115 Poems about New York to Explore the City with Literature

Explore the depths of how New York has been portrayed in poems throughout history with this list of fifty impressive works.

These poems about New York fill pages with cities bustling with life, culture and stories amidst a resonating skyline.

As Cynthia Ozick once said of the city: “In New York there is always something going on—everywhere you look people are living their life in fullness.”

So put on your walking shoes: it’s time to explore the Big Apple through poems about New York city that will take you for a journey both romantic and realist.

Best Poems about New York

Whether you’re a lifelong New Yorker looking to connect more deeply with your city, or just passing through and hoping to experience it in a unique way, these poems about New York are sure to offer you a fresh perspective on the Big Apple. Check them out!

1. New York, New York

       by Frank Sinatra

These streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you
Let the city take you away
That’s up to you, New York, New York

New York, New York, it’s a helluva town
Broadway, bright lights, you made me proud
You gave me my chance to do my dance
And every night, you’re always on my mind

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town
The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down
The buildings are high, you never touch the sky
You’re a dream come true, New York, New York

2. Mannahatta

       by Walt Whitman

I hear Brooklyn roar with lifted sides,
I hear the chorus of pavérs,
I hear the rush of the six o’clock cars,
I hear the soothing sound of the gong of the bell,
I hear the whistles of the steamers,
I hear the musical voices of the immigrants,
I hear the click of the types of the printing-house,
I hear the blare of brass bands at night,
I hear the beat of the negro drums and banjoes,
I hear the sound of the policeman’s whistle,
I hear the song of the street-singer,
I hear the clear call of the bugles and fifes,
I hear the gay shouts of the children as they play,
I hear the crash of the cymbals as the procession passes,
I hear the roar of the crowds on the Fourth of July,
I hear the sound of the city and the country,
I hear the sound of the present and the past,
I hear the sound of the world.

3. Ode to New York

       by Federico García Lorca

In the city that never sleeps,
Where the lights are always bright,
There’s a rhythm, a beat, a pulse,
That keeps the city alive.

The streets are crowded, the sidewalks packed,
With people from all walks of life,
Rushing to and fro,
With their own destinations in mind.

The buildings are tall, the skyscrapers touch the sky,
Casting shadows that dance and sway,
As the sun makes its way across the city,
Painting the skyline with hues of gold and gray.

The noise is deafening, the sirens wail,
The cars honk, the people chatter,
But amidst the chaos, there’s a sense of order,
A harmony that keeps the city together.

New York, New York,
A city of dreams, a city of hope,
A city that never sleeps,
A city that’s always on the move.

4. New York 1950

       by Delmore Schwartz

A morning clear and cool
Spreads over the city’s pool,
A city built for the sun,
Whose towers kiss her, one by one.

The city’s breath is loud and clear,
A song that all can hear,
A song of hope, a song of pride,
A song that will not hide.

The city’s heart is warm and strong,
A beacon to the world so long,
A beacon of hope, a beacon of light,
A beacon that shines so bright.

5. Walking Around New York

       by Rainer Maria Rilke

I walk around New York, a stranger at home,
Amongst the millions with their faces set,
Like masks of silence in the noisy street.

I am a stranger, yet I know this place,
As if my soul had always lived here,
In the shadows of the buildings, in the hum of traffic,
In the faces of the people I pass by.

I am a stranger, yet I feel at home,
In this city of contradictions, of dreams and despair,
Where hope and fear walk hand in hand,
And where the future is always in the air.

6. The Oasis in the Metropolis

       by Anonymous

A verdant sanctuary,
Nestled amidst the concrete jungle,
An escape from the relentless pace,
Of the city’s beating heart.
The rustling leaves whisper secrets,
As the wind weaves its way,
Through the labyrinth of branches,


A hushed lullaby for the weary.
Sunlight filters through the canopy,
Painting dappled patterns on the ground,
A dance of shadows and light,
In harmony with the rhythm of nature.
A moment of respite,
A chance to breathe,
To find solace in the embrace,
Of this oasis in the metropolis.

7. The Night’s Embrace

       by Anonymous

The sun sets, casting,
A golden glow upon the skyline,
A fleeting moment of serenity,
Before the night awakens.
The city is transformed,
Under the cover of darkness,
A playground for the nocturnal,
The seekers of adventure.
Neon signs beckon,
Promising excitement and intrigue,
The whispers of temptation,
Luring the curious and the bold.
In the shadows, stories unfold,
Secrets shared, lives entwined,
Bound together by the magic,
Of the night’s embrace.

8. City of Dreams

       by Anonymous

Skyscrapers stand tall,
Dreams and ambitions held high,
New York, city grand.

9. Serenity in Chaos

       by Anonymous

Central Park’s green heart,
Nature’s refuge from the rush,
Calm amidst chaos.

10. A Symphony Underground

       by Anonymous

Subway roars below,
Metal beasts in dark tunnels,
Life’s rhythm persists.

11. Nightlife Unleashed

       by Anonymous

Neon lights flicker,
Nocturnal playground ignites,
New York comes alive.

12. Among the Skyscrapers

       by Anonymous

Towers scrape the sky,
Concrete jungle, dreams alight,
City of wonders,
In the heart of the chaos,
Opportunity abounds.

13. The Melting Pot

       by Anonymous

Faces blend as one,
Cultures meet in harmony,
New York’s tapestry,
Weaving stories together,
Rich threads of life intertwined.

14. Nightfall’s Magic

       by Anonymous

Sunsets fade to night,
Neon lights ignite the dark,
New York comes alive,
Magic courses through her veins,
A nocturnal wonderland.

15. A City’s Symphony

       by Anonymous

In New York’s heart, a symphony does play,
Where concrete giants scrape against the sky.
The city’s pulse, it beats both night and day,
With dreams and passions that will never die.
By day, the sun glints off glass towers tall,
And golden rays illuminate the scene.
The streets alive with faces, voices call,
A melting pot of cultures, rich and keen.
At dusk, the city’s skyline turns to art,
As hues of orange, pink and purple blend.
The night arrives, and stars take up their part,
To bathe the town in light that will not end.
New York, your beauty shines for all to see,
An endless source of life, love and liberty.

16. The Concrete Jungle’s Call

       by Anonymous

The city that never sleeps, they say,
A jungle made of steel and stone.
New York, you beckon us to stay,
To make these bustling streets our own.
We wander through your maze-like paths,
Exploring every corner, turn.
Each day brings new delights and laughs,
And still, for more, our hearts do yearn.
From Central Park to Brooklyn Bridge,
Your landmarks stand, proud and grand.
A tapestry of life, we live,
Within your grasp, your firm command.
New York, you hold our dreams and fears,
The city that’s adored for years.

