got me invited to a 'Williamsburg Idol' competition in '05, which made me think I was doing something right. (A kazoo player took the Idol crown that night, btw). 'Battery Park' was written in '99, shelved and then uncorked and reworked after 9.11, when it took on a new resonance and it became essential (to me) to record. The acoustic uses a Nick Drake tuning (DADGDF#) and echoes 'Which Will' for a couple bars in the intro. The Viceroy on 14th Street is a reference to Charles Lum’s original ClubLum. Charly gave me my first rent-paying gig in film (location scout on the Pelican Brief) and I spent a few lost nights at his ClubLum, a Studio54 for the mind that continues to this day. This track in some ways was a thank-you card to Charly for the good times. But after 9.11, what started out as an elegy to my 20s (I turned 29 in ’99) became also my love song to this city’s resilience. Through the years, it’s gotten a fair amount of play/stream/download in the UK and California(:^D) via CDBaby, iTunes and Spotify and I am moved^2 that people continue to find something meaningful for them in this. That’s the songwriter’s ecstacy, right there.

she was tired of being alone
on that rooftop in battery park
so she walked and walked and walked and walked
and walked and walked and walked and walked
until church & state went dark

she had a meltdown on a Chelsea corner
and she held a sit-down at a sidewalk café
and she ate and ate and ate and ate
and ate and ate and ate and ate
no one dared take her plate away

it’s been a few years since she needed to come back
it’s been a few years since she wore anything but black
now it’s too clear she’s gonna survive intact
but it’ll be a few years before she comes back again

“if you believe in fate, you’ll never have any fun”
she told her viceroy down on 14th street
she laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs and laughs
and laughs and laughs and laughs
she’s an adult in every single way

it’s been a few years since she needed to come back
and it’s been a few years since she wore anything but black
now it’s too clear she’s gonna survive intact
but it’ll be a few years before she comes back again

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