Sidewalks of New York, Charles Lawlor and James Blake
Mannahatta, Walt Whitman
Letter to New York, Elizabeth Bishop
Talking New York, Bob Dylan
We’ll Have Manhattan, Lorenz Hart (Richard Rogers)
New York, Edward Field
20 (The Candystore), Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Uptown Girl, Billy Joel
The Boy from New York City, George Davis and John T. Taylor
Advertisement for the Waldorf Astoria, Langston Hughes
Mermaid Avenue, Woodie Guthrie
The New Collosus, Emma Lazarus

*                    *                      *

Sweet Georgia Brown, Kenneth Casey
Union Air in Union Square, Woody Guthrie
In a Prominent Bar in Secausus One Day, X. J. Kennedy

Sidewalks of New York
by Charles Lawlor and James Blake

Down in front of Casey’s old brown wooden stoop,
On a summer’s evening we formed a merry group;
Boys and girls together, we would sing and waltz,
While the “Ginnie” played the organ
On the Sidewalks of New York.

That’s where Johnny Casey and little Jimmy Crowe,
With Jakey Krause, the baker, who always had the dough;
Pretty Nellie Shannon with a dude as light as cork,
She first picked up the waltz step
On the Sidewalks of New York.

Things have changed since those times,
Some are up in “G,”
Others, they are wand’rers, but they all feel just like me
They’d part with all they’ve got, could they but once more walk
With their best girl and have a twirl
On the Sidewalks of New York.

East side, west side, all around the town,
The tots sang “Ring-a-Rosie,” “London Bridge is Falling Down.”
Boys and girls together, me and Mamie O’Rourke,
Tripped the light fantastic
On the sidewalks of New York.


by Walt Whitman

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.
Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly,
musical, self-sufficient.
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays, superb,
Rich, hemm’d thick all around with sailships and steamships, an
island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong,
light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining
islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters, the
ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model’d,
The down-town streets, the jobbers’ houses of business, the houses
of business of the ship-merchants and money-brokers, the
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses, the
brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the river,
passing along up or down with the flood-tide or ebb-tide,
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form’d,
beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
[Sidewalks] throng’d, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the shops and
A million people–manners free and superb–open voices–hospitality–
the most courageous and friendly young men,
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!


Letter to New York
by Elizabeth Bishop

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Talking New York*
by Bob Dylan

Ramblin’ out of the wild West,
Leaving the towns I love best
Thought I’d seen some ups and down
‘Til I come into New York town
People goin’ down to the ground
Building goin’ up to the sky.

Wintertime in New York town,
The wind blowin’ snow around
Walk around with nowhere to go,
Somebody could freeze right to the bone.
I froze right to the bone.
New York Times said it was the coldest winter in seventeen years;
I didn’t feel so cold then.

I swung on to my old guitar,
Grabbed hold of a subway car,
And after a rocking, reeling, rolling ride,
I landed up on the downtown side;
Greenwich Village.

I walked down there and ended up
In one of them coffee-houses on the block.
Got on the stage to sing and play,
Man there said, “Come back some other day,
You sound like a hillbilly;
We want folksingers here.”

Well, I got a harmonica job begun to play,
Blowin’ my lungs out for a dollar a day.
I blowed inside out and upside down.
The man there said he loved m’ sound;
He was ravin’ about he loved m’ sound;
Dollar a day’s worth.

After weeks and weeks of hangin’ around
I finally got a job in New York town
In a bigger place, bigger money too.
Even joined the Union and paid my dues.

Now, a very great man once said
That some people rob you with a fountain pen.
It don’t take too long to find out
Just what he was talkin’ about.
A lot of people don’t have much food on their-table,
But they got a lot of forks ‘n’ knives,
And they gotta cut somethin’.

So one mornin’ when the sun was warm,
I rambled out of New York town.
Pulled my cap down over my eyes.
And heated out for the western skies.
So long New York.
Howdy, East Orange.

* Used with the kind permission of Bob Dylan Music Company.


We’ll Have Manhattan
by Lorenz Hart (Richard Rogers)

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New York
by Edward Field

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20 (The Candystore)
by Lawrence Ferlinghetti

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Uptown Girl
by Billy Joel

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The Boy from New York City
by George Davis and John T Taylor

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Advertisement for the Waldorf Astoria
by Langston Hughes

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Mermaid Avenue
by Woodie Guthrie

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The New Colossus
by Emma Lazarus

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. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”