25 of the Best Songs About New York (of All Time)

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Iconic Songs About New York

New York City is the center of the universe, the city that never sleeps, and an endless source of inspiration for artists and musicians.Β 

Countless musicians have written songs about the city’s hustle and bustle, its vibrant culture, and the unique spirit of New York. 

Today we’re serving up 25 of the very best songs about New York, including both songs with a message around New York and songs with New York in the title. This list includes artists such as Frank Sinatra, Taylor Swift, Alicia Keys, and many more.Β 


1. The Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z featuring Alicia Keys

Released in 2009, “Empire State of Mind” is an anthem to New York City and its unbreakable spirit.

The song, which features Alicia Keys on vocals, references various landmarks and neighborhoods in the city, from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Empire State Building.

The lyrics celebrate the city’s diversity, energy, and resilience, and the chorus encourages listeners to embrace their dreams and make them a reality.

2. New York, New York – Frank Sinatra

Frank Sinatra’s version of “New York, New York” has become an iconic tribute to the city that never sleeps.

Initially written for the 1977 film of the same name, the song became a signature tune for Sinatra and an enduring symbol of the city’s glamour and vitality.

The lyrics describe New York as a place where anything is possible, and dreams come true, making it an instant classic.

3. Welcome to New York – Taylor Swift

In “Welcome to New York,” Taylor Swift captures the excitement and wonder of moving to the city for the first time.

The song celebrates the possibility and adventure of starting a new chapter in one’s life. The chorus is an invitation to join Swift in exploring the city’s endless opportunities.

4. New York State of Mind – Billy Joel

Billy Joel’s “New York State of Mind” is a nostalgic tribute to the city he called home for many years.

The song, released in 1976, features lush orchestration and Joel’s powerful vocals, and the lyrics capture the excitement and melancholy that comes with living in the city. Joel’s love for New York shines through in every note.

5. The Only Living Boy in New York – Simon & Garfunkel

“The Only Living Boy in New York” is a bittersweet song about loneliness and the search for connection in a big city.

The song features Simon & Garfunkel’s signature harmonies and gentle acoustic guitar. The lyrics describe a protagonist who feels adrift in the city but is determined to keep searching for a sense of belonging.


Explore: 25 of the Best Songs About Betrayal πŸ—‘οΈ


6. New York Minute – Don Henley

In “New York Minute,” Don Henley explores the darker side of the city’s frenetic energy and constant motion.

The song, released in 1989, describes a crisis in a protagonist’s life and the fleeting nature of time in the city. The chorus is a haunting reminder that time waits for no one in New York.

7. New York City Serenade – Bruce Springsteen

“New York City Serenade” is an epic song by Bruce Springsteen that clocks in at nearly 10 minutes.

The song, released in 1973, features a lush orchestral arrangement and Springsteen’s evocative storytelling. The lyrics describe a romantic evening in the city that turns into a surreal journey through the heart of New York’s nightlife.

8. New York Groove – Ace Frehley

“New York Groove” is a catchy rock song by Ace Frehley, the guitarist of the band KISS.

The song is a tribute to the city’s vibrant music scene and the excitement of playing a great show in front of a New York crowd.

The lyrics describe the city’s energy at night and the sense of possibility permeating every street corner.

9. Theme from New York, New York – Liza Minnelli

Liza Minnelli’s version of the “Theme from New York, New York” is a soaring ballad that captures the grandeur and majesty of the city.

Initially written for the 1977 film of the same name, the song has become a beloved standard and is often played at sporting events and other public gatherings.

The lyrics describe the city where dreams come true, and anything is possible.

10. New York Minute – the Eagles

“New York Minute,” released in 1994, captures the city’s fast-paced and unpredictable nature of life. The lyrics describe a protagonist struggling to keep up with the demands of work and the pressures of the city, and the chorus is a reminder that in New York, time is always running out.

11. New York – St. Vincent

“New York” by St. Vincent is a poignant ballad that captures the loss and longing of leaving the city behind.

The song features sparse instrumentation, and the lyrics describe a protagonist wrestling with the decision to leave New York for good.

12. A Fairytale of New York – The Pogues featuring Kirsty MacColl

“A Fairytale of New York” is a classic Christmas song by the Irish band The Pogues, featuring the late Kirsty MacColl on vocals.

The song tells the story of two lovers in New York City struggling to make ends meet during the holiday season. The lyrics are filled with vivid imagery of the city at Christmas, and the chorus is a rousing sing-along that has become a holiday staple.

13. Autumn in New York – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong

“Autumn in New York” is a classic jazz standard covered by countless artists. The version by Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong was released back in 1957.

The song is a masterclass in vocal harmony and musical improvisation. The lyrics describe the city’s beauty in the fall and the romance that lingers in the air.

