Give me the streets of Manhattan

This poem perfectly captures the longing for nature while being captivated by the streets and sights of city life, and wanting all & neither of both.

Give Me the Splendid Silent Sun*
by Walt Whitman, 1865
 

Give me the splendid silent sun, with all his beams full-dazzling;
Give me juicy autumnal fruit, ripe and red from the orchard;
Give me a field where the unmow’d grass grows;
Give me an arbor, give me the trellis’d grape;
Give me fresh corn and wheat—give me serene-moving animals, teaching content;
Give me nights perfectly quiet, as on high plateaus west of the Mississippi, and I looking up at the stars;
Give me odorous at sunrise a garden of beautiful flowers, where I can walk undisturb’d;
Give me for marriage a sweet-breath’d woman, of whom I should never tire;
Give me a perfect child—give me, away, aside from the noise of the world, a rural, domestic life;
Give me to warble spontaneous songs, reliev’d, recluse by myself, for my own ears only;
Give me solitude—give me Nature—give me again, O Nature, your primal sanities!
—These, demanding to have them, (tired with ceaseless excitement, and rack’d by the war-strife;)
These to procure, incessantly asking, rising in cries from my heart,
While yet incessantly asking, still I adhere to my city;
Day upon day, and year upon year, O city, walking your streets,
Where you hold me enchain’d a certain time, refusing to give me up;
Yet giving to make me glutted, enrich’d of soul—you give me forever faces;
(O I see what I sought to escape, confronting, reversing my cries;
I see my own soul trampling down what it ask’d for.)

Keep your splendid, silent sun;
Keep your woods, O Nature, and the quiet places by the woods;
Keep your fields of clover and timothy, and your corn-fields and orchards;
Keep the blossoming buckwheat fields, where the Ninth-month bees hum;
Give me faces and streets! give me these phantoms incessant and endless along the trottoirs!
Give me interminable eyes! give me women! give me comrades and lovers by the thousand!
Let me see new ones every day! let me hold new ones by the hand every day!
Give me such shows! give me the streets of Manhattan!
Give me Broadway, with the soldiers marching—give me the sound of the trumpets and drums! (The soldiers in companies or regiments—some, starting away, flush’d and reckless;
Some, their time up, returning, with thinn’d ranks—young, yet very old, worn, marching, noticing nothing;)
—Give me the shores and the wharves heavy-fringed with the black ships!
O such for me! O an intense life! O full to repletion, and varied!
The life of the theatre, bar-room, huge hotel, for me!
The saloon of the steamer! the crowded excursion for me! the torch-light procession!
The dense brigade, bound for the war, with high piled military wagons following;
People, endless, streaming, with strong voices, passions, pageants;
Manhattan streets, with their powerful throbs, with the beating drums, as now;
The endless and noisy chorus, the rustle and clank of muskets, (even the sight of the wounded;)
Manhattan crowds, with their turbulent musical chorus—with varied chorus, and light of the sparkling eyes;
Manhattan faces and eyes forever for me.

by The Greenwich Village of the 60's

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I took a stroll down Bleeker street to reminisce on this decade in music's history.  The neighborhood of the first singer/songwriters. The home of the birth of mainstream fold music. They were to first and the few - how strange to think of now that the genre seems so saturated.  Before the 60's, in the industry there were singers and there were song writers.  Never both. Now the kids were doing both, on their own, with strong political and social themes driving their lyrics.  And people couldn't get enough.  They lived together, they played together. Artists like Bob Dylan and Carly Simon got their start in places like the Washington Square park fountain when it was turned off on Sundays, and playing for the passed around basket money at the Gas Light Poetry Cafe. Which is now an Insomnia Cookies. How sad is that? Delicious.  But sad.

You can still walk around the village and feel it though.  The buildings still dark and quaint. The streets still small and quiet, with NYU students carrying laundry bags. Musicians carrying their instruments on their backs in cases.  

To really get into the feel of the time period and to further romanticize the struggling artist portrait :

              Watch:  A netflix documentary on this very topic
                          Inside Llewyn Davis - A Coen brothers movie.  Little tip: Llewyn is the cat.
                         
Enjoy this little moment below.  #James&Carlyforever The way she looks at him...

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Nobody had guitar cases, you just carried your instrument around the village. Cases were not a thing.
— paraphrasing - watch the documentary!