17. Ode to the Subway

       by Anonymous

Beneath the city’s surface lies a vein,
A web of iron tracks and roaring trains.
The subway, heartbeat of New York, sustains
A flow of life above, through sun and rain.
Each station, filled with stories yet untold,
Of love and loss, of hope and shattered dreams.
Within these darkened tunnels, tales unfold,
While metal beasts on rusting rails do scream.
The sounds of buskers echo through the halls,
Their melodies, a balm for weary hearts.
And as we wait, anticipation calls,
To whisk us to our next adventure’s start.
New York’s subway, pulsing life below,
A testament to progress, ebb and flow.

18. The Lady in the Harbor

       by Anonymous

Upon an island in the harbor stands,
A lady proud, her torch held high and bright.
A symbol of New York, she guards the lands,
A beacon of freedom’s everlasting light.
Her copper skin, now green with age and time,
Still shines with strength, resilience and grace.
She greets each traveler with hope sublime,
A promise of a new life to embrace.
With open arms, she welcomes one and all,
From distant shores, they come to seek their fate.
In this great city, dreams will never stall,
For opportunity lies at every gate.
The Statue of Liberty, ever strong,
In New York’s heart, forever will belong.

19. The Spirit of Broadway

       by Anonymous

Through neon lights and curtain calls, it thrives,
The spirit of the stage on Broadway’s streets.
In New York’s heart, where art and passion strive,
The magic of the theater comes to meet.
Each play and musical, a tale unique,
Performed by those who’ve honed their craft with care.
From classic works to daring, bold critique,
The stage ignites with life beyond compare.
Within the theater’s walls, we laugh and cry,
As stories touch our souls and make us feel.
We leave inspired, our spirits soaring high,
Transformed by what was once just ink and quill.
New York’s Broadway, home of dreams and art,
Forever holds a place within our heart.

20. Ode to the City That Never Sleeps

       by Anonymous

Oh, New York, your streets run deep,
A concrete jungle where dreams never sleep.
Your skyline soars, a vision of might,
An empire’s testament, reaching for the sky.
In Central Park, a haven of green,
Nature’s embrace amid the city’s gleam.
The bustling crowds, their stories unfold,
As subways rumble, and street vendors scold.
A melting pot where cultures collide,
Each borough unique, with its own sense of pride.
From Harlem’s soul to Brooklyn’s charm,
New York, you hold us in your loving arms.
Your bridges span rivers wide and strong,
Connecting hearts and minds all day long.
The Statue of Liberty stands firm and true,
A symbol of freedom, guiding us through.
Oh, New York, your spirit endures,
In every corner, your magic allures.

21. Ode to the Heartbeat of Broadway

       by Anonymous

The lights of Broadway shimmer and shine,
A beacon of hope, where dreams intertwine.
The stage is set, the curtains part,
And in that moment, we feel the beat of your heart.
Actors and dancers, singers and more,
United by passion, they take to the floor.
A tale unfolds, enchanting our minds,
As we lose ourselves in the stories we find.
From classic revivals to daring new works,
Broadway, you challenge, inspire, and irk.
Your marquee lights burn bright in the night,
A testament to your power and might.
The applause erupts, the final bow,
For a fleeting moment, time stops somehow.
In the heart of New York, you’ll always remain,
Broadway, your essence we cannot contain.

22. Ode to the Artistic Soul of SoHo

       by Anonymous

In the streets of SoHo, creativity thrives,
A tapestry of art, where passion survives.
Galleries and studios, a feast for the eyes,
A vibrant landscape, where inspiration lies.
Cobbled streets, lined with history’s face,
The echoes of a past, we can still embrace.
The cast-iron facades, their beauty preserved,
A testament to a legacy, rightfully deserved.
From street art to sculptures, paintings and more,
SoHo, you’ve opened up a wondrous door.
A playground for artists, a sanctuary of sorts,
In the heart of New York, your spirit contorts.
A blend of old and new, a fusion complete,
The artistic soul of SoHo, forever replete.
Your essence lingers in every brushstroke,
In each creation, your spirit evokes.

Famous Poems about New York

These famous poems about New York are not only a great way to explore the city but also to connect with its history and culture. So take a break from your sightseeing and spend some time reading about the city that never sleeps. You won’t regret it.

1. Autumn Dusk in Central Park

       by Evelyn Scott

Featureless people glide with dim motion through a quivering blue silver;
Boats merge with the bronze-gold welters about their keels.
The trees float upward in gray and green flames.
Clouds, swans, boats, trees, all gliding up a hillside
After some gray old women who lift their gaunt forms
From falling shrouds of leaves.
 
Thin fingered twigs clutch darkly at nothing.
Crackling skeletons shine.
Along the smutted horizon of Fifth Avenue
The hooded houses watch heavily
With oily gold eyes.

2. Broadway

       by Carl Sandburg

I shall never forget you, Broadway
Your golden and calling lights.
 
I’ll remember you long,
Tall-walled river of rush and play.
 
Hearts that know you hate you
And lips that have given you laughter
Have gone to their ashes of life and its roses,
Cursing the dreams that were lost
In the dust of your harsh and trampled stones.

3. Avenue of the Americas

       by Calvera Tomczak

From desert to city, already forgotten new arrivals in Manhattan.

The rumble came deep and steady screeching like machines of Morlocks unsettling for first time street bench sitter

The underground maze not puzzling the night dweller masturbater and gloomy overcoat prisoners,

hiding from howling New York city apparitions of wolves in air vents of bathroom, 13th floor, for the second time

Street visions of Ginsberg in SoHo, I am sleepless and mind lost,

wandering walking with a quarter dollar black plastic bag from laundromat twisting knuckles needing maps

Wide awake in Times Square lights considering month long Canadian nights in the gateway to the rockies

Graceful Chinatown newspaper ballet, dances to subway grate hooded by tobacco smoke in palms of black gloves

and Canal harbours black clad Manhattan Island hipsters with knees greeting leather greeting sheep holding spines

from the remaining winter chill at 5pm evening, like ghosts we are receding

Simulated midair crucifixion in Central Park with upside down squirrels
dancing with dinosaurs on rock tombs of their friends, witnessed the bowing down to Godliness

and strawberries hidden in the imagination of each in the field

Blue blonde by pond the skeletal arms and fingers of trees creeping across the sky spookily

wonder if she’s scribbling about her life and what it’s all about

I smelt grass down Rambling, felt the warmth between lips and breath of fleeting romance of man and woman in stone enclave

(On the subway from Broadway to Times Square wondered about mystic similarities unknown unnoticed,

they were children they had parents, what do we have in common? The mythic proportions of New York)

Eyes gouged away at grouting between granite rectangular pavement on South Broadway

revealing subterranean time lapse backwards through history

I say goodbye NY while worrying about records in the belly of the Greyhound bound for the Capital

at least I’m not hungover

The Garden State Parkway somehow reminds me that eights are bound to live long and die alone

It doesn’t have to be dark to see stars in America, red and white folding over flag poles above spring red fiery amber tips of branches look like flames

national parks and forests are slowly putting their clothes back on after being naked for so long

Turquoise right arm polka dot brunette made inquisitive eyes at Egyptian good luck coin and Aswan octagon over sternum, at chest

I also noticed hers. I want to fold America up into my notebook and take it home.