14. New York – Ja Rule featuring Fat Joe and Jadakiss

Ja Rule’s “New York” is a hip-hop anthem that celebrates the city’s rap scene and pays homage to the artists who made it famous.

The song features guest verses from Fat Joe and Jadakiss, and the lyrics describe the city’s streets as a place where only the strong survive.

15. No Sleep Till Brooklyn – Beastie Boys

“No Sleep Till Brooklyn” is a classic rap-rock anthem by the Beastie Boys that celebrates the band’s hometown of Brooklyn.

The song features a heavy metal guitar riff and the group’s signature irreverent lyrics. The chorus rallies for Brooklynites to party hard and never back down.

16. New York State of Mind Pt. II – Nas featuring Alicia Keys

Nas’s “New York State of Mind Pt. II” is a sequel to the classic song by Billy Joel, released in 1999.

The song features guest vocals from Alicia Keys and celebrates the city’s rap scene and the artists who made it famous. The lyrics describe the city’s gritty streets and the pride of being a New York rapper.

17. New York Minute – French Montana featuring Jadakiss

French Montana’s “New York Minute,” featuring a guest verse from Jadakiss, is a gritty rap song that captures the darker side of life in the city.

The song features sparse instrumentation and hard-hitting lyrics that describe the dangers of the streets and the need to always stay on guard.

18. New York – Angel Haze

“New York” by Angel Haze is a powerful rap song that explores the complexities of life in the city. The song features sparse instrumentation and Haze’s intense delivery.

The lyrics describe a protagonist struggling to make sense of the city’s contradictions and the constant pressure to succeed.

19. New York State of Mind – Barbra Streisand

Barbra Streisand’s version of “New York State of Mind” is a soaring ballad that captures the beauty and grandeur of the city.

The song features lush orchestration and Streisand’s powerful vocals. The lyrics describe the city as a place where anything is possible, and one can find the courage to pursue their dreams.

20. New York City Cops – The Strokes

“New York City Cops” by The Strokes is a frenetic rock song celebrating the city’s law enforcement officers. The song features a driving rhythm section and the band’s signature garage rock sound.

The lyrics describe a protagonist drawn to the excitement and danger of the city’s streets and the sense of protection that comes with knowing that the cops are on the beat.

21. New York, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down – LCD Soundsystem

“New York, I Love You, But You’re Bringing Me Down” is a poignant song by LCD Soundsystem that captures the disillusionment that can come from living in the city.

The song features James Murphy’s plaintive vocals and a lush electronic arrangement. The lyrics describe a protagonist struggling to find meaning in the city’s constant noise and chaos.

22. New York – U2

“New York” is a powerful song by U2 that pays tribute to the city’s resilience in tragedy. The song features Bono’s soaring vocals and a driving rock arrangement.

The lyrics describe a city that has been through hard times but has always bounced back more vital than ever.

23. New York Mining Disaster 1941 – The Bee Gees

“New York Mining Disaster 1941” is a haunting song by The Bee Gees that tells the story of a mining disaster in upstate New York.

The song features the group’s signature harmonies and lush orchestration. The lyrics describe the horror and devastation of the disaster and the sense of loss felt by the victims’ families.

24. New York Girls – Finbar and Eddie Furey

“New York Girls” is a rollicking folk song by Finbar and Eddie Furey that celebrates the city’s Irish heritage. The song features lively instrumentation and the Fureys’ charming vocals.

The lyrics describe a group of Irish immigrants enjoying their new lives in the city and the camaraderie that comes with being part of a community.

25. New York, New York – Ryan Adams

Ryan Adams’s version of “New York, New York” is a stripped-down acoustic ballad that captures the melancholy and nostalgia of leaving the city behind.

The song features Adams’s raw vocals and a simple guitar arrangement. The lyrics describe a protagonist saying goodbye to the city they love and the loss that comes with moving on.

Summary: Songs About New York

New York City has inspired countless songs over the years, and for a good reason. 

Its energy, vibrancy, and cultural diversity have made it a beacon for artists, from jazz musicians to hip-hop stars. 

The songs about New York listed above capture the many facets of life in the city, from its gritty streets to its soaring skyscrapers, and pay tribute to the unique spirit that makes it such a special place. 

Whether you’re a lifelong New Yorker or a visitor passing through, these songs will surely resonate with you and remind you of why New York will always be the city that never sleeps.


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Thomas Smith
Thomas Smith
As Visionary and Chief Editor of 122BPM, Thomas is dedicated to inspiring the next generation of music pioneers. With a degree in Music and 10 years industry experience, Thomas is now shaping 122BPM as the central hub for music and audio education.
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