The Sidewalks Of New York
When the 16th Infantry was posted to Fort Jay on Governors Island in New York Harbor in the 1920s, it adopted The Sidewalks of New York as the regimental song. It was an appropriate choice since the tune was very popular nation-wide and the regiment remained stationed there until 1941. Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia even named the regiment as “New York’s Own” during its tenure there. That appellation was fitting as well since most of the regiment’s soldiers were recruited from the city’s five boroughs in those two decades. When the 16th Infantry went to war in 1941, about 80 percent of its soldiers were New Yorkers. Even though the regiment hasn’t been back to New York since it departed in 1941, The Sidewalks of New York has remained the regiment’s song in honor of all the New York men who went to war with the 16th Infantry at the beginning of World War II and helped to further add to such a great combat record.
Down in front of Casey’s old brown wooden stoop
On a summer’s evening we formed a merry group
Boys and girls together we would sing and waltz
While the Jennie played the organ on the sidewalks of New York
East Side, West Side, all around the town
The tots sang “ring-a-rosie,” “London Bridge is falling down”
Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O’Rourke
Tripped the light fantastic on the sidewalks of New York
That’s where Johnny Casey, little Jimmy Crowe
Jakey Krause, the baker, who always had the dough
Pretty Nellie Shannon with a dude as light as cork
First picked up the waltz step on the sidewalks of New York
Things have changed since those times, some are up there with “G”
Others they are wand’rers, but they all feel just like me
They’d part with all they’ve got, could they once more walk
With their best girl and have a twirl on the sidewalks of New York
Roll On, You Rangers
(Sung to the tune of Beer Barrel Polka)
In the October 2012 Dagwood Dispatches, there was a question in the Regimental Quiz about the regimental song, The Sidewalks of New York. Soon after, Bill Ryan wrote in to say that the regiment never marched to that song in the late 1940s and 1950s while it was stationed in Germany. The song that the regiment marched to then was a German tune called Rosamunde, or popularly known as the Beer Barrel Polka by Americans. Charlie Silk, our regimental Sportsmeister from the 1950s, wrote in and added to the story. It seems that Rosemunde was actually a regimental fight song as well and often played at Ranger sports activities. Charlie also offered up the fact that he had written words to the song’s chorus that went like this:
Roll on, you Rangers,
you have the foe on the run!
Fight on, you Rangers,
don’t stop til the vic’try is won!
First into battle,
don’t know the meaning of fear!
Now’s the time to raise Old Glory,
because the 16th Infantry is here!
I’d Rather Be a Ranger Like I Am!
(Sung to the tune of “Dog Faced Soldier”)
Another Ranger fight song from the 1950s came from the estate of Walter T. Decker who served in the Regimental HQ Company, 16th Infantry in 1952-53. The song is actually sung to the tune of “Dog Faced Soldier,” the division song of the 3rd Infantry Division. But I don’t think the Marne boys hold the copyrights to that tune, so sing away Rangers, sing away!
I wouldn’t give a hoot
To wear a fancy Spader suit,
I’d rather be a Ranger like I am!
I wouldn’t trade my checkerboards
For all the Vanguard’s guns and swords
Cause I’m the walking pride of Uncle Sam!
Now all the poop they put out
They say Divarty’s tops
Well I’m just here to tell you
That they’re all just full o’ hops!
In Nürnberg or Grafenwöhr
In Tennelöhe or anywhere,
We lead the 1st Division all the day!
So I’m a Ranger soldier
With a Red One on my shoulder,
It’s the 16th Infantry all the way!