Like movies and books centered around the Big Apple, the best New York songs are by artists who understand the things that make NYC great and horrifying are one and the same. A great New York song is tapped into the rhythms of the city and well aware of the incredible wealth of human experience happening simultaneously across its expanse. They are songs of triumph and heartache, success and failure, love and loss. They celebrate that iconic skyline, but aren’t afraid to descend to the gutter.
There are thousands of songs about New York, but only a select few are timeless. Here we collect our favorite odes to the Big Apple. You’ll find anthems by New York icons ranging from Lou Reed to Jay-Z. There are broadway showstoppers and dispatches from the birth of hip-hop. You’ll find disco, hardcore, pop, punk, jazz and folk penned by outsiders and lifers alike. And if sticking all those genres and personalities together on one list about the same city seems a bit scattershot, well, you’ve clearly never taken a rush-hour subway across town.
Written by Sophie Harris, Adam Feldman, Steve Smith, Hank Shteamer, Marley Lynch, Andy Kryza, Sharon Steel and Jesse Serwer
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