New York City
New York City, also known as New York, is the largest city of the United States by population, with 8.6 million residents in 2016. It was settled in 1613 by Dutch and originally called New Amsterdam. New York City is popularly known as the "The Big Apple", "Gotham City", "Empire City", "Fun City", "The Naked City" and the "City That Never Sleeps". Manhattan Island is often referred to as "The City" by New Yorkers, despite being only one part of the city itself. New York City is often referred to as "the Capital of the World", due to its size, wealth, and for its hosting of the United Nations organization headquarters.
- Sorted alphabetically by author or source
- The last time anybody made a list of the top hundred character attributes of New Yorkers, common sense snuck in at number 79.
- Douglas Adams, "Mostly Harmless".
- New York is the only city in the world where you can get deliberately run down on the sidewalk by a pedestrian.
- Russell Baker, reported in Rand Lindsly's Quotations.
- Everybody ought to have a lower East Side in their life.
- Irving Berlin, Vogue (Nov. 1, 1962)
- I can't see heaven but I credit hell —
I live in New York so I know it well.
- John Brunner, Stand on Zanzibar (1968), the happening world (6): "Street Seen"
- Manhattan. Sometimes from beyond the skyscrapers, across thousands of high walls, the fearful cry of a too-well-known voice finds you in your insomnia in the middle of the night, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island of un-reality.
- Albert Camus, American Journals (1978).
- New York is the only real city-city.
- Truman Capote, Quoted by James A. Clapp in The City: A Dictionary of Quotable Thoughts on Cities and Urban Life
- In New York, most people don't have cars, so if you want to kill a person, you have to take the subway to their house. And sometimes on the way, the train is delayed and you get impatient, so you have to kill someone on the subway. That's why there are so many subway murders; no one has a car.
- George Carlin, Brain Droppings
- Donald Trump has been uncommonly nice to Hillary and me. We're all New Yorkers. And I like him. And I love playing golf with him.
- We are all New Yorkers, just as surely as John F. Kennedy declared himself to be a Berliner in 1962 when he visited Berlin.
- Jean-Marie Colombani, Le Monde (liberal), Paris, France, Sept. 12, 2001.
- New York City, often referred to as the greatest city in the world.
- Doug DeMuro, "Hummer Tour of New York City" (29 July 2015), YouTube.
- I am no more a child, but a man; no longer a confederacy, but a nation. I am no more Virginia, New York, Carolina, or Massachusetts, but the United States of America.
- New York was no mere city. It was instead an infinitely romantic notion, the mysterious nexus of all love and money and power, the shining and the perishable dream itself. To think of 'living' there was to reduce the miraculous to the mundane; one does not 'live' at Xanadu.
- New York: where everyone mutinies but no one deserts.
- Harry Hershfield, reported in Rand Lindsly's Quotations.
- I used to love to call L.A. when I lived in New York. "What're y'all doin'? Talkin' to TV producers, huh? Bummer. Me? I'm readin' a book! Yeah, we're thinkin' back East! Yeah, we're evolving. Is that "The Big One" I hear in the background? Bye, you lizard scum, bye!
- Bill Hicks, "Goodbye, Lizard Scum" Arizona Bay.
- The selling and enslaving of the human species is a direct violation of the natural rights alike vested in them by their creator, and utterly inconsistent with the avowed principles on which this, and the other states have carried on their struggle for liberty.
- New York is appalling, fantastically charmless and elaborately dire.
- Henry James, Selected Letters of Henry James, Edited by Leon Edel
- New York City is the most fatally fascinating thing in America. She sits like a great witch at the gate of the country, showing her alluring white face, and hiding her crooked hands and feet under the folds of her wide garments,--constantly enticing thousands from far within, and tempting those who come from across the seas to go no farther. And all these become the victims of her caprice. Some she at once crushes beneath her cruel feet; others she condemns to a fate like that of galley slaves; a few she favors and fondles, riding them high on the bubbles of fortune; then with a sudden breath she blows the bubbles out and laughs mockingly as she watches them fall.
- James Weldon Johnson, The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.
- The only reason I wouldn't go to some parts of New York is the real risk of meeting Donald Trump.
