Last year, I spent a weekend in Arizona with some friends from college. I flew from Philly to Phoenix on a five hour flight, and I forgot my iPod. It was the worst. It didn’t make things easier that I was making my cross country trip on the 10th anniversary of the September 11th terrorist attacks. Everyone in the airport was on edge and a nice playlist would have made things much easier on me.
This is just how I am. Music makes everything better in my mind. I don’t know what I would do without my headphones when I hop on the 1 train for my daily, morning commute. I’m sure for some of you, this doesn’t entirely register, but many of you are just like me. We need music.
A couple of summers ago I took an even longer flight; this time from Newark to Heathrow in London. For this journey, I made a special playlist on my iPod. It was full of songs about London, and England, and Europe and songs by Englishmen.. It was all about my trip, and it put me in the perfect mood.
This got me thinking about our guests. Many of you travel great distances to visit New York City and enjoy our tours. With that in mind, I decided to make a playlist in hopes that it makes your travel a little bit easier.
Last Friday, we asked you on Facebook what your favorite New York themed song was, and your response was not very surprising. At least it wasn’t surprising to me, because the two songs that were mentioned are, in my mind, songs 1 and 1a about NYC. Frank and Jay-Z. Old school and new school. The Theme from New York, New York and Empire State of Mind.
But while those are probably the two most popular New York based songs, there are literally hundreds of others. Our Spotify playlist consists of 46 songs, from Elton John to The Rolling Stones; from Beastie Boys to Wu-Tang Clan. The list includes songs from each of the past 9 decades, with the oldest tune being ‘Rhapsody in Blue’ (1924).
The criteria for choosing songs were simple: Each song is either about New York, or has a strong connection to the City. (For example: I know Bruce Springsteen’s ‘My City Of Ruins’ was originally written about Asbury Park, NJ, but when it was performed at the 9/11 telethon, it immediately became a song about New York, too.)
There are two important things to still point out about this list. First is that some of the songs on the playlist have very explicit lyrics. I just couldn’t justify a New York playlist that didn’t include Jay-Z. Don’t worry; I plan on making a censored playlist for those of you who would like one.
The second thing is that this playlist isn’t complete. In fact, it never will be. If there is a song that you would like to see added, let me know. Post it in the comments here, write it on our timeline on Facebook or Tweet at us @graylinenewyork.