“… I’m from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York …”
— Jay-Z & Alicia Keys, “Empire State of Mind”
Over the past week, the Empire city has been a theme cropping up in many of my conversations. My mother is currently there visiting family, and she’d called several times to give me weather updates. A blizzard on Boxing Day dropped 50 cm. of snow in Central Park, making it the sixth worst New York snowfall on record. Officials were scrambling to clear roadways and sidewalks in time for New Year’s Eve festivities in Times Square.
Like other iconic cities, there are many faces of New York. “Empire State of Mind” speaks to my experience when I lived there ten years ago. I fell in love with the people, the “in your face” attitude, and subsequently, with the city itself. It had a vibe that resonated with me and made me feel wild, alive, and fearless. No other city has had quite the same effect on me. Given the diversity of songs written about it, New York offers herself as a sanctuary, ignites deep passions, and swallows your innocence if you let it.
I’ve included a list of my favorites songs about New York. Please feel free to comment and share some of yours.
- “New York City” – John Lennon
- “Walk on the Wild Side” – Lou Reed
- “Paris Nights/New York Mornings” – Corinne Bailey Rae
- “Positively 4th Street” – Bob Dylan
- “Miss You” – The Rolling Stones
- “53rd & 3rd” – The Ramones
- “N.Y. State of Mind” – NAS
- “Autumn in New York” – Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald
- “The Only Living Boy in New York” – Simon and Garfunkel
- “New York is a Woman”– Suzanne Vega
- “Fairytale of New York” – The Pogues
- “6th Avenue Heartache” – The Wallflowers