- Scientific progress over the past years has been amazing. Man through his scientific genius has been able to dwarf distance and place time in chains, so that today it's possible to eat breakfast in New York City and supper in London.
- Back in about 1753 it took a letter three days to go from New York City to Washington, and today you can go from here to China in less time than that... Man's scientific genius has been amazing.
- Leave us alone, or else expect us in New York and Washington.
- When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough.
- Fran Lebowitz, reported in Rand Lindsly's Quotations.
- A hundred times I have thought: New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times: it is a beautiful catastrophe.
- New York now leads the world's great cities in the number of people around whom you shouldn't make a sudden move.
- David Letterman, Late Show with David Letterman Feb. 9, 1984.
- Traffic signals in New York are just rough guidelines.
- David Letterman, Late Show with David Letterman.
- Chief Justice does not directly assert, but plainly assumes, as a fact, that the public estimate of the black man is more favorable now than it was in the days of the Revolution. This assumption is a mistake. In some trifling particulars, the condition of that race has been ameliorated; but, as a whole, in this country, the change between then and now is decidedly the other way; and their ultimate destiny has never appeared so hopeless as in the last three or four years. In two of the five states – New Jersey and North Carolina – that then gave the free negro the right of voting, the right has since been taken away and in a third – New York – it has been greatly abridged...
- New York: A third-rate Babylon.
- H. L. Mencken, reported in Rand Lindsly's Quotations.
- One thing l love about New York City is its diversity. There are different people from all over the globe sharing their culture and building their communities. For example, New York’s Chinatown is the largest Chinese community in the western hemisphere.
- Ji-woo Park, "A North Korean in New York" (23 May 2010), by J.W. Park, NK News.
- I bow my head to the victims of terrorism. I am highly impressed of the courage of New York residents. The great city and the great American nation are to win!
- Vladimir V. Putin, inscription at the World Trade Center Memorial Wall (15 November 2001).
- That particular sense of sacred rapture men say they experience in contemplating nature- I've never received it from nature, only from. Buildings, Skyscrapers. I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York's skyline. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need? And then people tell me about pilgrimages to some dank pest-hole in a jungle where they go to do homage to a crumbling temple, to a leering stone monster with a pot belly, created by some leprous savage. Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel. When I see the city from my window - no, I don't feel how small I am - but I feel that if a war came to threaten this, I would like to throw myself into space, over the city, and protect these buildings with my body.
- Living in California adds ten years to a man's life. And those extra ten years I'd like to spent in New York.
- Harry Ruby, reported in Rand Lindsly's Quotations.
- New York is a woman, holding, according to history, a rag called liberty with one hand, and strangling the earth with the other.
- Syrian poet Ali Ahmad Said (pseudonym Adunis) in "The Funeral of New York".
- When its 100 degrees in New York, its 78 in Los Angeles. When its 10 degrees in New York, its 78 in Los Angeles. There are two million interesting people in New York. There are 78 in Los Angeles.
- Visitors to places like New York are amazed to see the way in which Serbs and Croatians, Sikhs and Hindus, Irish Catholics and Irish Protestants, Jews and Palestinians, all seem to work and live together in harmony. How is this possible when these same groups are spearing each other and burning each other's homes in so many places in the world?
- Dinesh D'Souza, "10 things to celebrate: Why I'm an anti-anti-American" (29 June 2003), SFGate.
- The American Indians sold Manhattan to the Dutch for $700 in today's money. My point is, that's what Manhattan was worth then. It was useless, it was just a piece of land, like any other piece of land which you can buy today for $700 in many places in the world. Manhattan today is the result of the people who built it, not the original inhabitants who occupied or sold it.
- Dinesh D'Souza, Dinesh D'Souza Takes On The Case For Reparations: 'The Innovation Of America Is The Result Of Capitalism', The Daily Caller (18 June 2014).
- New York is baffling in that it's a city that prides itself on being an absolute shithole. It's like — there's nothing good here, people are proud of that, they're happy, 'Oh, it's overpriced, and it's overpopulated, and it stinks like piss, and comics! — comics film specials here!' And they all open with a joke about, 'Yeah, you spend 8 thousand dollars a month for 9 square feet!' And you go, 'Well, why do you fucking live here?' Why do people stay here?.. But unfortunately, this is where comedy works — where people are the most miserable.
