29 Best New York City Songs

29 Best New York City Songs

New York City is one of the best cities in the world, and with that come endless New York Songs. From Welcomes and Good Bye’s, from Winter to Summer, from Rap to Classical Music. I consider NYC the best city in the world and I could sing about it all day. But since I cannot sing and since there are many professional singers and musicians that write about the city, I wrote up this list.

That is good news for you…trust me! I am better at telling jokes than singing…anyways!

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In this list I share with you my favorite songs with lyrics about the Big Apple. As a plus, I added a few Christmas and winter Songs. I also highlighted my personal favorites.

I also collected the best USA Songs of all time, including Elvis and Simon & Garfunkel. You will LOVE this playlist.

1. New York, New York – by Frank Sinatra

Start spreading the news
I’m leaving today
I want to be a part of it
New York, New York

These vagabond shoes
They are longing to stray
Right through the very heart of it
New York, New York

I want to wake up in a city
That never sleeps
And find I’m king of the hill
Top of the heap

These small town blues
They are melting away
I’ll make a brand new start of it
In old New York

2. Welcome to New York – by  Taylor Swift

This is really not a surprise to say, but this song is the absolute best welcome to new york songs in the world. At least in my opinion! I added here the lyrics and the video below. Give it a go. I would say, you won’t be able to keep still.

Walkin’ through a crowd, the village is a glow
Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats
Everybody here wanted somethin’ more
Searchin’ for a sound we hadn’t heard before
And it said

Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin’ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York
Welcome to New York
It’s been waitin’ for you
Welcome to New York, welcome to New York

3. No Sleep Till Brooklyn – The Beastie Boys

To be honest, I did not know this song when I read the title of it. And then, it hit me. You play this song and you will for sure know this song.

No sleep ’til
Brooklyn!

Foot on the pedal never ever false metal
Engine running hotter than a boiling kettle
My job’s ain’t a job, it’s a damn good time
City to city I’m running my rhymes

On location, touring around the nation
Beastie Boys always on vacation
Itchy trigger finger but a stable turntable
I do what I do best because I’m willing and able

Ain’t no faking, your money I’m taking
Going coast to coast watching all the girlies shaking
While you’re at the job working nine to five, The Beastie Boys at the Garden – cold kickin’ it live

4. New York City Cops – The Strokes

Nina’s in the bedroom,
She said, “Time to go now”
But leavin’ it ain’t easy
I got to let go, oh, I got to let go
And the hours they ran slow
I said, every night, she just can’t stop saying

New York City cops, New York City cops
New York City cops, but they ain’t too smart
New York City cops, New York City cops
New York City cops, but they ain’t too smart

5. Fairytale of New York – The Pogues (New York Christmas Song)

This song qualifies without a doubt as a Christmas Song in and about New York City. Just keep listening to the lyrics. And to quote from youtube “It’s not Christmas until you hear drunk Irishmen singing about it“.

It was Christmas Eve babe
In the drunk tank
An old man said to me, won’t see another one
And then he sang a song
The Rare Old Mountain Dew
I turned my face away
And dreamed about you

Got on a lucky one
Came in eighteen to one
I’ve got a feeling
This year’s for me and you
So happy Christmas
I love you baby
I can see a better time
When all our dreams come true

They’ve got cars big as bars
They’ve got rivers of gold
But the wind goes right through you
It’s no place for the old
When you first took my hand
On a cold Christmas Eve
You promised me
Broadway was waiting for me

6. Englishman In New York – Sting

The first line of the lyrics by legend Sting says it all.

I don’t take coffee, I take tea, my dear
I like my toast done on one side
And you can hear it in my accent when I talk
I’m an Englishman in New York

See me walking down Fifth Avenue
A walking cane here at my side
I take it everywhere I walk
I’m an Englishman in New York

Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien
I’m an Englishman in New York
Oh, I’m an alien, I’m a legal alien
I’m an Englishman in New York

7. Talkin’ New York – Bob Dylan

When we talk about Christmas, Winter is right there; Obviously. This is where Talkin’ New York by legend Bob Dylan comes in.

Rambling out of the Wild West
Leaving the towns I love the best
Thought I’d seen some ups and downs
‘Till I come into New York town
People going down to the ground
Buildings going up to the sky

Wintertime in New York town
The wind blowing snow around
Walk around with nowhere to go
Somebody could freeze right to the bone
I froze right to the bone
New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years
I didn’t feel so cold then

8. New York’s Alright (If You Like Sex & Phones) – The Gotobeds

In all fairness…this is NOT a song for the ears of children. But the beat…the beat is just awesome!! You cannot sit quietly on your chair.

new york’s alright if you can get ****
collegiate display of post-classic head-**
I’ve heard the sounds the clowns wanna hear right
distorted guitar please turn off the lead mic

I know I know
new york’s alright

nostalgic for what a love i have not known
we ruin the night with glow from our cell phones
we hustle for crumbs but we can never get fed
all natures a farce when you can’t even breathe yea

9. Summer In The City – The Lovin’ Spoonful

This is my absolute favorite song about New York City!