4. Broadway

       by Edith Matilda Thomas

I
Between these frowning granite steeps
The human river onward sweeps;
And here it moves with torrent force,
And there it slacks its heady course:
But what controls its variant flow
A keener wit than mine must show,
Who cast myself upon the tide,
And merging with its current glide–
A drop, an atom, of the whole
Of its great bulk and wandering soul.
 
O curbless river, savage stream,
Thou art my wilderness extreme,
Where I may move as free, as lone,
As in the waste with wood o’ergrown,
And broodings of as brave a strain
May here unchallenged entertain,
Whether meridian light display
The swift routine of current day,
Or jet electric, diamond-clear,
Convoke a world of glamour here.
 
Yet when of solitude I tire,
Speak comradeship to my desire,
O most companionable tide,
Where all to all are firm allied,
And each hath countenance from the rest,
Although the tie be unconfessed!
II
I muse upon this river’s brink;
I listen long; I strive to think
What cry goes forth, of many blent,
And by that cry what thing is meant–
What simple legend of old fate
Man’s voice, here inarticulate,
From out this dim and strange uproar
Still heaves upon the skyey shore!
 
Amid this swift, phantasmal stream
Sometimes I move as in a dream;
Then wondrous quiet, for a space,
The clanging tumult will displace;
And toil’s hard gride and pleasure’s hum
No longer to my ear may come:
A pantomimic, haunted throng
Fareth in silence deep and strong,
And seems in summoned haste to urge,
Half prescient, towards a destined verge!
 
The river flows–unwasting flows;
Nor less nor more its volume grows,
From source to sea still onward rolled,
As days are shed and years are told;
And yet, so mutable its wave,
That no man twice therein may lave,
But, ere he can return again,
Himself shall subtle change sustain;
Since more and more each life must be
Tide-troubled by the drawing sea.

5. Broadway

       by Lola Ridge

Light!
innumerable ions of light,
Kindling, irradiating,
All to their foci tending …
 
Light that jingles like anklet chains
On bevies of little lithe twinkling feet,
Or clingles in myriad vibrations
Like trillions of porcelain
Vases shattering …
 
Light over the laminæ of roofs,
Diffusing in shimmering nebulæ
About the night’s boundaries,
Or billowing in pearly foam
Submerging the low-lying stars …
 
Light for the feast prolonged–
Captive light in the goblets quivering …
Sparks evanescent
Struck of meeting looks–
Fringéd eyelids leashing
Sheathed and leaping lights …
Infinite bubbles of light
Bursting, reforming …
Silvery filings of light
Incessantly falling …
Scintillant, sided dust of light
Out of the white flares of Broadway–
Like a great spurious diamond
In the night’s corsage faceted …
 
Broadway,
In ambuscades of light,
Drawing the charmed multitudes
With the slow suction of her breath–
Dangling her naked soul
Behind the blinding gold of eunuch lights
That wind about her like a bodyguard.
 
Or like a huge serpent, iridescent-scaled,
Trailing her coruscating length
Over the night prostrate–
Triumphant poised,
Her hydra heads above the avenues,
Values appraising
And her avid eyes
Glistening with eternal watchfulness …
 
Broadway–
Out of her towers rampant,
Like an unsubtle courtesan
Reserving nought for some adventurous night.

6. Broadway

       by Walt Whitman

What hurrying human tides, or day or night!
What passions, winnings, losses, ardors, swim thy waters!
What whirls of evil, bliss and sorrow, stem thee!
What curious questioning glances–glints of love!
Leer, envy, scorn, contempt, hope, aspiration!
Thou portal–thou arena–thou of the myriad long-drawn lines and groups!
(Could but thy flagstones, curbs, facades, tell their inimitable tales;
Thy windows rich, and huge hotels–thy side-walks wide;)
Thou of the endless sliding, mincing, shuffling feet!
Thou, like the parti-colored world itself–like infinite, teeming,
mocking life!
Thou visor’d, vast, unspeakable show and lesson!

7. Broadway

       by Maxwell Bodenheim

With sardonic futility
The multi-coloured crowd,
Hurried by fervent sensuality,
Flees from something carried on its back.
Endlessly subdued, a sound
Pours up from the crowd,
Like some one ever gasping for breath
to utter releasing words.
Through the artificial valley
Made by gaudy evasions,
The stifled crowd files up and down,
Stabbing thought with rapid noises.
Women strutting dulcetly,
Embroider their unappeased hungers,
And men stumble toward a flitting opiate.
Sometimes a moment breaks apart
And one can hear the knuckles
Of children rapping on towering doors:
Rapping on the highway
Where civilization parades
Its frozen amiabilities!

8. New York

       by Theodore Sedgwick Fay

But see! the broadening river deeper flows,
Its tribute floods intent to reach the sea,
While, from the west, the fading sunlight throws
Its softening hues on stream, and field, and tree;
All silent nature bathing, wondrously,
In charms that soothe the heart with sweet desires,
And thoughts of friends we ne’er again may see,
Till lo! ahead, Manhattan’s bristling spires,
Above her thousand roofs red with day’s dying fires,
May greet the wanderer of Columbia’s shore,
Proud Venice of the west! no lovelier scene.
Of thy vast throngs now faintly comes the roar,
Though late like beating ocean surf I ween—
And everywhere thy various varks are seen,
Cleaving the limpid floods that round thee flow,
Encircled by the banks of sunny green—
The panting steamer plying to and fro,
Or the tall sea-bound ship abroad on wings of snow.

9. Harlem

       by Langston Hughes

What happens to a dream deferred?
Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore—
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over—
like a syrupy sweet?
Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.
Or does it explode?

10. City Trees

       by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The trees along this city street, Save for the traffic and the trains, Would make a sound as thin and sweet As trees in country lanes.

And people standing in their shade Out of a shower, undoubtedly Would hear such music as is made Upon a country tree.

Oh, little leaves that are so dumb Against the shrieking city air, I watch you when the wind has come,— I know what sound is there.

