I remember my very first trip to New York City with a buddy a little over 20 years ago to see another old buddy there. I was frankly terrified! I'm about as streetwise as Linus Van Pelt without his security blanket and with all of the comments about The Big Apple being The Most Dangerous City in the world and the usual TV images of New Yorkers being as snarly as some of those reptiles that reputedly inhabit the sewers underneath didn't exactly fill me with confidence.
However, I realized that I was not in "Popeye" Doyle's New York of the mean 70s but in a New York that was starting to become happier, safer and more family-friendly. Mind you, the grungy subways, the speechifying homeless folks on those subways, and the drug pusher who approached us for a potential sale one morning on the outskirts of Central Park made things interesting ("I'm sorry...I'm cutting down this week" was my nervous reply to the pusher). On the other hand, staying in my friend's comfortable brownstone on the Upper East Side, visiting the chic Kinokuniya at Rockefeller Centre and having some great food more than balanced the scales to improve my impression of Manhattan.
All that preamble above just to introduce Yasuhiro Abe's（安部恭弘） "Manhattan", one of the tracks on his first album, "Hold Me Tight" from March 1983. I didn't get to indulge much in the high side of life on the island itself but listening to this song had me remembering a nice dinner I had with some former members of the Japan-Canada Students' Association from U of T-turned-Manhattanites during my visit there. It was a pretty nice swanky restaurant on the Upper West Side, and Abe's City Pop ballad is the musical version of looking out the window and seeing the night view of all of those buildings and Central Park. I kinda wonder if Abe had actually been inspired through a visit to the top of the Empire State Building to create the song. There is nothing like a soft Fender Rhodes, some strings and his vocals to create an elegant mood in and over the big city.