View Full Version : Your Favorite NYC Quotation

September 1st, 2003, 01:00 AM
"There is always something going on in New York, and 80% of it goes unsolved"

Don't know who said this but I think it's pretty funny. *Anyways, I'd like to get a list going. *

September 1st, 2003, 09:11 AM
Great post.

And Im sure Im misquoting Le Corbusier but from one of his many visits and essays on New York City.

"New York City has too many skyscrapers, and too few *tall enough."

Im so sorry Le Corbusier, I ruined a great quote. But you guys get the jidst of it right?

September 1st, 2003, 12:27 PM
'The New York skyscraper is only negative. It has destroyed the street and brought traffic to a standstill. It consumes the very life of the population and eats up whole districts around itself, emptying them and bringing ruin. Build the skyscraper bigger and more really useful, [place it in a park] and it will reclaim a vast amount of land, will compensate for depreciated properties, will provide a perfect system of circulation, and will bring trees and open spaces into the city. The pedestrians will have the freedom of parks over the whole ground area and the cars will travel from skyscraper to skyscraper at a hundred miles an hour on one-way elevated roads placed at wide distances apart...
Notice how the great hotels and apartment houses [around Central Park] have naturally come to be built here so as to have the advantage of looking out on space. But Central Park is too big; it is an island in a sea of buildings. Crossing it is like traversing no-man's-land. The trees, grass and... space of Central Park ought to be multiplied and spread over the whole of Manhattan...'
--Le Corbusier, 1936, in a letter to the editor of “American Architect”.

Is this my favorite NYC quote? Hell, no! But it helps put Stern's recollection into nonsensical context. This quote was undoubtedly an influence on the folks who brought us Co-op City.

Well, not quite 100 mph...

(Edited by ablarc at 12:55 pm on Sep. 1, 2003)

(Edited by ablarc at 1:06 pm on Sep. 1, 2003)

(Edited by ablarc at 3:03 pm on Sep. 1, 2003)

September 1st, 2003, 01:31 PM
That's a quote. Stern's was a quotation.

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 - songwriter

September 2nd, 2003, 07:35 AM
"Cities are extraordinarily resilient places, as we witnessed immediately after September 11th in New York City, and adversity, far from undermining civic confidence, can bring about a renewed and determined spirit of community and common endeavour."

--HRH The Prince of Wales, just after September 11

Is this still true two years after?

September 2nd, 2003, 08:01 AM
I'll take Manhattan, the Bronx, and Staten Island too,
it's lovely going through
the zoo (with you)
It's very fancy
on old Delancey
Street, you know.
The subway charms us so,
when balmy breezes blow
to and fro.
And tell me what street
compares with Mott street
in July,
Sweet push carts gently gliding by

The great big city's a wondrous toy,
just made for a girl and boy.
I'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy.

I'll go to Greenwich,
where modern men itch
to be free.
And Bowling Green you'll see
with me.
We'll bathe at Brighton,
the fish you'll frighten
When you're in your bathing suit so thin,
will make shellfish grin
fin to fin.
I'd like to take a
sail on Jamaica
*Bay with you,
the fair Canarsies Lake we'll view

The city's bustle cannot destroy
the dreams of a girl and boy,
I'll turn Manhattan into an isle of joy.

Lyrics by Lorenz Hart
Music by Richard Rodgers
From the Show, "The Garrick Gaieties", *1925

(Edited by ablarc at 8:03 am on Sep. 2, 2003)

September 2nd, 2003, 11:36 AM
Every time I visit this great city, I'm struck by the same thing. A yellow taxicab.

TLOZ Link5
September 2nd, 2003, 05:31 PM
A hundred times I think, "New York is a catastrophe." *But fifty times I think, "It is a beautiful catastrophe."

~ Le Corbusier again

September 2nd, 2003, 07:24 PM
"It'll be a great place if they ever finish it." - O. Henry

September 2nd, 2003, 07:40 PM
To YesIsaidYesIwillYes:

Slightly off-topic. I don't know if it's true, but...

Why don't you write books people can read?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Nora to James Joyce

September 2nd, 2003, 07:48 PM
Zippy -
That is a priceless quote! *Thanks

September 2nd, 2003, 09:17 PM
"Every person on the streets of New York is a type. The city is one big theater where everyone is on display."
- Jerry Rubin

September 2nd, 2003, 09:47 PM
In the same vein:

"Nowhere will you better feel the simultaneity of human lives."

Jean-Paul Sartre

September 3rd, 2003, 11:25 AM
"Anyone who walks up Fifth Avenue on a sunny morning without feeling his spirits lift, is an asshole."

