A remake of “The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3,” headed by John Travolta and Denzel Washington, also stars a most terrifying of icon, the New York City Subway. Director Tony Scott did a yeoman’s job of capturing the train’s “apocalyptic roar,” says New York Times writer Randy Kennedy.
For those who want to feel the gritty roar of Gotham’s rail in song, check out “Downtown,” a track — in more ways than one — from my album “King Kong Serenade.”
The song begins and ends on a Manhattan subway platform and has a mystic train snaking through its dark cityscape. When I recorded the song, I asked lead guitarist John Jackson (Bob Dylan and Lucinda Williams alum) to capture the piercing squeal of wheels braking on tunneled tracks. To my amazement, John got it down immediately, his vintage Gretsch cranked to 11.
The subway in question looms through other “Serenade” titles: “Mingus on the El Train…” in “Hopper’s Town,” for one.
And for more Bronx fare, check out Raymond de Felitta’s “City Island,” with Andy Garcia.