11. The Subway

       by Joyce Kilmer

Tired clerks, pale girls, street cleaners, business men,
Boys, priests and harlots, drunkards, students, thieves,
Each one the pleasant outer sunshine leaves;
They mingle in this stifling, loud-wheeled pen.
The gate clangs to—we stir—we sway—and then
We thunder through the dark. The long train weaves
Its gloomy way. At last above the eaves
We see awhile God’s day, then night again.
Hurled through the dark—day at Manhattan Street,
The rest all night. That is my life, it seems.
Through sunless ways go my reluctant feet.
The sunlight comes in transitory gleams.
And yet the darkness makes the light more sweet,
The perfect light about me—in my dreams.

12. Dawn in New York

       by Claude McKay

The Dawn! The Dawn! The crimson-tinted, comes Out of the low still skies, over the hills, Manhattan’s roofs and spires and cheerless domes! The Dawn! My spirit to its spirit thrills. Almost the mighty city is asleep, No pushing crowd, no tramping, tramping feet. But here and there a few cars groaning creep Along, above, and underneath the street, Bearing their strangely-ghostly burdens by, The women and the men of garish nights, Their eyes wine-weakened and their clothes awry, Grotesques beneath the strong electric lights. The shadows wane. The Dawn comes to New York. And I go darkly-rebel to my work.

Modern Poems about New York

These modern poems about New York are the perfect way to immerse yourself in the culture and history of the Big Apple. Whether you’re admiring the skyline from atop the Empire State Building or navigating the bustling streets of Times Square, these words will paint vivid pictures in your mind and offer unique perspectives on the city. Check them out and get ready for an unforgettable New York experience.

1. Hudson’s Tide

       by Henry Abbey

What pleasant dreams, what memories, rise,
When filled with care, or pricked in pride,
I wander down in solitude
And reach the beach by Hudson’s tide!
The thick-boughed hemlocks mock my sigh;
The azure heaven is filled with smiles;
The water, lisping at my feet,
From weary thought my heart beguiles,
By Hudson’s tide.
 
I watch a slow-wing’d water-fowl
Pursue her finny quest, and bear
The gasping silver of her prey
Far up th’ untrodden heights of air.
In quiet depths I note the course
Of dreamy clouds against the sky,
And see a flock of wild-ducks float,
Like water-lilies nearer by,
On Hudson’s tide.
 
The mullein lifts, along the bank,
Its velvet spires of yellow bloom;
And there a darting humming-bird
Gleams in the cedars’ verdant gloom.
By basins of the brook that flings
Its dewy diamonds far below
Into the ripples’ pigmy hands,
Sweet maiden-hair and cresses grow,
By Hudson’s tide.
 
I wander on the pebbled beach,
And think of boyhood’s careless hours
When, in my boat, I used to float
Along the bank and gather flowers;
Or catch the wind, and swiftly dash
Across the white-caps in their play,
And feel their wet resistance break
Against the prow in pearly spray,
On Hudson’s tide.
 
And once, in those lost days, I lay
Becalmed with limp and drowsy sail,
And drifted where Esopus Isle
Mid-stream reclines along the vale;
He slowly rose, and stood erect,
His giant body all of stone,
And cast his eyes, as from the skies,
On me that drifted there alone
On Hudson’s tide.
 
Only his feet were lost to view,
And cleft the current ebbing down;
His lofty headdress, plumed with trees,
Touched the blue zenith with its crown.
The river’s self was but his bow
That lay neglected on the ground;
Like down, or fur, the soft leaves were,
That, as a blanket, wrapped him round,
On Hudson’s tide.
 
I had not been surprised if he
Had mounted on some thunder-cloud
And rushed at Ontiora’s knee,
With sudden war-whoop sharp and loud.
But he was mild, and blandly smiled,
And spoke with accents sweet and low.
His words with kindness glanced and fell,
And seemed like music or the flow
Of Hudson’s tide.
 
“Enjoy the river and thy days,”
He said, “nor heed what others say.
What matters either blame or praise,
If one in peace pursue his way?
The river heeds not; heed not thou:
Cut deep the channel of thy life.
Thou hast a fair exemplar there:
With what serene indifference rife
Is Hudson’s tide!
 
How level lies its changeful floor,
Broad-sweeping to the distant sea!
What Titan grandeur marks the shore!
What beauty covers rock and tree!
What ample bays and branching streams,
What curves abrupt for glad surprise!
And how supreme the Artist is
Who paints it all for loving eyes
By Hudson’s tide!”
 
I woke; and since, long years have passed;
By Hudson’s tide my days go by:
Its varied beauty fills my heart.
Of fairer scenes what need have I?
And when my boat of life and thought
Shall quit the harbor of my breast,
And seek the silent, unknown sea,
I trust this dust in peace shall rest
By Hudson’s tide.

2. The City

       by Prabhath Avadhanula

The city is gritty, dark, and hard.
The subways rumble on and on.
The rats scurry as the people overflow
Onto the station and up to the neon show.
 
Outsiders look up, locals look straight.
The hawkers haggle, the hookers wait.
The traffic rushes scornful of the streets
Marred and littered with a million moving feet.
 
And yet the congregations grow.
Worldly masses turn and flow
To money as muslims do to Mecca.
And pilgrims walk amidst the glimpses of gods in Tribeca.

3. Dawn in New York

       by Claude McKay

The Dawn! The Dawn! The crimson-tinted comes
Out of the low still skies, over the hills,
Manhattan’s roofs and spires and cheerless domes!
The Dawn! My spirit to its spirit thrills.
Almost the mighty city is asleep,
No pushing crowd, no tramping, tramping feet.
But here and there a few cars groaning creep
Along, above, and underneath the street,
Bearing their strangely-ghostly burdens by,
The women and the men of garish nights,
Their eyes wine-weakened and their clothes awry,
Grotesques beneath the strong electric lights.
The shadows wane. The Dawn comes to New York.
And I go darkly-rebel to my work.

4. East River

       by Lola Ridge

Dour river
Jaded with monotony of lights
Diving off mast heads …
Lights mad with creating in a river … turning its sullen back …
Heave up, river …
Vomit back into the darkness your spawn of light …
The night will gut what you give her.

5. East-Side: New York

       by Maxwell Bodenheim

An old Jew munches an apple,
With conquering immersion
All the thwarted longings of his life
Urge on his determined teeth.
His face is hard and pear-shaped;
His eyes are muddy capitulations;
But his mouth is incongruous.
Softly, slightly distended,
Like that of a whistling girl,
It is ingenuously haunting
And makes the rest of him a soiled, grey background.
Hopes that lie within their grave
Of submissive sternness,
Have spilled their troubled ghosts upon this mouth,
And a tortured belief
Has dwindled into tenderness upon it …
He trudges off behind his push-cart
And the Ghetto walks away with him.