- Doug Stanhope, No Refunds.
- Sometimes I get bored riding down the beautiful streets of L.A. I know it sounds crazy, but I just want to go to New York and see people suffer.
- Donna Summer, reported in Rand Lindsly's Quotations.
- City of prose and fantasy, of capitalist automatism, its streets a triumph of cubism, its moral philosophy that of the dollar. New York impressed me tremendously because, more than any other city, it is the fullest expression of our modern age.
- Leon Trotsky, My Life, 1930. Baron, Joseph L., ed (1956). A Treasury of Jewish Quotations. New York: Crown Publishers, Inc.. p. 332.
- The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.
- John Updike, The New Yorker (March 29, 1976)
- Village neighbors [Singing theme song]:
In this cold and heartless city
Isn't the village a pretty place
Aglow in the morning sun?
Though the world may not be perfect yet,
Still the only way we're gonna get any better is if we try.
Look at the fun we've been missing
Things like huggin' and kissin'
So let's enjoy it the way we should.
Tell me what's so bad,
Tell me what's so bad
About feeling good?
Always thought that life was just a drag
Now this daisy's got a brand new bag
Hey world take a good look at me.
Though I'm flying high as a kite,
What turns me on is the sight of life,
The grooviest trip of all
Best kick I've ever had,
So tell me what's so bad about feeling good?
- Village neighbors [Singing theme song]: So don't forget to carry a smile
And maybe after a while it will all turn out the way it should
So tell me what's so bad about feeling good?
- What's So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968), theme song sung by the Village neighbors in the film.
- Village neighbors [Singing theme song]:
- The subtlest change in New York is something people don't speak much about but that is in everyone's mind. The city, for the first time in its long history, is destructible. A single flight of planes no bigger than a wedge of geese can quickly end this island fantasy, burn the towers, crumble the bridges, turn the underground passages into lethal chambers, cremate the millions. The intimation of mortality is part of New York now: in the sounds of jets overhead, in the black headlines of the latest edition.
All dwellers in cities must dwell with the stubborn fact of annihilation; in New York the fact is somewhat more concentrated because of the concentration of the city itself and because, of all targets, New York has a certain clear priority. In the mind of whatever perverted dreamer who might loose the lightning, New York must hold a steady, irresistible charm.
- E.B. White, "Here Is New York," Holiday (1948); reprinted in Here is New York (1949)
- No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.
- E.B. White, Here is New York (1949)
- Faculty X is simply that latent power in human beings possess to reach beyond the present. After all, we know perfectly well that the past is as real as the present, and that New York and Singapore and Lhasa and Stepney Green are all as real as the place I happen to be in at the moment. Yet my senses do not agree. They assure me that this place, here and now, is far more real than any other place or any other time. Only in certain moments of great inner intensity do I know this to be a lie. Faculty X is a sense of reality, the reality of other places and other times, and it is the possession of it — fragmentary and uncertain though it is — that distinguishes man from all other animals.
- Colin Wilson in The Occult: A History , p. 59 (1971)
- New York blazes like a magnificent jewel in its fit setting of sea, and earth, and stars.
- One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.
- Thomas Wolfe, Explore, April 15, 2009 edition
- In New York the opportunities for learning, and acquiring a culture that shall not come out of the ruins, but belong to life, are probably greater than anywhere else in the world.
- From my room, I could lie across my bed and watch the cars rush along Central Park West. In a hurry to get someplace. Everyone in New York is in a hurry. You see businessmen walking fast, their heads bowed, the cuffs of their pants flapping hard against their ankles. They don't look at anyone. Once I followed this man, walking so close behind him I could have been his daughter—but he never even looked over and noticed me. For two blocks I walked like that beside him. It made me sad for him—that he could walk through this world without looking left or right.
- Jacqueline Woodson, If You Come Softly (1998) p. 15-16
- Fiction; inner thoughts of Elisha
- New York is symbolic for the pride of mankind.
Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922)Edit
Quotes reported in Hoyt's New Cyclopedia Of Practical Quotations (1922), p. 552-53.
