Home / Music & Arts / Bruce at the Garden: The Boss' best nods to the Big Apple!

Bruce at the Garden: The Boss' best nods to the Big Apple!


Bruce Springsteen will rock the Garden on Sunday and Wednesday night along with guitarists Steve Van Zandt (r.) and Nils Lofgren (l.) and the rest of the E Street Band.

There is no artist as synonymous with New Jersey as Bruce Springsteen, but the Boss  is also one of New York City’s greatest champions.

Springsteen was scheduled to play a show Sunday at Madison Square Garden, but it was postponed indefinitely due to the blizzard. He’s still slated to play The Garden on Wednesday.

He’s been opening shows on his River Tour 2016 with “Meet Me in the City,” an outtake from his 1980 album “The River” — so before he plays his first note in the city let’s take a look at some of Springsteen’s most notable Big Apple references:

“Darlington County” (1984): In this up-tempo track off “Born in the USA,” Springsteen sings about a Fourth of July road trip with a friend named Wayne. Like any good New Yorker, he brags about where he’s from, what he’s got and what he’s gonna do with it, singing: “Me and my buddy we’re from New York City/We got $ 200/We wanna rock all night.”

dnp;Murray, Ken

It’ll be warm inside the Garden, but with a major snowstorm expected to hit the city this weekend, there may be a “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” in Manhattan. 

Later, Springsteen refers to the Twin Towers in a line that takes on a much different meaning now, bragging that he and his pal’s dads “each own one of the World Trade Centers.”

“New York City Serenade” (1973): Off of Springsteen’s second album, “The Wild, The Innocent and the E Street Shuffle,” this operatic number centers on a man and woman making questionable life decisions. “Together they’re gonna boogaloo down Broadway, and come back home with the loot/It’s midnight in Manhattan/this is no time to get cute.”

“Does this Bus Stop at 82nd Street?” (1973): Springsteen said he wrote this song, one of the wordiest on his wordy debut album “Greetings from Asbury Park,” while riding a bus into the city from New Jersey. And, of course, it references one of New York’s great institutions: “The Daily News asks her for the dope/she said, man, the dope’s that there’s still hope.”


Bruce Springsteen – seen here with late sax player Clarence Clemons filming a video at Manhattan music club Tramps in 1995 – has a long history in New York City, and many of his songs have direct or indirect references to the Big Apple. 

“Jungleland” (1975): No, this is not a song about a hockey team playing its home games uptown, but there will certainly be some fans at the Garden who think it is when Bruce sings the opening line of the final song on his “Born to Run” album: “Well the Rangers had a homecoming, in Harlem late last night…”

“American Skin (41 Shots)” (1999): There is no direct mention of the city, but it was inspired by the 1999 shooting of unarmed immigrant Amadou Diallo. When Springsteen prepared to play it at the Garden and Shea Stadium, some members of the NYPD threatened a boycott, but the song is sympathetic to the difficulties of policing the city. “If an officer stops you, promise me you’ll always be polite/And that you’ll never ever run away/Promise mama you’ll keep your hands in sight.”

“Sherry Darling” (1980): In this up-tempo number about the singer’s meddling mother-in-law, he never refers directly to New York, but when Springsteen sings, “She can take a subway back to the ghetto tonight,” or “I’m stuck in traffic down here on 53rd Street,” we know where he’s at.

As Bruce Springsteen and drummer Max Weinberg know, it's hard to be a saint in the city.AP

As Bruce Springsteen and drummer Max Weinberg know, it’s hard to be a saint in the city.

“The Rising” (2002): The majority of the songs on this LP were written right after the 9/11 attacks. The title track is about a firefighter climbing the stairs of one of the towers before transitioning over to a “dream of life” in which he looks down to see his wife in their garden: “May I feel your arms around me/May I feel your blood mixed with mine…”

“Kitty’s Back” (1973): Like some of his other early hits, the lyrics on this one make it hard to believe Bruce never dabbled in dope, as legend has it. But close your eyes and stroll through the Village as Bruce sings: “Cat somehow lost his baby down on Bleecker Street.”

“It’s Hard to be a Saint in the City” (1973): Another not-so-subtle nod to the Big Apple that features no direct reference in its lyrics. But as anyone who’s lived or worked here for any amount of time knows, yes, it certainly is hard to stay on the straight and narrow here. Once covered by David Bowie, this is one Bruce could break out as tribute to the recently departed music icon who also called NYC home.

“Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” (1975): The title is likely inspired by the intersection in Belmar, N.J., near where Springsteen’s legendary E Street Band would rehearse in the early days — 10th Ave. and E Street. Though Springsteen says he has no idea what the song is about, part of it tells the story of his relationship with longtime E Street saxophonist Clarence (Big Man) Clemons (who died in 2011). Bruce sings in the third verse, “When the change was made uptown and the Big Man joined the band…”

Too bad the Boss isn’t playing the Garden on Sunday anymore. It would have been fun seeing him sing that one just steps away from a very snow-covered 10th Ave. in Manhattan. 

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Music & Arts – NY Daily News


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