For as long as there’s been a New York City, Gotham has inspired odes to its majesty and danger, its punk vitality and all-embracing spirit. Love it or hate it, if you’re a musician living here, sooner or later you’re going to write about it, and songs by such New York icons as Lou Reed, Jay Z and Julian Casablancas are at the core of the city's ineffable allure—they're part of what makes NYC the greatest city in the world. In that spirit that we've assembled our list of the 100 best NYC songs, searching far and wide for well-worn anthems and deserving obscurities alike, with one fundamental rule—a song has to be specifically about some aspect of NYC, be it good, bad or ugly. The result is a fascinating, illuminating and (we’re sure) potentially infuriating tally of the 100 best songs about the city we call home.
Listen to the best NYC songs on Spotify
RECOMMENDED: The New York guide to life
Nos. 100-91: Le Tigre, Tom Waits, XTC and more
Nos. 90-81: Death Cab for Cutie, Nancy Sinatra, Kid Creole and more
Nos. 80-71: Paul Simon, the Dictators, the Trammps and more
Nos. 70-61: Barry Manilow, the Village People, Glenn Miller and more
Nos. 60-51: Run-DMC, Steely Dan, the Magnetic Fields and more
Nos. 50-41: Nat King Cole, Bill Withers, Ace Frehley and more
Nos. 40-31: Ella Fitzgerald, the Avett Brothers, Alice Cooper and more
Nos. 30-21: Lou Reed, Suzanne Vega, Stevie Wonder and more
Nos. 20-11: Simon & Garfunkel, LL Cool J, Wu-Tang Clan and more
Poll: You choose the best NYC songs
Rearrange the top 25 by voting songs up and down.
Live at TONY
Watch exclusive videos of local legends performing iconic New York songs, featuring Tommy Ramone, Suzanne Vega, D.M.C. and more.