60+ Funny, Inspiring, & True New York Quotes

New York is a vibrant city full of contradictions.

And while I could certainly type up hundreds of words about this beautiful city, New York has been such a hotbed for writers, artists, filmmakers, and creatives of all types that frankly, my work has already been done for me.

Here is a [small] selection of my favorite New York quotes.

Quotes about New York by Authors

“There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless.” 
― Simone de Beauvoir, philosopher, activist, and author of The Second Sex

“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 the beauty in the world.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby

“New York had all the iridescence of the beginning of the world.” 
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby

“I love New York, even though it isn’t mine, the way something has to be, a tree or a street or a house, something, anyway, that belongs to me because I belong to it.” 
― Truman Capote, author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“London is satisfied, Paris is resigned, but New York is always hopeful. Always it believes that something good is about to come off, and it must hurry to meet it.”
Dorothy Parker, poet

“People go to LA to ‘find themselves’, they come to New York to become someone new.” 
― Lindsey Kelk, author of I Heart New York

“Is it beauty and genius they want to see? Do they seek a sense of the sublime? Let them come to New York, stand on the shore of the Hudson, look and kneel.”
― Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead

“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, author of Heartburn

“I still believed in possibilities then, still had the sense, so peculiar to New York, that something extraordinary would happen any minute, any day, any month.” 
― Joan Didion, author of Slouching Towards Bethlehem

“I love New York. You can pop out of the Underworld in Central Park, hail a taxi, head down Fifth Avenue with a giant hellhound loping behind you, and nobody even looks at you funny.” 
― Rick Riordan, author of Percy Jackson & The Olympians

“If man can live in Manhattan, he can live anywhere.” 
― Arthur C. Clarke, science fiction author

“Silence? What can New York-noisy, roaring, rumbling, tumbling, bustling, story, turbulent New York-have to do with silence? Amid the universal clatter, the incessant din of business, the all swallowing vortex of the great money whirlpool-who has any, even distant, idea of the profound repose……of silence?” 
― Walt Whitman, poet

“New York is large, glamorous, easy-going, kindly and incurious, but above all it is a crucible – because it is large enough to be incurious.” 
― Ford Madox Ford, author of The Good Soldier

“I would give the greatest sunset in the world for one sight of New York’s skyline. Particularly when one can’t see the details. Just the shapes. The shapes and the thought that made them. The sky over New York and the will of man made visible. What other religion do we need?”
― Ayn Rand, author of The Fountainhead

“New York is a diamond iceberg floating in river water.” 
― Truman Capote, author of Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“…for in [New York] there is neurosis in the air which the inhabitants mistake for energy.”
Evelyn Waugh, author of Brideshead Revisited

“New York is appalling, fantastically charmless and elaborately dire.” 
― Henry James, author of The Turn of the Screw

“So I went to New York City to be born again. It was and remains easy for most Americans to go somewhere else and start anew…. and when the [train] plunged into a tunnel under New York City, with its lining of pipes and wires, I was out of the womb and into the birth canal.” 
― Kurt Vonnegut, author of Bluebeard

“Cut off as I am, it is inevitable that I should sometimes feel like a shadow walking in a shadowy world. When this happens I ask to be taken to New York City. Always I return home weary but I have the comforting certainty that mankind is real flesh and I myself am not a dream.”
Helen Keller, activist and author of Midstream: My Later Life

“If London is a watercolor, New York is an oil painting.” 
― Peter Shaffer, playwright

“Damage has been done to your city. You say, ‘It happened overnight.’ But of course it didn’t. Your pizza parlor, his shoeshine stand, her hat store: when they were here, we neglected them. For all you know, the place closed down moments after the last time you walked out the door. (Ten months ago? Six years? Fifteen? You can’t remember, can you?) And there have been five stores in that spot before the travel agency. Five different neighborhoods coming and going between then and now, other people’s other cities. Or 15, 25, 100 neighborhoods. Thousands of people pass that storefront every day, each one haunting the streets of his or her own New York, not one of them seeing the same thing.”
Colson Whitehead, author of The Colossus of New York

“Each neighborhood of the city appeared to be made of a different substance, each seemed to have a different air pressure, a different psychic weight: the bright lights and shuttered shops, the housing projects and luxury hotels, the fire escapes and city parks.” 
― Teju Cole, author of Open City

“One of those out-of-the-ordinary days that made sense of the slew of ordinary days. New York had a way of doing that. Every now and then the city shook its soul out. It assailed you with an image, or a day, or a crime, or a terror, or a beauty so difficult to wrap your mind around that you had to shake your head in disbelief.” 
― Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

“While America will always, I think, feel foreign to me, New York City is my home. This is where I can construct my own identity freely and reject labels imposed on me.” 
― Raquel Cepeda, journalist, author, and filmmaker

“When you leave New York you ain’t going anywhere.” 
― Jimmy Breslin, journalist and author

“Sometimes, from beyond the skycrapers, the cry of a tugboat finds you in your insomnia, and you remember that this desert of iron and cement is an island.” 
― Albert Camus, existential philosopher and author of The Stranger

“It couldn’t have happened anywhere but in little old New York.” 
― O. Henry, famous short story author

“New York is the only city in the world where you can get run down on the sidewalk by a pedestrian.” 
― Russell Baker, journalist, satirist, and autobiographer

“There is more sophistication and less sense in New York than anywhere else on the globe.” 
― Elbert Hubbard, writer, philospher, and artist