- Stream of the living world
Where dash the billows of strife!—
One plunge in the mighty torrent
Is a year of tamer life!
City of glorious days,
Of hope, and labour and mirth,
With room and to spare, on thy splendid bays
For the ships of all the earth!
- Richard Watson Gilder, The City.
- Silent, grim, colossal, the Big City has ever stood against its revilers. They call it hard as iron; they say that nothing of pity beats in its bosom; they compare its streets with lonely forests and deserts of lava. But beneath the hard crust of the lobster is found a delectable and luscious food. Perhaps a different simile would have been wiser. Still nobody should take offence. We would call nobody a lobster with good and sufficient claws.
- O. Henry, Between Rounds. In Four Million.
- New York is the Caoutchouc City. * * * They have the furor rubberendi.
- O. Henry, Comedy in Rubber. In The Voice of the City.
- In dress, habits, manners, provincialism, routine and narrowness, he acquired that charming insolence, that irritating completeness, that sophisticated crassness, that overbalanced poise that makes the Manhattan gentleman so delightfully small in his greatness.
- O. Henry, Defeat of the City. In The Voice of the City.
- Far below and around lay the city like a ragged purple dream. The irregular houses were like the broken exteriors of cliffs lining deep gulches and winding streams. Some were mountainous; some lay in long, monotonous rows like, the basalt precipices hanging over desert cañons. Such was the background of the wonderful, cruel, enchanting, bewildering, fatal, great city. But into this background were cut myriads of brilliant parallelograms and circles and squares through which glowed many colored lights. And out of the violet and purple depths ascended like the city's soul, sounds and odors and thrills that make up the civic body. There arose the breath of gaiety unrestrained, of love, of hate, of all the passions that man can know. There below him lay all things, good or bad, that can be brought from the four corners of the earth to instruct, please, thrill, enrich, elevate, cast down, nurture or kill. Thus the flavor of it came up to him and went into his blood.
- O. Henry, The Duel. In Strictly Business.
- Well, little old Noisyville-on-the-Subway is good enough for me * * * Me for it from the rathskellers up. Sixth Avenue is the West now to me.
- O. Henry, The Duel. In Strictly Business.
- "If you don't mind me asking," came the bell-like tones of the Golden Diana, "I'd like to know where you got that City Hall brogue. I did not know that Liberty was necessarily Irish." "If ye'd studied the history of art in its foreign complications, ye'd not need to ask," replied Mrs. Liberty, "If ye wasn't so light and giddy ye'd know that I was made by a Dago and presented to the American people on behalf of the French Government for the purpose of welcomin' Irish immigrants into the Dutch city of New York. 'Tis that I've been doing night and day since I was erected."
- O. Henry, The Lady Higher Up. In Sixes and Sevens.
- GEORGE WASHINGTON, with his right arm upraised, sits his iron horse at the lower corner of Union Square * * * Should the General raise his left hand as he has raised his right, it would point to a quarter of the city that forms a haven for the oppressed and suppressed of foreign lands. In the cause of national or personal freedom they have found refuge here, and the patriot who made it for them sits his steed, overlooking their district, while he listens through his left ear to vaudeville that caricatures the posterity of his protégés.
- O. Henry, A Philistine in Bohemia. In Voice of the City.
- If there ever was an aviary overstocked with jays it is that Yaptown-on-the-Hudson, called New York. Cosmopolitan they call it, you bet. So's a piece of fly-paper. You listen close when they're buzzing and trying to pull their feet out of the sticky stuff. "Little old New York's good enough for us"—that's what they sing.
- O. Henry, A Tempered Wind. In The Gentle Grafter.
- You'd think New York people was all wise; but no, they can't get a chance to learn. Every thing's too compressed. Even the hayseeds are bailed hayseeds. But what else can you expect from a town that's shut off from the world by the ocean on one side and New Jersey on the other?
- O. Henry, A Tempered Wind. In The Gentle Grafter.
- Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of exiles.
- Emma Lazarus, The New Colossus.
- Some day this old Broadway shall climb to the skies,
As a ribbon of cloud on a soul-wind shall rise,
And we shall be lifted, rejoicing by night,
Till we join with the planets who choir their delight.