6. Fifth Avenue (New York)

       by Maxwell Bodenheim

Seasons bring nothing to this gulch
Save a harshly intimate anecdote
Scrawled, here and there, on paint and stone.
The houses shoulder each other
In a forced and passionless communion.
Their harassed angles rise
Like a violent picture-puzzle
Hiding a story that only ruins could reveal;
Their straight lines, robbed of power,
Meet in dwarfed rebellion.
Sometimes they stand like vastly flattened faces
Suffering ants to crawl
In and out of their gaping mouths.
Sometimes, in menial attitudes
They stand like Gothic platitudes
Slipshodly carved in dark brown stone.
Tarnished solemnities of death
Cast their transfigured hue on this avenue.
The cool and indiscriminate glare
Of sunlight seems to desecrate a tomb,
And the racing people seem
A stream of accidental shadows.
Hard noises strike one’s face and make
It numb with momentary reality,
But the noiseless undertone returns
And they change to unreal jests
Made by death

7. From Brooklyn

       by Evelyn Scott

Along the shore
A black net of branches
Tangles the pulpy yellow lamps.
The shell-colored sky is lustrous with the fading sun.
Across the river Manhattan floats–
Dim gardens of fire–
And rushing invisible toward me through the fog,
A hurricane of faces.

8. Harlem Shadows

       by Claude McKay

I hear the halting footsteps of a lass
In Negro Harlem when the night lets fall
Its veil. I see the shapes of girls who pass
To bend and barter at desire’s call.
Ah, little dark girls who in slippered feet
Go prowling through the night from street to street!
 
Through the long night until the silver break
Of day the little gray feet know no rest;
Through the lone night until the last snowflake
Has dropped from heaven upon the earth’s white breast,
The dusky, half-clad girls of tired feet
Are trudging, thinly shod, from street to street.
 
Ah, stern harsh world, that in the wretched way
Of poverty, dishonor and disgrace,
Has pushed the timid little feet of clay,
The sacred brown feet of my fallen race!
Ah, heart of me, the weary, weary feet
In Harlem wandering from street to street.

9. The Hudson

       by Margaretta V. Faugeres

Through many a blooming wild and woodland green
The Hudson’s sleeping waters winding stray;
Now ‘mongst the hills its silvery waves are seen,
Through arching willows now they steal away;
Now more majestic rolls the ample tide,
Tall waving elms its clovery borders shade,
And many a stately dome, in ancient pride
And hoary grandeur, there exalts its head.
There trace the marks of culture’s sunburnt hand,
The honeyed buckwheat’s clustering blossoms view–
Dripping rich odors, mark the beard-grain bland,
The loaded orchard, and the flax-field blue;
The grassy hill, the quivering poplar grove,
The copse of hazel, and the tufted bank,
The long green valley where the white flocks rove,
The jutting rock, o’erhung with ivy dank;
The tall pines waving on the mountain’s brow,
Whose lofty spires catch day’s last lingering beam;
The bending willow weeping o’er the stream,
The brook’s soft gurglings, and the garden’s glow.

10. Hudson River

       by Evelyn Scott

The thin hill pushes against the mist.
Its fading defiance sounds in the umber and red of autumn leaves.
Like a dead arm around a warm throat
Is the sagging embrace of the river
Laid grayly about the shore.

The train passes.
We emerge from a tunnel into a sky of thin blue morning glories
Where yellow lily bells tinkle down.
The paths run swiftly away under the lamp glow
Like green and blue lizards
Mottled with light.

11. Long Island in Late October

       by Isaac McLellan

October’s flaming banners, of purple and of gold,
O’er all the bowery woodland, are flauntingly unroll’d;
From his o’er-brimming urn red Autumn pours his dyes
O’er all thy realm, Long Island, from clouds that sail the skies.
They woods of elm and chestnut, so emerald-green ere-while,
Now glow with brightest blushes, suffus’d with Autumn’s smile.
The maples of the uplands are flush’d with royal red,
And robes and garlands golden o’er the pasture-oaks are spread;
The sumacs by the roadside now wear a scarlet crown,
The bayberry bushes by the beach are clad in russet brown;
The apple orchards, late despoil’d of all their ruddy globes,
Tinet with the frost are all array’d in varicolor’d robes;
And low in swamps and thickets of cedar and of pine
The woodbines redden, and the lithe, high-clambering grape-vine.
And there the village children come, the purpling grapes to glean,
Whose clusters load the alders that o’er the streamlets lean.
 
The grass of summer uplands, where far the sheep-flock strays,
The bush-grass of the meadows, where wading cattle graze,
So green erewhile, are wither’d now, and thro’ their thin brown leaves
The sorrowful breeze is sighing, like one in pain that grieves.
The bubbling brook, whose currents glide through banks of living green,
So clear that in the crystal depths the spotted trout were seen,
Creeps brown and turbid now, all chok’d with foliage sere–
A clouded mirror now, erewhile transparent clear;
Nor more the angler comes with tapering rod to sweep
The brook or limpid pond where dark tree-shadows creep.
 
I stand high up a hillside, where, far as eye may reach,
Stretch out fair woods and fields, and the sandy yellow beach;
The harvest crops are garner’d, the fields lie brown and bare,
The thresher’s flail in distant barns resounds upon the air;
I hear the cowboy’s call, the whistle of the bird,
And all the joyous sounds of rural life are heard.
I hear the piping quail and the gunner’s weapon ring,
And see the startled coveys burst forth upon the wing;
I hear far overhead, in the upper realms of air,
The honking of wild geese, as onward swift they fare;
And in the salt bay meadows I see the fowler’s boat,
I hear his gun, I see the smoke above his ambush float;
I see the platoons of the coot, the squadrons of the brant,
And hovering black-ducks, the shallow coves that haunt,
The shelldrake and the broad-bill, and all the feather’d flocks
Which haunt the open bays and wheel o’er ocean rocks.
 
Fair scenes, bright scenes, enchanting scenes! that fill
The heart with o’erflowing joy, and all the life pulses thrill,
So fair in all your autumn pomp, in all your summer green,
When woods are bright, skies full of light, and waters smile serene!

12. Manhattan

       by Edwin Curran

Oh, marble-spired Manhattan, I look into your thousand eyes at dusk,
And your thousand eyes look back at me, kindled with lights over the harbor.
You hold the sky set like blue wings on your mountain peaks of splendor,
And you will hold the sky until the world ends and the dream is gone, Oh Manhattan.
 
Toss your towers into the stars, Great Gray City!
Lift your peaks until they push over the clouds;
Live and throb and beat your mighty heart against the solid sun;
You are eternal, Great White City!
 
Walk over your bridges of the centuries, Oh Manhattan, glorious Manhattan;
Tread upon the æons of your remarkable destiny of the future,
Imperishable, perpetual, everlasting Manhattan!
 
