Randall’s Island Now

In July of 1970 Randall’s Island at the confluence of East River and Long Island Sound hosted the Randall’s Island Pop Festival. The concert organizers originally had scheduled three-days of shows, however several headliners cancelled the third day. While Jimi Hendrix as always sold the show, the Village Voice called the gathering ‘the day the music stopped.’

That weekend I was in Montreal with Irish friends dropping LSD.

I tried to hitchhike to New York.

They stopped me and I never stepped foot on Randall’s Island.

Not until last Labor Day weekend.

While my boss traveled north with her husband to watch her niece’s dressage trials, I took care of her pugs, Samson and Delilah. The old dogs and I liked to take it easy, but it was a beautiful afternoon and I had brought my bike. My boss had suggested a tour of Central Park, however the Manhattan’s lung was rammed with tourists. I looked on the computer for an alternative. The Google map showed Randall’s Island.

Bridges straddled the ancient island of Minnehanonck. I had driven over it countless times. I plotted the distance. It wasn’t far away.

I rode along the East River

The tide was fierce.

Billions of sea acres washed through the river.

The current was strong.

I rode up to the pedestrian bridge.

Plastic trash littered the concrete.

On the other side everyone was having a good time.

Hot fun in the summertime.

I knew no one and no one invited me to join them.

It was 2015 and I couldn’t blame, so I rode on past the soccer field.

The RFK Bridge spanned the straits.

I had shook the Senator’s hand at a trolley station in Boston.

The year had been 1968. Boston.

He remains my hero

I loved everything about the Hell’s Gate Bridge.

According to Wikipedia the engineering was so precise that when the last section of the main span was lifted into place, the final adjustment needed to join everything together was just 1⁄2 inch.


Or close to it.

Like no one sees anymore.

I thought pre-Roman.

Except the stone bridge dated back a hundred years to a time of civil unrest.

Workers were fodder, but also appreciative of their accomplishment from all angles.

The summer wind graced the afternoon without a whisper under the bridge’s arches.

I forgot the greatness of Rome and admired the architecture.

Everyone else on the island was thinking BBQ.

Not football.

Not nothing.

And nothingness is easier to achieve than enlightenment.

Especially in the trees of Randalls Island and the Hell’s Gate Bridge.


To see Jimi Hendrix at Randall’s Island, please go to the following URL

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