Over the years, we’ve talked to a lot of famous folks about why they love the City. Here are some of their best quotes about the five boroughs:
I just want to be around people who are completely strange to me. Every person who walks by is, like, the most intense person you've ever seen! And you wonder, what gall, what nerve did they have to come here and make it here and want to be here?
—Andrew WK, musician and party enthusiast
When I wrote Fury, which is very contemporary, I thought, I can't write about New York in the way that a born and raised New Yorker would write about it, and it would be embarrassing to try to do so. So I tried to write about "arrival" in the way that V.S. Naipaul wrote The Enigma of Arrival about England, because this is a city that has been shaped by arrivals—by people coming over and over and over again, and within moments of being here, becoming New Yorkers. By showing up in New York, your story also becomes a New York story.
—Salman Rushdie, author
When you're on the subway, there's no first class. Everyone's there together. I have kind of a joke I do when people ask “why would you raise your kids in New York City?” And I say, “So they don't end up like you.”
—Jim Gaffigan, comedian
We live in a cultural Garden of Eden. You walk down the street and in one block you hear five languages, you have visuals and sounds of all these cultures. It's educational and inspiring to live in and experience NYC—that's what keeps me here.
—Patricia Field, designer
I taught seventh-grade English; I taught at-risk kids in Queens; I danced at bar mitzvahs; I wrote jingles for commercials; I had garage sales of my parents’ things to make rent. I did whatever I had to do to keep the lights on. You just do what you can do so that you can keep doing what you love.
—Lin-Manuel Miranda, Hamilton playwright and star
New York is just the comedy town. I feel the iconic image of the stand-up comic is in New York City, in places like the Comedy Cellar and Carolines. You think about the great comedians that come here—from the clubbiest comedians to the most artsy alt-comedians. New York audiences do not suffer fools and they do not suffer pretentiousness.
—Chris Gethard, comedian
There's an openness to New York and New Yorkers in general that I'm really fond of. It's one of those places where you're out and about amongst people all day. I'm not dissing Los Angeles or anything—I like it too—but you're in a car so much in LA. Here everyone is saying hi to you.
—Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead actor
I returned to Brooklyn because it's closest to my heart, and I have history here, which I wanted to share with my children. Let's face it, the world has changed everywhere, but NYC is still the biggest melting pot in the world. The diversity in culture is unmatched.
—Debi Mazar, Younger actress
The first time I came to New York was to sign my first contract. I was 18 years old. I was just in awe of this City and I really embraced it. I’ve tried to make it like a second home. The fans have welcomed me from day one. They’ve seen a lot of mistakes on my part, a lot of strikeouts and errors. But they’ve always had my back, and I’m proud to be an honorary New Yorker.
—David Wright, New York Mets baseball player
When [salespeople ask “Do you like comedy?,”] I just laugh and keep walking. You have no idea. You have no idea that I used to be the person that you used to give out tickets for to go see at these little crappy venues. I was that person.
—Jay Pharoah, comedian
Every day at noon, I would have a power lunch on the ground floor of this great Mies building at the most exciting restaurant in town, the Four Seasons (which was one of my first accounts). Here, my fellow creatives and I worked through lunch while dining like royalty.
—George Lois, real-life Mad Man.
I wanted to reassess my life and go a little bit underground. So I think I did feel like that here. No one knew who I was. It's a bigger city. I kind of just wanted to be a face in the crowd, you know? Go to shows, work a job, go to MoMA, be a fan, make some money. And that's what I did—so it was partially by choice, and it was very exciting.
—Travis Morrison, Dismemberment Plan singer
We wanted to pick a city where there was a chance that Philip Glass would come to a show. It's obviously a long shot, but there's no way he'd come to Hadley, Massachusetts, the other place we'd considered.
—Eugene Mirman, comedian and Bob’s Burgers voice
If you need a jolt, one of the best things in the world to do is get off the subway at Times Square and walk around for 20 minutes.
—Nico Tortorella, Younger actor
My uncle—my mom’s brother, who I’m very close to—lives in the City. He’s lived there his whole life. So I grew up going to see him a lot, spending weekends with him, going all over. He’d take me to Rangers games, even though I became an Islanders fan. We’d walk around and get Papaya King hot dogs.
—Chris Weidman, UFC fighter
People had said to me New York is kind of cutthroat and people walk past you on the street. I find it the opposite. I find that people want to talk.
—Frank Lampard, soccer player
With the kids, we go to the theater to see the shows. You have the best shows in the world here, no? And they love it. The last one I saw with my wife and kids was Matilda. It was very nice for the kids. And we saw Mamma Mia!; this is a classic. You know, with five kids, you don't have a lot of time. But we have to go see more shows.
—Raul, soccer player
New York, what could I say? For a French guy—a Parisian guy—New York is perfectly exotic, and at the same time you feel at home. It’s very French and very American. It’s all of the great musicians like Steve Reich and Lou Reed. For me, this is New York. The Strokes. There are so many good bands, like the Dirty Projectors.
—Christian Mazzalai, Phoenix guitarist
I like to go anywhere in Queens. If you take the 7 train, you’ll go through Long Island City; the Filipino part of Sunnyside; then you go through Woodside, which is Irish, Colombian, Central American; then you go to 74th Street, which is Indian; then you’re in Corona, which is Mexican. Then you go to Shea Stadium—I mean Citi Field—and there are Chinese and Korean people in Flushing. Every stop is a neighborhood. You can walk down Roosevelt Avenue and you’ve lived in a whole world.
—Colin Quinn, comedian
I like the character of the Upper West Side and that it's family-friendly. But, ultimately, the fact that we have so many subway options from here is huge. I have left home for a Rangers game five minutes before it was supposed to start, jumped on the express subway and got to Madison Square Garden in time to hear the last few bars of the national anthem. So that's handy.
—Pat Kiernan, television host
New York City is the best shopping city in the world. It gets you in the holiday spirit with the amazing window displays, the crowds of shoppers and the energy of the City.
—Fern Mallis, designer
Back when I was young and just starting out in New York, one of my favorite places to bring a date was the Staten Island Ferry. You can’t beat the views—or the price! See the skyline, the Statue of Liberty and all the harbor lights—it’s a great way to spend a night, and it’s all for free.
—Michael R. Bloomberg, former mayor