Quotable NYC Quotes

80 Quotable Quotes about New York City and New Yorkers

Quotable Quotes about New York City are a dime a dozen, and flood any online search with the same oft repeated ones that keep doing the rounds, some of which I have written about here. I keep discovering new NYC Sayings as I walk around the city on the Link NYC kiosks, most of which make me nod my head in agreement or even better make me smile given how spot on they are, and these are not ones I tend to run into online.

I sometimes feel like I am on a fool’s errand to spend the time in typing out the text in these and NYC Facts that I am obsessed with as well, but these are truly reflective of my day to day experiences in walking the streets of New York. So here goes, I hope to keep adding to this list as I keep encountering more quotes that strike a chord.

80 New York City Sayings

  1. “Quite simply, I was in love with New York.” Joan Didion
  2. “It is ridiculous to set a detective story in New York City. New York City is itself a detective story.” Agatha Christie
  3.  “But New York was heaven to me. And Harlem was Seventh Heaven!” Malcolm X
  4. “That’s my favorite place in the world, so far…I don’t think I’ll find anything to replace Brooklyn.” Marilyn Monroe
  5.  “My favorite city in the world is New York. Sure, it’s dirty – but like a beautiful lady smoking a cigar.” Joan Rivers
  6. “Living in California adds ten years to a man’s life. And those extra ten years I’d like to spend in New York.” Harry Ruby
  7. “There’s something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.” Simone de Beauvoir
  8. “One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.” Tom Wolfe
  9. “New York is the perfect model of a city, not the model of a perfect city.” Lewis Mumford
  10.  “New York has become my natural habitat. I’d be fenced in anywhere else.” Lola Szladits
  11. “New Yorkers are nice about giving you street directions; in fact, they seem quite proud of knowing there they are themselves.” Katharine Brush
  12. “No other place is so blatant and secret, so empty and alive, so unreal and familiar, so private and noisy.” Maeve Brennan
  13. “A car is useless in New York, essential everywhere else. The same with good manners.” Mignon McLaughlin
  14. “Manhattan is a narrow island off the coast of New Jersey devoted to the pursuit of lunch.” Raymond Sokolov
  15. “New York is the perfect town for getting over a disappointment, a loss, or a broken heart.” Shirley MacLaine, You Can Get There From Here
  16. “It is truly the great city of the world – an organism in itself – neither good nor bad but unique.” John Steinbeck, Steinbeck: A Life in Letters
  17. “[New York City is] like a nation itself – more tolerant than the rest in a curious way.”  John Steinbeck, Steinbeck: A Life in Letters
  18. “I would rather have a square inch of New York than all the rest of the world.” – Texas Guinan
  19. “God is living in New York, and he’s a Mets fan.” Tom Seaver
  20. “Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion.” E.B. White
  21. “It’s one of the things I like most about NYC. It deflects any attempts you make to lie to yourself.” Nicola Yoon, The Sun Is Also A Star
  22. “Pull up the shades so I can see New York. I don’t want to go home in the dark.” O.Henry
  23. “New York provides not only a continuing excitation but also a spectacle that is continuing.” E.B. White
  24. “New York is like a disco, but without the music.” Elaine Stritch
  25. “New York is a city of superlatives, a place where the best, the brightest, the biggest is the norm.” Marilyn J. Appleberg
  26. “Every man [in New York] seems to feel that he has got the duties of two lifetimes to accomplish in one.” Mark Twain
  27. “No matter who you are, if you believe in yourself and your dream, New York will always be the place for you.” Michael Bloomberg
  28. “The wanderer in Manhattan must go forth with a certain innocence, because New York is best seen with innocent eyes.” Pete Hamill
  29. “The genius of survival here is not to make one’s self into steel; you become bamboo, bending in the wind.” Pete Hamill
  30. “Being there was like being in heaven without going to all the bother and expense of dying.” P.G. Wodehouse
  31. “There’s something so soothing about the hum of Grand Central Station.” Rachel Nichols
  32. “New York is the only city where you can get run down on the sidewalk by a pedestrian.” Russell Baker
  33. “When I’m in New York, I just want to walk down the street and feel this thing, like I’m in a movie.” Ryan Adams
  34. “In New York it seems like there’s no Monday or Saturday or Sunday. The town is always moving.” Thierry Henry
  35. “New York is this cacophony, a collection of radical differences, an agreement of non sequiturs.” Thom Mayne
  36. “New York is a diamond iceberg floating in river water.” Truman Capote
  37. “This is the city and I am one of the citizens, whatever interests the rest interests me.” Walt Whitman
  38. “New York is, of course, a lot more than a city. New York is a philosophy of life.” Christa Ludwig, In My Own Voice: Memoirs
  39. “You know, I do speak the Queens English. It’s just the wrong Queens that’s all.” Cyndi Lauper
  40. “It was as if Times Square were a kind of shell, with colors and noises breaking in great waves inside it.” George Selden
