10 Best Quotes About New York City

Ah, New York. The city of all cities—a playground for the rich, famous, and utterly destitute.

In honor of our mighty urban epicenter, here’s a list of some choice New York City quotes by the literary geniuses who’ve previously inhabited these very streets. They too have tasted that ubiquitous juxtaposition of complete satisfaction and constant unrest… which, by the way, just so happens to keep this city thrilling.


“And New York is the most beautiful city in the world? It is not far from it. No urban night is like the night there... Squares after squares of flame, set up and cut into the aether. Here is our poetry, for we have pulled down the stars to our will.”

-- Ezra Pound

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”

-- Tom Wolfe

“When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough.”

-- Fran Lebowitz

“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of 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.

...Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness; natives give it solidity and continuity; but the settlers give it passion. ”

-- E.B. White, Here Is New York

“The city seen from the Queensboro Bridge is always the city seen for the first time, in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world.”


F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

“I look out the window and I see the lights and the skyline and the people on the street rushing around looking for action, love, and the world’s greatest chocolate chip cookie, and my heart does a little dance.” 

-- Nora Ephron

“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.”

-- Simone De Beauvoi

“New York walking isn’t exercise: it’s a continually showing make-your-own movie.” 

-- Roy Blount Jr.  

“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 other place is good enough.”

-- John Steinbeck

"I can't believe it now, that the city opened before us like some land of dreams, but it did."

-- Mary Cantwell, Manhattan, When I Was Young