Labor Day in NYC (empty city blues)

Labor Day in NYC (empty city blues)

mike skliar's picture
Artist Favorite



Liner Notes: 

So labor day weekend here in NYC, there are definitely less people around, as many go off on vacation.
I started thinking 'what if the city got truly empty' and this little tale seemed to write itself.

Thought that the best setting would be a lonesome harmonica and spoken-word vocal, all by yours truly, live into an iPhone, with some echo and compression added for ambiance.



Labor Day weekend in the Big Apple, walking empty avenues
No cars a-coming, don’t even bother looking, no need for the jaywalking blues
Down in the subway I’m alone on the train, the conductor’s not here anymore
Drive the train any place I want, why ‘stand clear of the closing doors’

‘If you see someone, say something’, is what I’d say, alone in canyons of concrete
Walk into a movie or a Broadway play, I can pretty much take any seat
Problem is the cast & crew are gone as well, I gotta act & sing it all, what fun
Easy for a one man show, maybe, but “Hamilton” not easily done

I got lox at Zabar’s smoked fish counter, didn’t have to wait till I was paged
Restaurants that were booked till next Christmas, no longer were ‘fully engaged’
I could roll a bowling ball on the Highline, not hit even one tourist from Japan
Get off the train in Coney Island, go to the beach and even see the sand

I was having the time of my life, when I heard the sound of distant thunder
If it rained should I sing and dance like Gene Kelly, I began to wonder
But when the rain started, it was a strange kind of rain that was not precipitation
It was millions and millions of New Yorkers, returning from vacation

Goodbye alone time, hello lines and crowds, it was nice while it lasted
Hello crowded subway platform & cars, and seat-hogging wide stance bastards
Just me and seven million busy making our way, doing it again every day
Hello autumn in New York, that crowded crazy urban ballet
Hello autumn in New York, I wouldn’t have it any other way

© M. Skliar 2018

Please keep your comments respectful, honest, and constructive. Please focus on the song and not the demo.


tcelliott's picture

You've got some cool phrases... jaywalking blues, concrete canyons, dance like Gene Kelly and seat-hogging wide stance bastards for a few. I'm not fond of the spoken word song in general, but there are a few exceptions that I appreciate. I enjoyed listening to your tale of a lonely NYC.

kahlo2013's picture

I like the concept of this and the spoken word is perfect. I did not realize that NYC would clear out for Labor Day -- but I can definitely imagine the return of millions. I like how you you take the idea and create such vivid images - the city and your love for it comes alive!

Adnama17's picture

Frickin' awesome!
That echo and comp you added gave it just the right amount of empty.
I love that whole second stanza so, so much!
The comparison of the returning vacationers as rain has a nice double meaning. Rain brings life, flow, and growth, but it is also dreary, cold, and sad.
Good write for sure! I would love another adventure in New York, crowded or otherwise!

katpiercemusic's picture

A little Arlo Guthrie, a little Shel Silverstein. This is freaking fantastic! I love the harmonica as almost like a train whistle.