Researching Yiddish penny songs (tenement song broadsides of theater and variety show songs, 1895-1925)
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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Di saydvoks fun Nyu York (Yiddish parody of The Sidewalks of New York by Isaac Reingold)

 

The original song is faux-Irish-nostalgia. The Reingold version, relishing the disconnect between the cheerful tune and Reingold's own dark musings, marvels that New York City is so well lit at night and that all sorts of people are out and about doing - whatever. Then he gives some examples: prostitutes, a philandering husband and his grieving wife.

 

This is the penultimate Lider magazin song. My dear friend Randy Kloko drove up from Florida to sing the very last song for me and it's such a downer I asked him to do this (relatively) cheerful one as well. Thanks Randy! Here is our living room recording (with his overdub on the chorus). I apologize for my extremely poor lip syncing, I hadn't had a chance to actually sing the song yet but we had to get it done while he was here!

 

There were four verses, I left out the one where Reingold writes: Dort geyn tsvey perzonen un ver es kukt zey on / Der ken laykht in zey derkenen zeyer profesyon (there go two people and when you look at them you can easily realize their profession). 

 If you're new to the blog, look up Isaac Reingold in the search box. He was very prolific and had an interesting and sad life.

 Translation and transliteration after the jump. Write me if you want the music/lyrics/translation.  

 

Zogar bay nakht gefint ir ofn biznes gor a sakh.
Es lebt in yedn vinkl, es shaynt men veys keyn zorg.
Es lebn uf zogar ven tunkl di saydvoks fun Nyu York.

Ist Sayd Vest Sayd, ales lebt un lakht...
Porelekh fil shpatsirn um kemat di gantse nakht.
Mener, damen tsuzamen, dokh yeder hot zayn zorg.
Nor dem sod fartroyen zey, di saydvoks fun Nyu York.

Dort loyft arum a vaybl. Zi loyft, zi shrayt zi redt.
Ongeton a lyetne laybl, ersht aroys fun bet.
Zi zukht arum ir altn, ir ponim shaynt fun zorg.
Nor im hobn lang bahaltn di saydvoks fun Nyu York.

Ist Sayd Vest Sayd zi zukht im umetum.
Dokh in a hinter gesl dort shpatsirt er fray arum.
Georemt mit a meydl! Er treyst ir: hob keyn zorg...
Un dem sod fartroyen zey, di saydvoks fun Nyu York.

Dort geyen tsvey shpatsirn, mit Boyeri vayt avek.
Zeyer putsn, zeyer tsirn hot a groysn tsvek...
Sheyne fayne damen, keyn simn nit fun zorg,
Shpatsirn durkh bayzamen di saydvoks fun Nyu York.

Ist Sayd Vest Sayd ales lebt un lakht.
Di lempelekh zey shaynen hel kemat di gantse nakht.
Di damen shaynen freylekh, dokh tif in zeyer zorg,
Un dem sod fartroyen zey, di saydvoks fun Nyu York.


Chicago is sleepy, New York is always awake.
Even at night you find lots of business going on
It's lively in every corner, it seems one has no worries
They're alive even in the dark, the sidewalks of New York

East Side, West Side, everything is lively, laughing,
Many couples are strolling, practically all night
Men and women together, they all have their own worries
But the secrets are hidden by the sidewalks of New York.

There, a young wife is running around, shouting, talking,
Dressed only in a summery nightgown, just getting up out of bed
She's looking for her old man, her face shines with worry
But he's long been hidden by the sidewalks of New York

East Side, West Side, she seeks him everywhere
Of course, he's walking along in a back street, free,
Arm in arm with a girl! He consoles her: don't worry
And the secret is hidden by the sidewalks of New York

Two are walking there, far from the Bowery,
Their fine clothes and makeup have an important purpose
Lovely, fine women, no sigh of worry,
Walking together along the sidewalks of New York

East Side, West Side, everything is lively and laughing
The lamps shine brightly almost all night
The women look happy, but they are deep in their worries,
And the secret is hidden by the sidewalks of New York

For sheet music and/or performances contact me: jane@mappamundi.com

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