Hot town, summer in the city
Back of my neck getting dirty and gritty
Been down, isn’t it a pity?
Doesn’t seem to be a shadow in the city
All around, people looking half dead
Walking on the sidewalk, hotter than a match head

But at night it’s a different world
Go out and find a girl
Come on, come on and dance all night
Despite the heat it’ll be alright

And babe, don’t you know it’s a pity
That the days can’t be like the nights
In the summer, in the city
In the summer, in the city

10. Back to Manhattan – Norah Jones

There is no way on earth a playlist of New York City songs is complete without Norah Jones. No way, no discussion. This lady has the voice of an angel. My favorite song of her is Back to Manhattan and Come Away with me.

I’ll go back to Manhattan
As if nothin’ ever happened
When I cross that bridge
It’ll be as if this don’t exist

I have a prince who is waiting
And a kingdom downtown
I’ll go back to Manhattan
As if nothing ever happened

We don’t have to speak at all
I won’t look in your eyes
And I won’t have to fall
We don’t have to speak at all

11. Rockaway Beach – The Ramones

Chewin’ out a rhythm on my bubble gum
The sun is out and I want some
It’s not hard, not far to reach
We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach
Up on the roof, out on the street
Down in the playground, the hot concrete
Bus ride is too slow
They blast out the disco on the radio

Rock, rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock, rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock, rock, Rockaway Beach
We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach
Rock, rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock, rock, Rockaway Beach
Rock, rock, Rockaway Beach
We can hitch a ride to Rockaway Beach

12. 53rd and 3rd – Ramones

If you think you can, well come on man
I was a Green Beret in Vietnam
No more of your fairy stories
‘Cause I got my other worries

Fifty-third and third standing on the street
Fifty-third and third I’m tryin’ to turn a trick
Fifty-third and third you’re the one they never pick
Fifty-third and third don’t it make you feel sick?

If you think you can, well come on man
I was a Green Beret in Vietnam
No more of your fairy stories
‘Cause I got my other worries

13. New York – St. Vincent

New York isn’t New York without you, love
So far in a few blocks, to be so low
If I call you from First Avenue
Well you’re the only moth*********** in the city who can handle me

New love wasn’t true love, back to you, love
So much for a home run with some blue bloods
If I last-strawed you on 8th Avenue
Where you’re the only moth*********** in the city who can stand me

I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend
But for you darling I’d do it all again
I have lost a hero, I have lost a friend
But for you darling I’d do it all again

14. NEW DORP. NEW YORK – Sbtrkt

My girl’s got a minimum
Keep it stuck right there ’til the lumber comes
Leave a smooth operator lookin’ like a bum
My girl’s got a city to run
Got the key to the kingdom where the money’s from
Never seen calienda, never seen the sun
(And he thinks I’m the negative one)

Flag flappin’ in Manhattan
New Dorp New York
Gargoyles gargling oil
Peak of the empire, top of the rock

15. 100 South of Broadway – Philadelphia Society

No lyrics here, just enjoy the beat.

16. Subway Train – New York Dolls

I can’t ever
Understand
Why my lifes, been
Cursed poisen,
Condemned
When I been tryin every night
To hold ya near me
But I’m tellin you
It aint easy

Ever since I been
Ridin, right on the
Subway Train
You can hear the whistle blowin
Wa might think I’m goin insane

17. First We Take Manhattan – Leonard Cohen

They sentenced me to 20 years of boredom
For trying to change the system from within
I’m coming now, I’m coming to reward them
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

I’m guided by a signal in the heavens (Guided, guided)
I’m guided by this birthmark on my skin (I am guided by)
I’m guided by the beauty of our weapons (Ooh, ooh)
First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin

18. My My Metrocard – Le Tigre

Off the pillow and into the air
I’m ready cause it’s my day
Situation: it’s all possible
Everything is going my way

My My Metrocard
My My Metrocard
My My Metrocard
Think I’ll go a little but then I go far

19. New York’s Not My Home – Jim Croce

Things were spinnin’ ’round me
And all my thoughts were cloudy
And I had begun to doubt all the things that were me
Been in so many places, you know I’ve run so many races
I looked into the empty faces of the people of the night
Somethin’ is just not right

‘Cause I know that I’ve gotta get outta here
I’m so alone
Don’t you know that I gotta get outta here
‘Cause New York’s not my home

20. Autumn in New York – Billie Holiday

Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York, it spells the thrill of first-nighting.
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel;
They’re making me feel: I’m home.

It’s autumn in New York that brings the promise of new love.
Autumn in New York is often mingled with pain.
Dreamers with empty hands may sigh for exotic lands;
It’s autumn in New York;
It’s good to live it again.

21. Chelsea Morning – Joni Mitchell

A song from 1969 and this is how it sounds. Beautiful voice, simply guitar and wonderful lyrics about Chelsea Morning and New York City.