I look into your thousand eyes, and your thousand eyes look into my eyes.
I look into your face, and your face is full of the glory of God.
I look into your soul, and your soul is full of the wonder of the world;
Oh nourishing, immortal, beautiful Manhattan.
 
Nothing is so eternalas a city, and you are the eternal city of eternal cities,
Pavemented, walled, carred, lighted, jeweled, crowded city of beauty,
God’s own city of the western world.
 
Your ferry boats walk the salt wave crowded;
Your tugs are the organs of the harbor singing their deep and sonorous hymns of commerce;
Your walls, New York, hold up heaven, parapets of beauty stabbing into the stars!
Pillars of the universe.
 
Oh music in stone, poetry in sculpture, song in architectual marble, prayer in granite, an ecstasy in steel and iron and gold, singing city of the great heart, singing city,
You are Manhattan!

13. Manhattan

       by Herman Scheffauer

Atlantes of the firmament! abrupt
The granite monsters of Manhattan frown,–
Phalanx of Titans, stark and interrupt,
Their tyrannous grim bulks oppress the town.
 
Their gonfalons and vaporous plumes at play
Stream rhythmic to the city’s stormy beat,
Her giant pulse that goads the groaning day
To pile its mortal labor at their feet.
 
The stunned sea clasps the aching iron isle
That holds eternal tumult in its heart,
While Greed’s great laugh from pile to towering pile,
Leaps in relentless triumph o’er the mart.
 
Incessant roars her fevered race of lives
Crushed through the sunless channels of her stone,
Or flung across the paths where Mammon drives
His chariot wheels o’er ways of flesh and bone.
 
What brand upon the brow of man? what mark
That hounds worn spirits toward a glittering goal?
Where Luxury lifts her ashen husks, and dark
Earth idols force their usury from the soul.
 
O thunder-wrought Manhattan! shaped of gold
Thy tongue, thine eyes of bline basalt, of steel
Thy smothered breasts still young–yet bleak and old
The mountainous gray weariness they feel.
 
Thy life is eaten by thine eagerness,
And round thy doomward sandals whirlwinds roar,
And round thy wreck-mad walls the tempest’s stress
Riots from adamantine shore to shore.
 
Now Anarchs of Annihilation take
Their sleep of golden torpor in the glow
Of thy sky-storming summits–when they wake
What ruin red shall their war-trumpets blow?

14. Mannahatta

       by Walt Whitman

I was asking for something specific and perfect for my city,
Whereupon lo! upsprang the aboriginal name.
 
Now I see what there is in a name, a word, liquid, sane, unruly,
musical, self-sufficient,
I see that the word of my city is that word from of old,
Because I see that word nested in nests of water-bays, superb,
Rich, hemm’d thick all around with sailships and steamships, an
island sixteen miles long, solid-founded,
Numberless crowded streets, high growths of iron, slender, strong,
light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies,
Tides swift and ample, well-loved by me, toward sundown,
The flowing sea-currents, the little islands, larger adjoining
islands, the heights, the villas,
The countless masts, the white shore-steamers, the lighters, the
ferry-boats, the black sea-steamers well-model’d,
The down-town streets, the jobbers’ houses of business, the houses
of business of the ship-merchants and money-brokers, the river-streets,
Immigrants arriving, fifteen or twenty thousand in a week,
The carts hauling goods, the manly race of drivers of horses, the
brown-faced sailors,
The summer air, the bright sun shining, and the sailing clouds aloft,
The winter snows, the sleigh-bells, the broken ice in the river,
passing along up or down with the flood-tide or ebb-tide,
The mechanics of the city, the masters, well-form’d,
beautiful-faced, looking you straight in the eyes,
Trottoirs throng’d, vehicles, Broadway, the women, the shops and shows,
A million people–manners free and superb–open voices–hospitality–
the most courageous and friendly young men,
City of hurried and sparkling waters! city of spires and masts!
City nested in bays! my city!

15. Midnight Worship: Brooklyn Bridge

       by Evelyn Scott

In the rain
Rows of street lamps are saints in bright garments
That flow long with the bend of knees.
They lift pale heads nimbussed with golden spikes.
 
Up the lanes of liquid onyx
Toward the high fire-laden altars
Move the saints of Manhattan
In endless pilgrimage to death,
Amidst the asphodel and anemones of dawn.

16. New York at Night

       by Amy Lowell

A near horizon whose sharp jags
  Cut brutally into a sky
Of leaden heaviness, and crags
Of houses lift their masonry
  Ugly and foul, and chimneys lie
And snort, outlined against the gray
  Of lowhung cloud. I hear the sigh
The goaded city gives, not day
Nor night can ease her heart, her anguished labours stay.
 
Below, straight streets, monotonous,
  From north and south, from east and west,
Stretch glittering; and luminous
  Above, one tower tops the rest
  And holds aloft man’s constant quest:
Time! Joyless emblem of the greed
  Of millions, robber of the best
Which earth can give, the vulgar creed
Has seared upon the night its flaming ruthless screed.
 

O Night! Whose soothing presence brings
  The quiet shining of the stars.
O Night! Whose cloak of darkness clings
  So intimately close that scars
  Are hid from our own eyes. Beggars
By day, our wealth is having night
  To burn our souls before altars
Dim and tree-shadowed, where the light
Is shed from a young moon, mysteriously bright.
 

Where art thou hiding, where thy peace?
  This is the hour, but thou art not.
Will waking tumult never cease?
  Hast thou thy votary forgot?
  Nature forsakes this man-begot
And festering wilderness, and now
  The long still hours are here, no jot
Of dear communing do I know;
Instead the glaring, man-filled city groans below!

17. New York Harbor on a Calm Day

       by Park Benjamin

Is this a painting? Are those pictured clouds
Which on the sky so movelessly repose?
Has some rare artist fashioned forth the shrouds
Of yonder vessel? Are these imaged shows
Of outline, figure, form, or is there life–
Life with a thousand pulses–in the scene
We gaze upon? Those towering banks between,
E’er tossed these billows in tumultuous strife?
Billows! there’s not a wave! the waters spread
One broad, unbroken mirror; all around
Is hushed to silence–silence so profound,
That a bird’s carol, or an arrow sped
Into the distance, would, like larum bell,
Jar the deep stillness and dissolve the spell.

