Ode to a Neighborhood Trumpeter

Every evening
Sharply at seven
A single trumpet toots tiny notes.
From somewhere invisible, on the Upper West Side.
One year after the first patients died.

The trumpeter does not know who might be listening.
So many of us hear those notes, from our various windows. A reminder.
The first responders, the hospital personnel who tirelessly defended us
Against ignorance, denial, and death.

Can we say thank you to that lone trumpeter. Thank you for your devotion.
Thank you for reminding us daily. Every evening it surprises us, brings a smile,
And joins us as neighbors. Keep on tooting, please. If it should ever stop, I know already I’ll miss it.

Anonymous neighbor.

The author lives on West 93rd Street. Photo by Duncan McNeil.

ART | 19 comments | permalink
    1. UWSer says:

      I live on the park block of 81st Street and we also have a trumpeter (or other brass instrumentalist) who, until recently, played almost every day at 7 pm. I’m not sure if he/she continues to do so since I haven’t been out at that time the past month. But the trumpeter made me smile every time I heard and saw it. At 7 pm, the trumpet would emerge out its first floor window (I never saw who the trumpet was attached to) and would play its triumphant sounding tune. It warmed my heart to hear. Thank you to that trumpeter as well.

    2. Joanne trying to be creative says:

      The Heart is a Lone Trumpeter.

    3. steve says:

      Glad i don’t live near that noise

      • Adam says:

        Steve, Why are you here?

        • Huh says:

          Adam, why not acknowledge that not everyone likes trumpet sounds? I don’t know how long this nightly serenade lasts, but I think it would annoy me too.The idea is nice but the reality may not be.

        • Lady Di says:

          Ditto, Adam ! one of the glorious defining elements of NYC is the sound of a jazz trumpet, whether in a subway station, on a desolate corner on a grey day or on the street below your apartment on a lazy summer afternoon.

      • Ethan says:

        As a professional instrumental musician (not trumpet) I absolutely support Steve’s statement. No one should have to listen to others’ sounds, no matter how mellifluous they may be. Especially from one’s home.

    4. David says:

      Trumpeter? I hardly know her!

    5. jms says:

      New Yorkers are forever tooting their own horns; I thank you, lone trumpeter, for tooting yours in praise of others.

    6. UWS_lifer says:

      Does any one remember this classic NYC trumpet related video from years ago.

      A true classic from the early days of the internet! Enjoy.:)


    7. Gilles says:

      I play the trumpet (not for awhile), still have it.This story gave me an idea, every night at 7, I can play the new NYC theme song…..TAPS

    8. UWSer says:

      Lovely. Thank you.

    9. Jayk van Hoensbroek says:

      Sorry, this has awakened the curmudgeon in me. Street musicians have no right to disturb the quiet enjoyment of my home. I find it beyond annoying when, reading a book, or listening to music of my choice, street music intrudes. When it happens once in a while and for 15-20 minutes it is tolerable. But when it goes on for hours every weekend that is quite another thing. The city prohibits use of amplifiers without a permit and also limits the sound level such that if the music is audible 50 feet away (I might be wrong on the exact distance) it is illegal, and I have no compunction about reporting the issue on NYC.gov and then calling the local precinct, who I am glad to say have been effective in stopping the noise.

    10. We hear him every evening. Many thanks!! It is a blessing.

    11. Rita says:

      There used to be a bagpiper – found it so special!
      Haven’t heard him in a long time. Hooray for the people playing trumpets and thanks to any musicians who are sharing their music 🎶!!

      • jms says:

        I remember that bagpiper, too. Gosh, that was ages ago! I recall on the first occasion thinking, Wait, that can’t be *bagpipes* I’m hearing, can it? (I was very new to the city back then.)

    12. Jo Baldwin says:

      Your site proves it takes all kinds. These responses show how great human nature is. I love the trumpet, and would dearly love to hear a piper. Open the windows and let it all in.

    13. BWC says:

      The trumpeter’s triumphant tremolo transcends our tragedy. Through turbulent times, the toots tire not; nor tarry. And thus- the trumpet trumps trump.