The signs in the streets and the signs in the skies
Shall make a new Zodiac, guiding the wise,
And Broadway make one with that marvelous stair
That is climbed by the rainbow-clad spirits of prayer.
- Vachel Lindsay, Rhyme about an Electrical Advertising Sign.
- Up in the heights of the evening skies I see my City of Cities float
In sunset's golden and crimson dyes: I look and a great joy clutches my throat!
Plateau of roofs by canyons crossed: windows by thousands fire-furled—
O gazing, how the heart is lost in the Deepest City in the World.
- James Oppenheim, New York from a Skyscraper.
- Just where the Treasury's marble front
* Looks over Wall Street's mingled nations,—
Where Jews and Gentiles most are wont
* To throng for trade and last, quotations;
Where, hour, by hour, the rates of gold
* Outrival, in the ears of people,
The quarter-chimes, serenely tolled
From Trinity's undaunted steeple.
- Edmund Clarence Stedman, Pan in Wall Street.
- I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters.
- The next Augustan age will dawn on the other side of the Atlantic. There will, perhaps, be a Thucydides at Boston, a Xenophon at New York, and, in time, a Virgil at Mexico, and a Newton at Peru.
- Horace Walpole, English art historian, writer, antiquarian and politician in a letter to Sir Horace Mann (24 November 1774).
- Lo! body and soul!—this land!
Mighty Manhattan, with spires, and
The sparkling and hurrying tides, and the ships;
The varied and ample land,—the South
And the North in the light—Ohio's shores, and flashing Missouri,
And ever the far-spreading prairies, covered with grass and corn.
- Walt Whitman, Sequel to Drum-Taps. When Lilacs Last in the Door-Yard Bloom'd, Stanza 12.
- Cause when you leave New York
Man, you don't go anywhere
It's a city where a man
Can fulfill his dreams
The only town that's left
That's got three baseball teams
(That's why New York's his home)
Let me never leave it
New York's my home, sweet home
- Sammy Davis, New York's My Home (1956).
- If I can make it there, I'm going to make it anywhere! It's up to you, New York!
- Frank Sinatra, "Theme From New York, New York".
- New York City, you are now riding with 50 Cent! You've got to love it!
- Curtis James Jackson III, "21 Questions" (2003).
- I run New York. Yayo tell them, I run New York.
- You're fucking with a dirty New Yorker. Queens in this bitch, fall back or get roped up.
- In New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made, oh
There's nothing you can't do, now you're in New York
These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let's hear it for New York
New York, New York.
- But we're hunters; we take pride in airing our prey out. Leaving them laid out, dead, in just a sport. Because we aren't playing up here in New York.
- One hand in the air for the big city
Street lights, big dreams, all lookin' pretty
No place in the world that could compare
Put your lighters in the air
Everybody say "yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah"
- 'Cause everyone's my friend in New York City
And everything looks beautiful when you're young and pretty
The streets are paved with diamonds and there's just so much to see
But the best thing about New York City is you and me.
- They Might Be Giants, New York City.
- Brownsville, Flatbush, Crown Heights, Brooklyn Zoo... Welcome to the jungle. New York, New York. Gangsters use sign language, and let their guns talk.
- New York, I love you. But, you're bringing me down. Like a rat in a cage, pulling minimum wage.
- In New York freedom looks like too many choices
In New York I found a friend to drown out the other voices
Voices on the cell phone
Voices from home
Voices of the hard sell
Voices down the stairwell
In New York, just got a place in New York
- U2, New York.
- 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, she is a porno
and the pavements they are a mess
I know you've supported me for a long time
somehow I'm not impressed
New York Cares (got to be some more change in my life)
- Interpol, NYC.
- Me, I'm takin' a Greyhound
On the Hudson River line
I'm in a New York State of Mind
- Billy Joel, New York State of Mind.
- It's easier to leave than to be left behind
Leaving was never my proud
Leaving New York, never easy
I saw the light fading out
You find it in your heart, it's pulling me apart
You find it in your heart, change...
- R.E.M., Leaving New York.
- Why do we still live here
In this repulsive town?
All our friends are in New York
- The Magnetic Fields, 100,000 Fireflies.