Kingsley Amis, British novelist

September 3rd, 2003, 12:17 PM
Outside America, New York is America, and its skyscraper a symbol of the spirit of America.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *Thomas Adams, 1931

When I'm in New York I look at the Empire State Building and feel as though it belongs to me . . . or is it vice versa?
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * Fay Wray

In New York City, one suicide in ten is attributed to a lack of storage space.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *anon

Can't leave out Walt Whitman:
The beautiful city, the city of hurried and sparkling waters! The city of spires and masts! My city!

September 3rd, 2003, 01:12 PM
"Anyone who walks up Fifth Avenue on a sunny morning without feeling his spirits lift, is an asshole."

I guess I'm an asshole then.

September 3rd, 2003, 01:17 PM
"This is New York, and there's no law against being annoying."
-- William Kunstler, Lawyer

December 9th, 2006, 06:28 AM
"I'm astounded by people who want to 'know' the universe when it's hard enough to find your way around Chinatown." -Woody Allen

(Who let this topic drop so far down?:))

December 9th, 2006, 01:51 PM
Some others, pro and con...

"The present in New York is so powerful that the past is lost."
-- Letter, 1898 John Jay Chapman

"This city here is like an open sewer. It's full of filth and scum."
-- Taxi Driver Travis Bickle (Robert DeNiro)

"New York is a great city to live in if you can afford to get out of it"
-- William Cole, 1992

"A car is useless in New York, essential everywhere else. The same with good manners".
-Mignon McLaughlin

"New York is a different country. Maybe it ought to have a separate government. Everybody thinks differently; they just don’t know what the hell the rest of the United States is".
-Henry Ford

"Unfortunately there are still people in other areas who regard New York City not as part of the United States, but as a sort of excrescence fastened to our Eastern shore and peopled by the less venturesome waves of foreigners who failed to go West to the genuine American frontier."
-Robert Moses

"New York is notoriously the largest and least-loved of any of our great cities. Why should it be loved as a city? It is never the same city for a dozen years altogether. A man born in New York forty years ago finds nothing, absolutely nothing, of the New York he knew. If he chances to stumble upon a few old houses not yet leveled, he is fortunate. But the landmarks, the objects which marked the city to him, as a city, are gone".
-Harpers (1856)

"New York, like London, seems to be a cloacina of all the depravities of human nature".
Thomas Jefferson

December 9th, 2006, 02:05 PM
Does anyone know if all the quotes used on the PATH station are listed anywhere? I think most of those are very good.

December 9th, 2006, 04:05 PM
"New York is always knowing where your purse is."

--Lily Tomlin

December 11th, 2006, 01:04 PM
"New York hates you.." <~~~~ Some guy's T-Shirt.

December 11th, 2006, 01:11 PM
Can't leave out Walt Whitman:
The beautiful city, the city of hurried and sparkling waters! The city of spires and masts! My city!

Definitely one of my favorites! Check out Crossing Brooklyn Ferry in which an excerpt could be found at Fulton Landing.

P.S.- Notice how he talks to you (as the reader) throughout the poem

86 (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86). Crossing Brooklyn Ferry

Walt Whitman (1819–1892).

FLOOD-TIDE below me (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.1)! I watch you face to face;Clouds of the west! sun there half an hour high! I see you also face to face. Crowds of men and women attired in the usual costumes! how curious you are to me!On the ferry-boats, the hundreds and hundreds that cross, returning home (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.4), are more curious to me than you suppose;And you that shall cross from shore to shore years hence, are more to me, and more in my meditations, than you might suppose. 5

The impalpable sustenance of me from all things, at all hours of the day;The simple, compact, well-join’d scheme—myself disintegrated, every one disintegrated, yet part of the scheme:The similitudes of the past, and those of the future;The glories strung like beads on my smallest sights and hearings—on the walk in the street, and the passage over the river;The current rushing so swiftly, and swimming with me far away; 10The others that are to follow me, the ties between me and them;The certainty of others—the life, love, sight, hearing of others. Others will enter the gates of the ferry, and cross from shore to shore;Others will watch the run of the flood-tide;Others will see the shipping of Manhattan north and west, and the heights of Brooklyn to the south and east; 15Others will see the islands large and small;Fifty years hence, others will see them as they cross, the sun half an hour high;A hundred years hence, or ever so many hundred years hence, others will see them,Will enjoy the sunset, the pouring in of the flood-tide, the falling back to the sea of the ebb-tide.