18. Summer Evening: New York Subway-Station

       by Maxwell Bodenheim

Perspiring violence derides
The pathetic collapse of dirt.
An effervescence of noises
Depends upon cement for its madness.
Electric light is taut and dull,
Like a nauseated suspense.
This kind of heat is the recollection
Of an orgy in a swamp.
Soiled caskets joined together
Slide to rasping stand-stills.
People savagely tamper
With each other’s bodies,
Scampering in and out of doorways.
Weighted with apathetic bales of people
The soiled caskets rattle on.
The scene consists of mosaics
Jerkily pieced together and blown apart.
A symbol of billowing torment,
This sturdy girl leans against an iron girder.
Weariness has loosened her face
With its shining cruelty.
Round and poverty-stricken
Her face renounces life.
Her white cotton waist is a wet skin on her breast:
Her black hat, crisp and delicate,
Does not understand her head.
An old man stoops beside her,
Sweat and wrinkles errupting
Upon the blunt remnants of his face.
A little black pot of a hat
Corrupts his grey-haired head.
 
Two figures on a subway-platform,
Pieced together by an old complaint.

19. Sunset: Battery Park

       by Evelyn Scott

From cliffs of houses,
Sunlit windows gaze down upon me
Like undeniable eyes,
Millions of bronze eyes,
Unassailable,
Obliterating all they see:
The warm contiguous crowd in the street below
Chills,
Mists,
Drifts past those hungry eyes of Eternity,
Melts seaward and deathward
To the ocean.

20. To the Hudson

       by Elizabeth Oakes-Smith

O RIVER! gently as a wayward child
I saw thee mid the moonlight hills at rest;
Capricious thing, with thine own beauty wild,
How didst thou still the throbbings of thy breast!
Rude headlands were about thee, stooping round,
As if amid the hills to hold thy stay;
But thou didst hear the far-off ocean sound
Inviting thee from hill and vale away,
To mingle thy deep waters with its own;
And, at that voice, thy steps did onward glide,
Onward from echoing hill and valley lone.
Like thine, oh, be my course–nor turned aside,
While listening to the soundings of a land,
That like the ocean call invites me to its strand.

21. The Tropics in New York

       by Claude McKay

Bananas ripe and green, and ginger-root,
Cocoa in pods and alligator pears,
And tangerines and mangoes and grapefruit,
Fit for the highest prize at parish fairs,
 
Set in the window, bringing memories
Of fruit-trees laden by low-singing rills,
And dewy dawns, and mystical blue skies
In benediction over nun-like hills.
 
My eyes grew dim, and I could no more gaze;
A wave of longing through my body swept,
And, hungry for the old, familiar ways,
I turned aside and bowed my head and wept.

22. Wall Street

       by Benjamin Peck Keith

A crooked little thoroughfare,
Narrow, short and dark;
My name is sounded everywhere,
The Nation’s money mart.
 
My ways are deep and intricate,
And ‘oft are filled with woe;
Despair and crime doth inspire
And virtue overthrow.
 
Beginning at a graveyard gate,
I finish at a river,
Where many overwhelmed by fate,
Have buried care forever.

23. Wall Street at Night

       by Lola Ridge

Long vast shapes … cooled and flushed through with darkness …
Lidless windows
Glazed with a flashy luster
From some little pert café chirping up like a sparrow.
And down among iron guts
Piled silver
Throwing gray spatter of light … pale without heat …
Like the pallor of dead bodies.

Short Poems about New York

Whether you’re traveling solo or with friends, exploring the city through literature will introduce you to new perspectives on the city and help you appreciate its beauty in a whole new way. So, before you hit the streets, make sure to check out these short poems and get ready to explore the City that Never Sleeps with fresh eyes.

1. New York

       by Walt Whitman

City of indomitable dreams,
Where hopes and fears convene,
A melting pot of souls diverse,
A symphony of voices heard.

2. The City That Never Sleeps

       by Federico Garcia Lorca

New York, New York,
A city of light and sound,
Where dreams are born and fortunes found.

3. Manhattan

       by Langston Hughes

The world is yours,
As long as you have a dollar,
In Manhattan, where everything shines.

4. Harlem

       by Claude McKay

The heartbeat of a vibrant race,
Where rhythm and soul embrace.
Harlem, a tapestry of dreams,
Where hope and resilience brightly gleam.

5. Brooklyn Bridge

       by Hart Crane

Steel and stone, a bridge so grand,
Connecting hearts and shores of land.
Brooklyn Bridge, a symbol of might,
Where aspirations take flight.

6. Central Park

       by Edna St. Vincent Millay

An oasis amidst the urban sprawl,
Where nature’s beauty enthralls.
Central Park, a green retreat,
Where souls find solace, hearts retreat.

7. Times Square

       by Langston Hughes

A dazzling spectacle of light,
Where dreams ignite and hopes take flight.
Times Square, a vibrant stage,
Where dreams and neon lights engage.

8. The Bronx

       by Sonia Sanchez

A tapestry of cultures, rich and deep,
Where stories unfold, secrets sleep.
The Bronx, a vibrant soul,
Where resilience and spirit take hold.

9. Queens

       by Lucille Clifton

A borough of diversity’s embrace,
Where dreams take root, find their place.
Queens, a mosaic of lives,
Where stories intertwine, hope thrives.

10. Staten Island

       by Maryanne Moore

A haven of peace amidst the urban roar,
Where nature’s beauty softly stores.
Staten Island, a tranquil retreat,
Where souls find solace, hearts retreat.

11. New York Subway

       by Delmore Schwartz

A labyrinth of tracks below,
Where lives intersect, stories flow.
New York Subway, a pulse so deep,
Where dreams and journeys intertwine and sleep.

12. Yellow Taxi

       by Frank O’Hara

A symbol of hustle, a beacon of haste,
Through city streets it navigates with grace.
Yellow Taxi, a New York icon,
Carrying dreams, where journeys beckon.

13. Hot Dog Vendor

       by Carl Sandburg

A culinary maestro, a streetside sage,
With mustard and relish, he turns the page.
Hot Dog Vendor, a New York delight,
Serving up dreams, day and night.

14. Street Performer

       by Allen Ginsberg

A symphony of talents, a kaleidoscope of art,
In city corners, they play their part.
Street Performers, New York’s soul,
Where creativity and passion take hold.

15. New Yorker

       by Elizabeth Bishop

A blend of grit and grace,
Of dreams and hustle, a unique race.
New Yorker, a spirit so bold,
Where stories unfold, hearts unfold.

16. Mannahatta

       by Walt Whitman

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one plying his trade,
The chants of the markets, the calm tenor of the churches,
The songs of the lullabies, the rhymed recitatives,
I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear.

17. The New Colossus

       by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates you stand,
A mighty woman with a torch, though flame
And the tired, poor, huddled masses yearn
To breathe free, and the wretched refuse of your teeming shore
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

18. My Sad Self

       by Allen Ginsberg

Walking all night across the fields of 42nd Street,
I saw a man in a field, with a harmonica and a beer,
and he was singing about the good old days.

I went up to him and asked him what he meant.

