"Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega (VIDEO)

Watch the video for "Tom's Diner" by Suzanne Vega, No. 28 on our list of the 100 best NYC songs.

28. Suzanne Vega, "Tom's Diner" (1987)

The original version of Suzanne Vega's stark, unaccompanied melody sounded like antifolk before there was antifolk; by contrast, the big-hitting version that blared out of cars and Walkman earphones for most of 1990 was remixed by DNA, refurbished with a Soul II Soul beat. Yet the essence of its story held fast—a girl sits in a diner, reads the paper, watches customers and drifts occasionally ("I am...thinking of your voice"). Just as the song is specific but endlessly remixable (as 1991's Tom's Album attested), so too Tom's Restaurant, a real eatery in Morningside Heights, could be anywhere.