It avails not, neither time or place—distance avails not; 20I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence;I project myself—also I return—I am with you, and know how it is. Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt;Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd;Just as you are refresh’d by the gladness of the river and the bright flow, I was refresh’d; 25Just as you stand and lean on the rail, yet hurry with the swift current, I stood, yet was hurried;Just as you look on the numberless masts of ships, and the thick-stem’d pipes of steamboats, I look’d. I too many and many a time cross’d the river, the sun half an hour high;I watched the Twelfth-month (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.29) sea-gulls—I saw them high in the air, floating with motionless wings, oscillating their bodies,I saw how the glistening yellow lit up parts of their bodies, and left the rest in strong shadow, 30I saw the slow-wheeling circles, and the gradual edging toward the south. I too saw the reflection of the summer sky in the water,Had my eyes dazzled by the shimmering track of beams,Look’d at the fine centrifugal spokes of light around the shape of my head in the sun-lit water,Look’d on the haze on the hills southward and southwestward, 35Look’d on the vapor as it flew in fleeces tinged with violet,Look’d toward the lower bay to notice the arriving ships,Saw their approach, saw aboard those that were near me,Saw the white sails of schooners and sloops—saw the ships at anchor,The sailors at work in the rigging, or out astride the spars, 40The round masts, the swinging motion of the hulls, the slender serpentine pennants,The large and small steamers in motion, the pilots in their pilot-houses,The white wake left by the passage, the quick tremulous whirl of the wheels,The flags of all nations, the falling of them at sun-set,The scallop-edged waves in the twilight, the ladled cups, the frolicsome crests and glistening, 45The stretch afar growing dimmer and dimmer, the gray walls of the granite store-houses by the docks,On the river the shadowy group, the big steam-tug closely flank’d on each side by the barges—the hay-boat, the belated lighter,On the neighboring shore, the fires from the foundry chimneys burning high and glaringly into the night,Casting their flicker of black, contrasted with wild red and yellow light, over the tops of houses, and down into the clefts of streets.

These, and all else, were to me the same as they are to you; 50I project myself a moment to tell you—also I return. I loved well those cities;I loved well the stately and rapid river;The men and women I saw were all near to me;Others the same—others who look back on me, because I look’d forward to them; 55(The time will come, though I stop here to-day and to-night.)

What is it, then, between us?What is the count of the scores or hundreds of years between us? Whatever it is, it avails not—distance avails not, and place avails not.

I too lived (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.60)—Brooklyn, of ample hills, was mine; 60I too walk’d the streets of Manhattan Island, and bathed in the waters around it;I too felt the curious abrupt questionings stir within me,In the day, among crowds of people, sometimes they came upon me,In my walks home late at night, or as I lay in my bed, they came upon me. I too had been struck from the float forever held in solution; 65I too had receiv’d identity by my Body;That I was, I knew was of my body—and what I should be, I knew I should be of my body.

It is not upon you alone the dark patches fall,The dark threw patches down upon me also;The best I had done seem’d to me blank and suspicious; 70My great thoughts, as I supposed them, were they not in reality meagre? would not people laugh at me? It is not you alone who know what it is to be evil;I am he who knew what it was to be evil;I too knitted the old knot of contrariety,Blabb’d, blush’d, resented, lied, stole, grudg’d, 75Had guile, anger, lust, hot wishes I dared not speak,Was wayward, vain, greedy, shallow, sly, cowardly, malignant;The wolf, the snake, the hog, not wanting in me,The cheating look, the frivolous word, the adulterous wish, not wanting,Refusals, hates, postponements, meanness, laziness, none of these wanting. 80

But I was Manhattanese, friendly and proud (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.81)!I was call’d by my nighest name by clear loud voices of young men as they saw me approaching or passing,Felt their arms on my neck as I stood, or the negligent leaning of their flesh against me as I sat,Saw many I loved in the street, or ferry-boat, or public assembly, yet never told them a word,Lived the same life with the rest, the same old laughing, gnawing, sleeping, 85Play’d the part that still looks back on the actor or actress,The same old role, the role that is what we make it, as great as we like,Or as small as we like, or both great and small.

Closer yet I approach you;What thought you have of me, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance; 90I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born. Who was to know what should come home to me?Who knows but I am enjoying this?Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me? It is not you alone, nor I alone; 95Not a few races, nor a few generations, nor a few centuries;It is that each came, or comes, or shall come, from its due emission (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.97),From the general centre of all, and forming a part of all (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.98):Everything indicates—the smallest does, and the largest does;A necessary film envelopes all, and envelopes the Soul for a proper time. 100

