53rd & 3rd

  • The corner of 53rd Street and 3rd Avenue in Manhattan, New York, is a real place that was once frequented by young male prostitutes trying to turn a trick. The area was a section of what was known as "the Loop," which also boasted gay bars such as Rounds and Red. In 1994, a crackdown by police with heavy support from the neighborhood saw an end to the area's nighttime activities, and despite protests by gay advocate groups, many arrests were made and the bars were shuttered.
  • Written by bass player Dee Dee Ramone, this song tells about young male prostitutes, known as chicken hawks, selling sexual favors to older men for cash. There was a rumor that Dee Dee engaged in that same activity to earn drug money in the days before he joined the band, but if there's any truth to it, he took it to his grave.
  • A track from the first Ramones album, this was one of the songs the band played in their early days (1975), performing in New York clubs like CBGB. They intrigued patrons with their unorthodox performances, Dee Dee counting in every song ("1-2-3-4") right after the last one ended. Since most of their songs lasted about two minutes, they could blow through an entire set in under 30 minutes.
  • For the Ramones, a song like this didn't seem so strange. "We were so weird," Johnny Ramone said. "Singing about some guy coming back from Vietnam and becoming a male prostitute and killing people? This is what we thought was normal."
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Comments: 5

  • Zero from The Abyss, NjThat last chorus after Dee Dee's bridge actually goes up a whole step with the chords to the chorus. I never noticed that until I tried to learn the song on my guitar!
  • Willie from Scottsdale, AzSeveral of the roadies in DeeDee's solo band were known bisexuals, so it's not entirely out of the question.
  • Joe from Chicago, Arone of the greatest punk rock songs ever made.... i went to 53rd & 3rd in New York though.. and it sucks... there is nothing there.
  • Steve from Birmingham, AlYes, the protagonist of the song killed a trick. However, it's safe to assume Dee Dee Ramone never killed anyone.
  • Johnny from Los Angeles, CaSo the guy in the song killed someone right? I bet this relates to Dee Dee wanting to kill the a**holes who came around there, or maybe Dee Dee ACTUALLY KILLED SOMEONE *conspiracy alert conspiracy alert*
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