@ The New Zinc Bar Sunday

Sunday January 11th 2009
7PM

Reading/Performance by

Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte
at the *New*
Zinc Bar

hosted by Kim Lyons & Douglas Rothschild

82W. Third Street
(between Thompson & Sullivan)
New York, New York

Altars of Light, a Poem by Pierre Joris, Voice & Video Nicole Peyrafitte, Guitar George Muscatello

Brooklyn Bridge

Today I rode my bike into Manhattan from Bay Ridge and as I was riding over the Brooklyn Bridge I remembered that it was a day like today, late May 2005, that I wrote a song about the Brooklyn Bridge. I was still leaving in Albany and it was my first time walking over the bridge. According to the article below crossing from Brooklyn to Manhattan could be quite en ordeal before the construction of the bridge:

“PEOPLE who seventeen years ago divided an amphibious existence between New York and Brooklyn will long remember their arctic voyages in the East River during the severe winter of 1866-7. There were days in that season when passengers from New York to Albany arrived earlier than those who set out the same morning from their breakfast tables in Brooklyn for their desks in New York. The newspapers were filled for weeks with reports of the ice gorges, and with vehement demand for and discussion of the bridge, which all agreed must be built at once from New York to Brooklyn.Harper’s Monthly 1883 .

The construction of the suspended Gothic style bridge took 13 years -from 1870 to 1883, the life of 27 workers and two architects. The German immigrant architect/engineer John A. Roebling died of tetanus before the first stone was laid. While surveying the project his foot was crushed by a ferry boat. He was succeeded by his son Washington Roebling who died of caisson disease -a.k.a “the bends”- a disease that can also affects divers if then come up to the surface too fast. If you want to know all the politics & construction details of the bridge you must read the Harper’s Monthly 1883 article.

The song was inspired by the research I had done at that time. The text is reprinted below and click on the video to listen to a never released recorded version. There is another version that made it on my cd “La Garbure Transcontinentale / The Bi-Continental Chowder”. The musicians are the same: George Muscatello on guitar and Danny Welchel on percussion. It was recorded at Bender Lane Studio in Delmar NY, But I can’t remember when. Hope you enjoy!

Brooklyn Bridge

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny spring day
Hanging over the East River on a sunny spring day

Suspended lives tramping their lines
Wired above a tidal straight
Gothic towers to bridge cultures

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny spring day
Hanging over the East River on a sunny spring day

Deep in bedrock below water
Cables of steel lifting spirits
Granite towers make concrete links

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny spring day
Hanging over the East River on a sunny spring day

Trussing device pins down the land
Hell gate in sight I arch my span
Bearing the height holding the light

Walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on a sunny spring day
Hanging over the East River on a sunny spring day

Nicole Peyrafitte 05/12/05