Now I am curious what sight can ever be more stately and admirable to me than my mast-hemm’d Manhattan,My river and sun-set, and my scallop-edg’d waves of flood-tide,The sea-gulls oscillating their bodies, the hay-boat in the twilight, and the belated lighter;Curious what Gods can exceed these that clasp me by the hand, and with voices I love call me promptly and loudly by my nighest name as I approach;Curious what is more subtle than this which ties me to the woman or man that looks in my face, 105Which fuses me into you now, and pours my meaning into you. We understand, then, do we not?What I promis’d without mentioning it, have you not accepted?What the study could not teach—what the preaching could not accomplish, is accomplish’d, is it not?What the push of reading could not start, is started by me personally, is it not? 110

Flow on, river! flow with the flood-tide, and ebb with the ebb-tide!Frolic on, crested and scallop-edg’d waves!Gorgeous clouds of the sun-set! drench with your splendor me, or the men and women generations after me;Cross from shore to shore, countless crowds of passengers!Stand up, tall masts of Mannahatta!—stand up, beautiful hills of Brooklyn (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.115)! 115Throb, baffled and curious brain! throw out questions and answers!Suspend here and everywhere, eternal float of solution (http://www.bartleby.com/142/1008.html#86.117)!Gaze, loving and thirsting eyes, in the house, or street, or public assembly!Sound out, voices of young men! loudly and musically call me by my nighest name!Live, old life! play the part that looks back on the actor or actress! 120Play the old role, the role that is great or small, according as one makes it! Consider, you who peruse me, whether I may not in unknown ways be looking upon you;Be firm, rail over the river, to support those who lean idly, yet haste with the hasting current;Fly on, sea-birds! fly sideways, or wheel in large circles high in the air;Receive the summer sky, you water! and faithfully hold it, till all downcast eyes have time to take it from you; 125Diverge, fine spokes of light, from the shape of my head, or any one’s head, in the sun-lit water;Come on, ships from the lower bay! pass up or down, white-sail’d schooners, sloops, lighters!Flaunt away, flags of all nations! be duly lower’d at sunset;Burn high your fires, foundry chimneys! cast black shadows at nightfall! cast red and yellow light over the tops of the houses;Appearances, now or henceforth, indicate what you are; 130You necessary film, continue to envelop the soul;About my body for me, and your body for you, be hung our divinest aromas;Thrive, cities! bring your freight, bring your shows, ample and sufficient rivers;Expand, being than which none else is perhaps more spiritual;Keep your places, objects than which none else is more lasting. 135

We descend upon you and all things—we arrest you all;We realize the soul only by you, you faithful solids and fluids;Through you color, form, location, sublimity, ideality;Through you every proof, comparison, and all the suggestions and determinations of ourselves. You have waited, you always wait, you dumb, beautiful ministers! you novices! 140We receive you with free sense at last, and are insatiate henceforward;Not you any more shall be able to foil us, or withhold yourselves from us;We use you, and do not cast you aside—we plant you permanently within us;We fathom you not—we love you—there is perfection in you also;You furnish your parts toward eternity; 145Great or small, you furnish your parts toward the soul.

December 11th, 2006, 01:22 PM
"New York, in my eyes, was a young, very vital city. But suddenly with Sept. 11, after an enormous tragedy happens, things change. Suddenly New York is no longer a young city. It plays in another league now, like Athens, Rome, Jerusalem. A city that has been burned down and rebuilt. New York now has this depth. It is not the same thing to build here as it was before. It is like building in Jerusalem." - Santiago Calatrava

"New York is the supreme laboratory of modern life." - Ric Burns

"The wealth of the world has a New York address. It piles up in buildings on land that is laced with gold. And perhaps nowhere is the essence of New York more evident than in Greenwich Village—for it is a microcosm of all that New York has become, and in its story is the story of a great city. There are all those people crowded together, brushing against each other, causing the blood to run so fast. Those people are the most powerful people on Earth—in its most powerful city." - Jimmy Breslin

April 20th, 2009, 12:52 PM
^^ About Crossing Brooklyn Ferry, I have found a wonderful documentary in which it does an exceptional job interpreting this poem, as well as documenting Whitmans life and work. It is a series by PBS and the part that speaks of the aforementioned poem is in the "Desperate to Connect (11:27)" segment. The interpretation begins around the beggining of the 6th minute of this segment. If you like this poem I HIGHLy recomend it.


April 24th, 2009, 05:36 PM
I Love New York City.

April 28th, 2009, 09:05 PM
here is by faaaar my favorite ny quote !!! :D

are ya ready? :rolleyes:

"That whole rural thing. It's a joke." Ed Koch

April 28th, 2009, 10:51 PM
“New York is an ugly city, a dirty city. Its climate is a scandal, its politics are used to frighten children, its traffic is madness, its competition is murderous. But there is one thing about it – once you have lived in New York and it has become your home, no place else is good enough.” – John Steinbeck, New York Magazine, February 1, 1953.

