Sounds of The Big Apple Saturday on The American Sound

The Brooklyn Bridge - one of New York City's icons - leads gracefully across the East River to Manhattan.(Photo: ugod (Flickr))
The Brooklyn Bridge - one of New York City's icons - leads gracefully across the East River to Manhattan.(Photo: ugod (Flickr))

The Empire City. The Big Apple. Gotham.

Whatever you call New York City, there’s no place like it. It’s a big steel-and-concrete jungle teeming with ambition and shattered dreams. It’s a walk through Central Park and some of the world’s finest art museums and concert halls. It’s an urban shoe box jam packed with neighborhoods and wrapped in a rich tapestry of diverse cultures, languages, foods and traditions. And despite all the romance about it, make no mistake — it’s tough as nails.

I learned this instantly on my first trip to New York. I was very young, Midwestern and naïve. I arrived by train and, overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle at the train station, felt relieved when a man offered to find me a cab. I got into the taxi and gave him $10 – then a different man got into the driver’s seat.

At my destination I got out of the cab and started pulling my suitcase toward the townhouse where I’d be staying. The cab driver protested that I hadn’t paid. One of New York’s finest happened to be nearby and came to our aid. I explained that I had already paid at the train station.

“How much did you give him?” the officer asked.
“$10,” I said.
(Pause)
“Where are you from?” he asked.
“Ohio,” I said.
(Pause)
“Well,” he said, “you got taken.”

I wasn’t in Kansas anymore.

But as humbling as New York can be, the city does also feed the soul. There’s nothing like seeing Lincoln Center all dolled up at night or walking through Central Park on a slightly chilly autumn Saturday morning. And there’s nothing like the city’s rich traditions in classical music and jazz.

This Saturday at 6 pm on The American Sound we’ll hear plenty of music inspired by everything that makes New York great. We’ll hear an overture written for New York City and jazz-influenced music by two quintessentially New York composers Leonard Bernstein and George Gershwin. We’ll also hear from a European composer who once called New York home, and we’ll listen to music inspired by the Gotham of comic book fame.

Bite into The Big Apple on The American Sound Saturday at 6 pm on Classical 101!

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