Woke up, it was a Chelsea morning
And the first thing that I heard
Was a song outside my window
And the traffic wrote the words
It came ringin’ up like Christmas bells
And rappin’ up like pipes and drums

Oh, won’t you stay? We’ll put on the day
And we’ll wear it till the night comes

22. Chelsea Hotel #2 – Leonard Cohen

Lana del Rey also made a cover of this beautiful song.
I remember you well in the Chelsea Hotel
You were talkin’ so brave and so sweet
Givin’ me head on the unmade bed
While the limousines wait in the street
Those were the reason an’ that was New York
We were runnin’ for the money and the flesh
And that was called love for the workers in song
Probably still is for those of them left

23. Snow Is Falling In Manhattan – Purple Mountains

Snow is falling in Manhattan
In a slow diagonal fashion
On the Sabbath, as it happens
Snow is falling in Manhattan
If it looks like it might be a bad one
The good caretaker springs to action
Salts the stoop and scoops the cat in
Tests an icy patch for traction

Snow
Snow, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa
Snow, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa

24. I’ll be there for you – The Rembrandts (Friends Theme Song)

In all fairness, this is really not a song about New York City, not even about the state. Yet, it is the theme song of one of the most famous TV Shows in the world: Friends. And since Friends takes place in New York City, I felt obligated to add it.

So no one told you life was gonna be this way
Your job’s a joke, you’re broke
Your love life’s DOA
It’s like you’re always stuck in second gear
When it hasn’t been your day, your week, your month
Or even your year, but

I’ll be there for you
(When the rain starts to pour)
I’ll be there for you
(Like I’ve been there before)
I’ll be there for you
(‘Cause you’re there for me too)

25. Across 110th Street – Bobby Womack

I was the third brother of five
Doing whatever I had to do to survive
I’m not saying what I did was alright
Trying to break out of the ghetto was a day to day fight

Been down so long, getting up didn’t cross my mind
But I knew there was a better way of life that I was just trying to find
You don’t know what you’ll do until you’re put under pressure
Across 110th Street is a hell of a tester

26. New York, I Love You, but You’re Bringing Me Down – LCD Soundsystem

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

Like a rat in a cage
Pulling minimum wage

New york, I love you
But you’re bringing me down

27. NYC – Interpol

I had seven faces
Thought I knew which one to wear
But I’m sick of spending these lonely nights
Training myself not to care
The subway is a porno
Pavements, they are a mess
I know you’ve supported me for a long time
Somehow, I’m not impressed

But New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)
New York cares (got to be some more change in my life)

28. I Guess the Lord Must Be in New York City – Harry Nilsson

I’ll say goodbye
To all my sorrow
And by tomorrow
I’ll be on my way

I guess the Lord must be in New York City
I’m so tired
Of gettin’ nowhere
Seein’ my prayers

Goin’ unanswered
I guess the Lord must be in New York City

29. Jay-Z and Alicia Keys – Empire State Of Mind

You have scrolled so far, you have deserved this rap song about New York City. This song, it really has it all!

Ooh, New York
Ooh, New York

Grew up in a town that is famous as a place of movie scenes
Noise is always loud, there are sirens all around and the streets are mean
If I can make it here, I can make it anywhere, that’s what they say
Seeing my face in lights or my name in marquees found down on Broadway

Even if it ain’t all it seems, I got a pocketful of dreams
Baby I’m from New York
Concrete jungle where dreams are made of
There’s nothing we can’t do
Now you’re in New York!
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Hear it for New York, New York, New York

30. South Bronx – Boogie Down Productions

Yo what’s up Blastmaster KRS One, this jam is kicking
Word, yo what up D-Nice?
(Yo what’s up Scott La Rock?)
Yo man we chilling just funky fresh jam
I want to tell you a little something about us
We’re the Boogie Down Productions crew
And due to the fact that no-one else out there knew what time it was
We have to tell you a little story about where we we come from

South Bronx, the South South Bronx

31. Need Me – J.I the Prince of N.Y

Yeah
I swear this gon’ fuck the summer up
Niggas hatin’ on me ’cause I’m comin’ up
Fuck you all night, we ain’t gon’ stop until the sun is up
Make you mine for a little
You should let me break your spine just a little
Got your shawty on my pistol, made her empty out the clip
I swear I’m too official, I can never stress a bitch
I done lost a couple soldiers everyday I reminisce
And I could’ve took his bitch, but her pussy smelled like fish
Me and all my niggas on the ship like marijuana
Only time a nigga hit my phone is when there’s drama

32. Subway – Yeah Yeah Yeahs

I lost you on the subway car
Got caught without my metro card
I waited and I waited for the express train
Wanna catch up with you wherever you are

I waited and I waited
I waited and I waited
I waited and I waited
I waited and I waited
And it was hot
And when it stopped

Summary

I sincerely hope you have found your personal favorite song about The City. New York City is one of the greatest cities on the planet and it deserves so many more songs.

My favorite ones are by Jay Z and Norah Jones and obviously, the first 5 ones.

What about you? Do you feel I forgot one? Did I even forget your most favorite song? Then help me out. Leave a comment and let me know which songs I should add. And with that, feel free to leave a joke about New York City too 🙂

 

Jimmy
I am Jimmy, clown at heart. I love silly, funny, nerdy, quirky jokes. So I thought I should start a website about jokes. Why a carrot as a logo? Why not! Here, have a carrot!