April 28th, 2009, 11:01 PM
My personal fav: "The Manhattan Polak is very different from the Bronx Polak. The Manhattan Polak would smuggle in the illegal whiskey secretly so as the cops aren't on 'em or don't see 'em a mile away. In the Bronx, the Polaks don't give a lick if they spotted with it. They'd pull out their guns as quick as lightning and the cops would be dead men in less than a second." NYC Mayor Jimmie Walker (1926-1932)

April 28th, 2009, 11:34 PM
my favorite can be found on a sign ...
in Manhattan
And Brooklyn's version...

Only in NY!

May 4th, 2009, 09:22 PM
Huxtable's comment about our being measured by what we destroy is certainly a memorable quotation, even if I can't cite it verbatim, here.

May 5th, 2009, 04:40 AM

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

The faces in New York remind me of people who played a game and lost....Murray Kempton

The city of right angles and tough, damaged people....Pete Hamill

He speaks English with the flawless imperfection of a New Yorker....Gilbert Millstein

Unfortunately there are still people in other areas who regard New York City not as a part of the United States, but as a sort of excrescence fastened to our Eastern shore and peopled by the less venturesome waves of foreigners who failed to go West to the genuine American frontier....Robert Moses

May 7th, 2009, 03:23 PM
"...There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York for the man or woman who was born here, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size and its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter – the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is the New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these three trembling cities the greatest is the last – the city of final destination, the city that is a goal..."

"...no one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky..."

--E. B. White, from his iconic New Yorker essay "Here is New York" from 1948...required reading for everyone on this Forum.


May 7th, 2009, 03:41 PM
I am no locust! :(

May 11th, 2009, 11:35 PM
"New York, just like I pictured it. Skyscrapers and everything!"

Stevie Wonder
Living for the City (1973)

May 12th, 2009, 10:41 AM
my favorite can be found on a sign ...
in Manhattan
And Brooklyn's version...

Only in NY!
I saw the top one across from St Pat's. It sure did bring a smile to my face. Is that the only one like it?

June 29th, 2009, 06:30 PM
New York had all the iridescence of the beginning of the world.
-- The Crack-Up
F. Scott Fitzgerald

My children were young and my favorite New York was the one they led me through on Sunday afternoons. A girl in high heels can show you Rome, a drinking companion is the best for Dublin, and I enjoyed the New York my children knew.
-- Moving Out
John Cheever

It is an art form to hate New York City properly. So far I have always been a featherweight debunker of New York; it takes too much energy and endurance to record the infinite number of ways the city offends me.
-- The Prince of Tides
Pat Conroy

In Forty-second Street it is a glowing summer afternoon all night: one might almost wear white trousers and a straw hat.
-- New York
Paul Morand

I have never walked down Fifth Avenue alone without thinking of money.
-- North America
Anthony Trollope

So here we are in New-York. To a Frenchman the aspect of the city is bizarre and not very agreeable. One sees neither dome, nor bell tower, nor great edifice, with the result that one has the constant impression of being in a suburb.
-- Journey to America, 1831
Alexis de Tocqueville

New York makes one think of the collapse of civilization, about Sodom and Gomorrah, the end of the world. The end wouldn't come as a surprise here. Many people already bank on it.
-- Mr. Sammler's Planet
Saul Bellow

Tourist #1, looking at subway exits: North side or south side?
Tourist #2: What's the difference?
Tourist #1: Well north is north...and south is south.
(both look from one exit to the next and look at each other)
Passing New Yorker: Are you going uptown or downtown?
Tourist #1, thinking: Hmmmm....west.
New yorker: West of 8th...but uptown or downtown? West side of what street?
Tourist #1: Hmm... West side of...23rd Street?
New Yorker, walking away: You don't know what the hell you're doing.

--23rd St

Gregory Tenenbaum
July 1st, 2009, 01:17 PM
"What's this, ha' we got all the white homos in Harlem these days?"

A Mr T looking dude talking to his friend while I walked up 5th around 128th to get a coffee at the eatery there (nice place) recently.

July 2nd, 2009, 04:07 PM
195: there's a similar sign on the western fence of the Cyclone in Coney Island.

July 15th, 2009, 01:16 AM

a free metro newspaper hawker at my 14th st/8th ave subway station was saying this all that morning:

"everybody dies, everybody dies, even micheal jackson dies. everybody dies, everybody dies, even micheal jackson dies..." :(

July 21st, 2009, 04:35 PM
"Bronx is an old Indian word meaning "Hey Chief all the trees is dead.""

Archie Bunker