  41. “There’s no place like it, no place with an atom of its glory, pride, and exultancy.” Walt Whitman
  42. “The peculiarity of New York is that while the avenues are its show, the side streets are its soul.” Ada Louise Huxtable
  43. “A hundred times I have thought New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times; it is a beautiful catastrophe.” Le Corbusier
  44. “There are so many New Yorks that you can always find the special one that fits your special pattern.” Lucy Sprague Mitchell
  45. “I get out of the cab and it’s probably the only city which in reality looks better than on the postcards.” Milos Forman
  46. “I regret profoundly that I was not an American and not born in Greenwich Village.” John Lennon
  47. “New York was home to me in the way it can be only to those who are born elsewhere.” Jean Mercier, Whatever You Do, Don’t Panic
  48. “So many lights you’d think we were living in a constellation.” Jodi Lynn Anderson, Midnight at the Electric
  49. “I was in love with Harlem long before I got there…” Langston Hughes
  50. “No matter how peculiar you are, you are still normal by New York standards.” Milton Glaser, The Village Voice, 2011
  51. “Even when we are established here, New York somehow still seems a place we aspire to.” Adam Gopnik, Through The Children’s Gate: A Home in New York
  52. “….true New Yorkers might suspect the existence of other places, but they do not quite believe in them.” Andrei Codrescu, Hail Babylon
  53. “New York is the most fascinating city in the world, and the most essentially cosmopolitan.” Richard Burleigh Kimball, To-day in New York: A Novel
  54. “New York is like Everest. If you’re a really good climber, you have to try it.” Bonnie Koloc, New York Magazine
  55. “There is always a part of New York that must keep moving – as if breath itself depends on being frantic, hectic, overwhelmed.” Colum McCann, New York Magazine 2010
  56. “Nothing lasts in New York. The life that is lived there, however, is as intense as it gets.” Edumnd White, City Boy: My Life in New York During the 1960s and 1970s
  57. “There’s a pulse in New York, even on the quietest street, on the quietest day. It’s full of potential.” George Carlin
  58. “New York is the wide-awake place, the all-night city, the city of noise.” Henry Miller, Letters to Emil
  59. “…..New York never stops changing, but it remains faithful to itself and to those who love it.” Luca Spaghetti, Un Amico Italiano: Eat, Pray Love in Rome
  60. “A tricky business, that of understanding New York. The city is always on the move, forever shifting.” Mario Maffi, New York City: An Outsider’s Inside View
  61. “The only credential the city asked was the boldness to dream.” Moss Hart
  62. “….it’s a wonderful town. Ask any New Yorker, and hear him grumble. Then ask him if he’d live anywhere else in the world.” Patricia Moyes, The Coconut Killings
  63. “Manhattan has consistently inspired in its beholders ecstasy about architecture.” Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York: A Retroactive Manifesto for Manhattan
  64. “New York is a world of many worlds.” Richard John Newhaus
  65. “As I open my eyes, I’m afraid. And then I remember: this is not quite the other-world. It’s New York.” Simone de Beauvoir, America Day to Day
  66. New York is an electrifying vibrant city with humanity plugged into life at super-high-octane speed.” Zara Cox, Black Sheep
  67. “Once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.” John Steinbeck
  68. “Anytime four New Yorkers get into a cab without arguing, a bank robbery has just taken place.” Johnny Carson
  69. “Not only is NYC the nation’s melting pot, it is also the casserole, the chafing dish and the charcoal grill.” John Lindsay
  70. “Every person on the streets of New York is a type. The city is one big theater where everyone is on display.” Jerry Rubin
  71. “Everybody ought to have a Lower East Side in their life.” Irving Berlin
  72. “I’d rather be a lamppost on Seventh Avenue than a queen in another country.” Grace Watson
  73. I would rather have a square inch of New York than all the rest of the world.” Texas Guinan
  74. “As only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.” Dorothy Parker
  75. “New York is the meeting place of the peoples, the only city where you can hardly find a typical American.” Djuna Barnes
  76. “New York is an unforgettable picture of what a city ought to be: that is, continuously insolent and alive.” Cyril Connolly
  77. “New  York is where you go to seize the day, to leave your mark, to live within the nerve of your generation.” Cynthia Ozick
  78. “Everything in New York is built upon another thing, nothing is entirely by itself.” Colum McCann
  79. “That’s the problem with being born in New York…You’ve got no New York to run away to.” Amor Towles, Rules of Civility
  80. “New York is then truly the dream-city, city of the towers near to God, city of hopes and visions…” Langston Hughes

Pictures of New York Sayings

And here are the NYC sayings I have taken photographs of on the streets of New York over the years in no particular order.


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Hi, I'm Hanit Gyani, a full time professional by day and a blogger by night and weekend. Welcome to my blog, aka my passion project, Gotta Love New York.

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