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:
On the Melting Pot
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
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 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
On New Yorkers
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 W.K., musician and party enthusiast
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 think the funniest thing in New York is the guys in Central Park who draw sketches of you. I brought my son when he was a little kid, real cute, and there were like 14 guys who did sketches—so I got 14 different ones. They can’t do eyes. The kid always looks like the devil because his eyes are without soul or anything, you know? And whenever they do a picture of you, they go, “What do you like to do, my friend?”
You go, “I don’t know.…”
“Do you like to golf?”
“I guess a little….”
Suddenly you have a golf club in your hand in the sketch.
—Norm Macdonald, comedian
On the Struggle
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
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
On the Good Old Days
Every day at noon, I would have a power lunch on the ground floor of this great Mies [van der Rohe] 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.
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
On…All the Stuff
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 love that the bars are open till 4am. I love the breadth of happy hours in this town. I love that the best drag queens in the world perform here nightly: Bianca Del Rio, Sherry Vine, Logan Slaughter and more. I love that you can see [cabaret performer] Justin Vivian Bond at Joe's Pub, or hang out for free while Andrew Andrew deejay at Parkside Lounge. I love that you can go play bingo with Murray Hill and Linda Simpson and actually hope not to win—go to find out why! I love that you can catch up-and-coming superstars Molly Pope, Erin Markey or Cole Escola singing and telling stories that are hilarious and heartbreaking at 10pm on a school night. And, after all that, there's a taco truck or Chinese food waiting for you if you need it.
—Bridget Everett, cabaret performer
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
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.
—Christian Mazzalai, Phoenix guitarist
On the Bigness
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
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
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