Ryan Adams’ ‘New York, New York’ Is Still Beautiful, Still Haunting


Oh, Sunday is the ten year anniversary of 9/11! Have you heard? Of course you have. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready for it to go away, so we’ve done our best to steer clear of 9/11-related stuff here at Uproxx, and we have — with the exception of the montage of World Trade Center appearances in films, because it was too amazing not to post. And with that I was content to let it all go by without acknowledging it again because there are plenty of other outlets that are all too anxious and willing to rehash all that.

But then the other day I was reminded of Ryan Adams’ “New York, New York” — a soulful love letter to the city that earned Adams a Grammy nomination. The song was also included on The Guardian’s list of 1000 Songs Everyone Must Hear. The video for that song was shot on September 7, 2001 with the World Trade Center as the backdrop as Adams performed the song from the Brooklyn shore under the Brooklyn Bridge, four days before two planes would take the towers down.

It’s a beautiful song, but a haunting one knowing the story behind the aforementioned video, which is below along with the song’s lyrics.

Well, I shuffled through the city on the 4th of July
I had a firecracker waiting to blow
Breakin’ like a rocket who makin’ its way
To the cities of Mexico
Lived in an apartment out on Avenue A
I had a tar-hut on the corner of 10th
Had myself a lover who was finer than gold
But I’ve broken up and busted up since

And love don’t play any games with me
Anymore like she did before
The world won’t wait, so I better shake
That thing right out there through the door
Hell, I still love you, New York

Found myself a picture that would fit in the folds
Of my wallet and it stayed pretty good
Still amazed I didn’t lose it on the roof of the place
When I was drunk and I was thinking of you
Every day the children they were singing their tune
Out on the streets and you could hear from inside
Used to take the subway up to Houston and 3rd
I would wait for you and I’d try to hide

And love won’t play any games with me
Anymore if you don’t want it to
The world won’t wait and I watched you shake
But honey, I don’t blame you
Hell, I still love you, New York
Hell, I still love you, New York
New York

I remember Christmas in the blistering cold
In a church on the upper west side
Babe, I stood their singing, I was holding your arm
You were holding my trust like a child
Found a lot of trouble out on Avenue B
But I tried to keep the overhead low
Farewell to the city and the love of my life
At least we left before we had to go

And love won’t play any games with you
Anymore if you want ’em to
So we better shake this old thing out the door
I’ll always be thinkin’ of you
I’ll always love you though New York
I’ll always love you though New York, New York, New York

Y’all have a great weekend.

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