Streets Of New York (The Wolfe Tones) video
#1076 YouTube video by darrin42
©2007 ~ Used with permission ~

I was eighteen years old
when I went down to Dublin,
With a fistful of money and a cartload of dreams;
Take your time, said me father,
stop rushing like hell,
Remember all's not what it seems to be.
For there's fellas would cut ya
for the coat on yer back,
Or the watch that ya got from your mother;
So take care, me young buck-o,
and mind yourself well.
Will you give this wee note to me brother?

At the time Uncle Benjy was
a policeman in Brooklyn,
Me father, the youngest, looked after the farm;
When a phone call from America
said send the lad over,
The oul fella said, sure, it wouldn't do any harm.
For I've spent my life working this dirty old ground,
For a few pints of porter and the smell of a pound;
Sure maybe there's something
you'll learn or you'll see,
And you can bring it back home, make it easy on me.

So I landed at Kennedy and a big yellow taxi,
Carried me and me bags
through the streets and the rain;
Well, me poor heart was
thumpin' around with excitement,
I hardly even heard what the driver was saying.
We came in the Shore Parkway
to the Flatlands in Brooklyn,
To my Uncle's apartment on East Fifty-Third;
I was feeling so happy, I was hummin' a song,
And I sang You're as free as a bird.

Well, to shorten the story, what I found out that day,
Was that Benjy was shot up in an uptown foray;
And while I was flying my way to New York,
Poor Benjy was lying in a cold city morgue.
Well, I phoned up the oul fella, told him the news,
I could tell he could hardly stand up in his shoes;
And he wept as he told me, go ahead with the plan,
But not to forget, be a proud Irish man.

So, I went up to Nellie's beside Fordham Road,
And I started to learn about liftin' the load;
But the heaviest thing that I carried that year,
Was the bittersweet thought
of my hometown so dear.
I went home that December 'cause the oul fella died,
Had to borrow the money from Phil on the side;
And all the bright flowers and brass couldn't hide,
The poor wasted face of me father.

I sold up the oul farmyard for what it was worth,
Into my bag stuck a handful of earth;
Then I boarded a train and I caught me a plane,
And I found myself back in the U S again.
It's been twenty-two years
since I've set foot in Dublin,
The kids know to use the correct knife and fork....
But I'll never forget the green grass and the rivers,
As I keep law and order on the streets of New York.

Spoken: Come on, let's hear ya!
Da da da, Da da da, Da da da,
Da da da da, Da da da,
Da da da, Da da da, Da da da,
Da da da da, Da da da,
Da da da, Da da da, Da da da,
Da da da da, Da da da, etc.... [Fading]

####.... Liam Reilly ....####
This variant arranged and recorded by The Wolfe Tones (Spirit Of The Nation, trk#15, 1964, 1991, Shanachie Records).

See more songs by The Wolfe Tones.

A variant was also arranged and recorded by D'Arcy Broderick of Bay de Verde, NL (By Request, trk#4, 2006, Independent, Torbay, NL).

See more songs by the D'Arcy Broderick.


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