“He fell in love with Manhattan’s skyline, like a first-time brothel guest falling for a seasoned professional. He mused over her reflections in the black East River at dusk, dawn, or darkest night, and each haloed light-in a tower or strung along the jeweled and sprawling spider legs of the Brooklyn Bridge’s spans-hinted at some meaning, which could be understood only when made audible by music and encoded in lyrics.” 
― Arthur Phillips, author of The Song Is You

“The city is like poetry; it compresses all life, all races and breeds, into a small island and adds music and the accompaniment of internal engines.” 
― E.B. White, author of Here is New York

“It can destroy an individual, or it can fulfill him, depending a good deal on luck. No one should come to New York to live unless he is willing to be lucky.”
― E.B. White, author of Here is New York

“Back and forth from Brooklyn to Manhattan. New York at night, from its bridges, is a miracle. When I first came to the city, it took all my fantasies and set them on fire, turned them into flickering constellations of light. Then it did the same with my history.”
― Melissa Febos, author of Whip Smart: A Memoir

“It was never built for the comfort and happiness of its citizens, but to astonish the world.” 
― Susan Ertz, author of Anger in the Sky

“New York – that unnatural city where every one is an exile, none more so than the American” 
― Charlotte Perkins Gilman, author of The Yellow Wallpaper

Quotes About Being a New Yorker

“The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.” 
― John Updike, author of Rabbit Run

“Once you have lived in New York and made it your home, no place else is good enough” 
― John Steinbeck, author of The Grapes of Wrath

“True New Yorkers do not really seek information about the outside world. They feel that if anything is not in New York it is not likely to be interesting.” 
― Jimmy Breslin, author and journalist

“Yet, as only New Yorkers know, if you can get through the twilight, you’ll live through the night.”
― Dorothy Parker, poet

“Every true New Yorker believes with all his heart that when a New Yorker is tired of New York, he is tired of life.” 
― Robert Moses, controversial New York urban planner

“One belongs to New York instantly, one belongs to it as much in five minutes as in five years.”
Tom Wolfe, author of The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test

“You can do what you like, sir, but I’ll tell you this. New York is the true capital of America. Every New Yorker knows it, and by God, we always shall.” 
― Edward Rutherfurd, author of New York: A Novel

“When its 100 degrees in New York, it’s 72 in Los Angeles. When its 30 degrees in New York, in Los Angeles it’s still 72. However, there are 6 million interesting people in New York, and only 72 in Los Angeles.” 
― Neil Simon, playwright and author

“It is necessary to find one’s own way in New York. New York City is not hospitable. She is very big and she has no heart. She is not charming. She is not sympathetic. She is rushed and noisy and unkempt, a hard, ambitious, irresolute place, not very lively, and never gay. When she glitters she is very, very bright, and when she does not glitter she is dirty. New York does nothing for those of us who are inclined to love her except implant in our hearts a homesickness that baffles us until we go away from her, and then we realize why we are restless. At home or away, we are homesick for New York not because New York used to be better and not because she used to be worse but because the city holds us and we don’t know why.” 
― Maeve Brennan, author and journalist

“This is the city, and I am one of the citizens. Whatever interests the rest interests me.” 
― Walt Whitman, poet

“It was generally agreed that a coffin-size studio on Avenue D was preferable to living in one of the boroughs. Moving from one Brooklyn or Staten Island neighborhood to another was fine, but unless you had children to think about, even the homeless saw it as a step down to leave Manhattan. Customers quitting the island for Astoria or Cobble Hill would claim to welcome the change of pace, saying it would be nice to finally have a garden or live a little closer to the airport. They’d put a good face one it, but one could always detect an underlying sense of defeat. The apartments might be bigger and cheaper in other places, but one could never count on their old circle of friend making the long trip to attend a birthday party. Even Washington Heights was considered a stretch. People referred to it as Upstate New York, though it was right there in Manhattan.” 
― David Sedaris, author of Me Talk Pretty One Day

TV & Movie Quotes about New York

“New York was his town, and it always would be.” 
― Manhattan

“Anything is possible. This is New York.”
― Sex in the City

“The only people who can afford to be artists in New York are rich.”
Frances Ha

“You’re a New Yorker, that won’t ever change. You got New York in your bones.”
25th Hour

“I always heard people in New York never get to know their neighbors.”
― Breakfast at Tiffany’s

“He adored New York. He idolized it all out of proportion…. He was too romantic about Manhattan, as he was about everything else. He thrived on the hustle-bustle of the crowds and traffic.”
― Manhattan

Quotes about New York by Celebrities

“A middle finger is more New York than a corporate ambush. I bleed for my hometown, and I’d die for my fans.” 
― Lady Gaga, singer and performer

“New York was a city where you could be frozen to death in the midst of a busy street and nobody would notice.”
Bob Dylan, musician

“When you leave New York, you are astonished at how clean the rest of the world is. Clean is not enough.” 
― Fran Lebowitz, actress and author

“I regret profoundly that I was not an American and not born in Greenwich Village. It might be dying, and there might be a lot of dirt in the air you breathe, but this is where it’s happening.” 
― John Lennon, singer in The Beatles

“A hundred times have I thought New York is a catastrophe, and fifty times : It is a beautiful catastrophe.” 
― Le Corbusier, famous architect, painter, and urban planner

“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, industrialist and founder of Ford Motors

“I knew I couldn’t live in America and I wasn’t ready to move to Europe so I moved to an island off the coast of America – New York City .” 
― Spalding Gray, actor and writer

“The whole of New York is rebuilt about once in ten years.” 
― Philip Hone, 19th century New York mayor

“No place epitomizes the American experience and the American spirit more than New York City.” 
― Michael Bloomberg, former New York mayor and philanthropist