The Bronx is up and the Battery's down. I always liked this line when I was a kid, though it made no sense to me. Maybe because it made no sense to me. I just returned from a whirlwind trip to New York. That song was in my head throughout the trip, although I probably haven't heard it for over thirty years. Here's a link to it, so it can bug the hell out of you, too:
Now I know what the line means. There's uptown, downtown and midtown. It's a geographical orientation. We stayed in midtown. Between Park and Madison Avenues. We did most of the things the sailors in this video do, except no dates. The Battery is Battery Park where we caught the Staten Island ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. Everything here seems iconic. The cold wind blowing across the New York harbour. The guy selling iphone cases who used to be a teacher and dispensed all kinds of life advice. Central Park, the breakfast room at our hotel, the view from the Empire State Building. The Fulton Street subway station. Isn't there a song about that? There should be.
Now I know what the line means. But is that better than not knowing? Yes and no. It's always better to know something you didn't know before, isn't it? I don't know. I once made the mistake of teaching one of my favourite poems, The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock. I should have been a pair of ragged claws. What does that mean? I don't know. But I feel it. And I don't want to talk about it.