Bob Dylan’s “muffled and mysterious” 1960s city

“New York City was cold, muffled, and mysterious, the capital of the world,” recalled Bob Dylan in his 2004 memoir, Chronicles: Volume One.

It’s the New York he encountered upon moving here in 1961 at age 20.

Broke but hungry for success and experiences, his observations of the winter he arrived—”the cold was brutal and every artery of the city was snowpacked”—will resonate with anyone who remembers their first magical months in New York.

“The city was like some uncarved block without any name or shape and it showed no favoritism. Everything was always new, always changing. It was never the same old crowd upon the streets,” wrote Dylan.

“I crossed over from Hudson to Spring, passed a garbage can loaded with bricks and stopped into a coffee shop. The waitress at the lunch counter wore a close-fitting suede blouse. It outlined the well-rounded lines of her body. She had blue-black hair covered with a kerchief and piercing blue eyes, clear stenciled eyebrows. I was wishing she’d pin a rose on me.”

“She poured the steaming coffee and I turned back towards the street window. The whole city was dangling in front of my nose. I had a vivid idea of where everything was. the future was nothing to worry about. It was awfully close.”

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One Response to “Bob Dylan’s “muffled and mysterious” 1960s city”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    I remember when women dressed like that, all made up and dressed like store mannequins, their clothes were tight, their skirts above the knees, their fragrance exquisite… I probably wandered those same Greenwich Village streets as Dylan did, passing each other by…

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