He said, “The good old days are when I was a kid,
and I didn’t have to worry about anything.
I just played with my friends, and we had a lot of fun.
But now, I’m all grown up, and I have to worry about everything.
I have to worry about my job, and my bills, and my family.
And I just don’t see how I’m going to make it all work.”

I felt sorry for him, and I gave him a dollar.
And then I walked away.

19. Walk about the Subway Station

       by Charles Reznikoff

The platform is crowded with people,
All dressed in their best clothes.
They are all going to the same place,
But they don’t know it.

I am one of them,
But I am not sure where I am going.

20. Dawn in New York

       by Claude McKay

The city sleeps,
Beneath a sky of gray and gold.
The streets are empty,
And the buildings stand like silent sentinels.

Dawn is coming,
And the city will wake again.
The streets will fill,
And the buildings will come alive.

21. On Broadway

       by Claude McKay

The lights of Broadway,
They shine so bright.
They beckon me,
To come and see the sights.

I walk down the street,
And the music fills the air.
I feel the rhythm,
And I want to dance.

22. February Evening in New York City

       by Denise Levertov

The city is a dark,
And silent place.
The only sound is,
The wind blowing through the streets.

I walk down the street,
And I feel alone.
I see the lights of Broadway,
And I feel a longing.

23. New York

       by Langston Hughes

Oh, New York, city of dreams,
Where the bright lights beckon,
And the streets are full of life.

I came to you,
With a heart full of hope,
And a head full of dreams.

I have found,
Both joy and sorrow,
In your streets.

But I would not,
Trade you for any other city,
In the world.

24. Man with a Movie Camera

       by Maya Angelou

In the city of New York,
Where the dreams of many come true,
I saw a man with a movie camera.

He was filming the city,
From the top of the Empire State Building,
To the bottom of the subway.

He was filming the people,
The rich and the poor,
The black and the white.

He was filming the city,
In all its beauty and all its ugliness.

And I wondered,
What will he do with the film?

Will he show it to the world?
Or will he keep it for himself?

25. New York City

       by Frank Sinatra

I’ve never seen a city
Quite like you on a Saturday night
You’re a dream come true
You’re the best thing that ever happened to me

Poems about New York That Rhyme

These poems about New York are the perfect way to discover the hidden gems among the skyscrapers and busy street corners. So why not take a break from the tour guide books and immerse yourself in some breathtaking poetry about the Big Apple? Trust us, your senses will thank you.

1. New York

       by Walt Whitman

O often I have heard the question asked,
What is the great attraction, the charm,
That draws the people, the crowds, the throngs,
To this spot, this city, this New York?

For here, in this place, there’s a spirit, a pulse,
A something that stirs and animates,
A vitality, an energy, a spark,
That sets it apart, makes it unique.

It’s not just the towering buildings high,
Nor the streets that never seem to sleep,
Nor the sounds of life that fill the air,
Nor the lights that shine so bright and deep.

No, ’tis something more than all of these,
Something that can’t be seen or touched,
A feeling, a sense, a mystic tie,
That binds us all, that makes us one.

And those who come here, they feel it too,
They know that they are part of something big,
Something grand, something that endures,
Something that will last through time and space.

So if you ask what’s the great attraction,
The answer lies within the heart,
For New York is not just a city,
But a state of mind, a work of art.

2. A Song of the Open Road

       by Walt Whitman

I hear the bugle calling to Thee, O Soul!
We have waited long, we have been patient, the hour has arrived,
The sun rises, the day dawns, the clouds are rollicking and gay,
The wind sings, the birds shout, the trees dance and clap their hands,
The earth laughs, the sky laughs, the whole universe laughs,
And we, O Soul, we laugh, for we know that we are free,
Free to go forth and explore, to adventure, to roam,
To follow the open road, wherever it may lead,
To seek out new experiences, new sights, new sounds,
To embrace the unknown, to let go of fear,
To trust in ourselves, to trust in each other,
To celebrate life, to live it to the fullest,
To sing our song, to tell our story,
To make our mark on this vast and wonderful world.

3. The City’s Eyes

       by Edna St. Vincent Millay

The city’s eyes, they gleam and glitter,
Like jewels in the night’s dark setting,
They watch and wait, they see and listen,
As the world goes by, unceasing.

They look up at the skyscrapers tall,
They gaze upon the busy street,
They see the people hurrying by,
They hear the cars and taxis beat.

They see the lights of Broadway blaze,
They watch the shows and parades pass,
They hear the music of the jazz bands play,
They feel the city’s vibrant pace.

They see the ships come in and out,
They watch the river flow and flow,
They see the bridges rise and fall,
They feel the city’s pulsing glow.

The city’s eyes, they never close,
They keep their vigil, night and day,
They see the best and worst of things,
They witness life in every way.

4. New York, New York

       by Frank Sinatra

Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leavin’ today
Kiss my girl goodbye, I’ll be back some day
I’m off to New York, gonna make a brand new start
Gonna find a job, gonna make a lot of dough
Gonna climb the ladder, gonna reach the top
Gonna make a name for myself, gonna never stop

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town
The city never sleeps, it’s always jumpin’ down
New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town
Where dreams are made, and hearts are broken

5. Empire State of Mind

       by Jay-Z ft. Alicia Keys

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s the Empire State of Mind
New York, concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do
Now you’re in New York, these streets will make you feel brand new
Big lights will inspire you, let’s hear what you got, little man

New York, New York, Empire State of Mind
New York, New York, where dreams are made and died
New York, New York, Empire State of Mind
New York, New York, where dreams are made and died

6. On the Town

       by Leonard Bernstein & Betty Comden

The sun is up, the day is bright
I’ve got a date, I’ll meet him tonight
I’ll wear my best, I’ll put on a show
I’ll take him dancing, he won’t want to go

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town
The Bronx is up, but the Battery’s down
New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town
Swing your partner round and round

7. Manhattan

       by Richard Rodgers & Lorenz Hart

We’ll have Manhattan, the Bronx also Queens
Staten Island, Brooklyn, they’re all in between
We’ll have Manhattan, it’s a pity you can’t see
We’ll have Manhattan, it’s a major sympathy

Manhattan, Manhattan, it’s a wonderful sight
Manhattan, Manhattan, everything’s all right
Manhattan, Manhattan, it’s a wonderful sight
Manhattan, Manhattan, everything’s all right

8. Take Me Out to the Ball Game

       by Jack Norworth & Albert von Tilzer

Take me out to the ball game, Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack, I don’t care if I ever get back
Let me root, root, root for the home team, If they don’t win it’s a shame
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out, At the old ball game

New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town
The Yankees play baseball, the Mets play downtown
New York, New York, it’s a wonderful town
Where the hot dogs taste like heaven, and the pretzels are brown

9. I Love New York

       by John Lennon

Walking down the street, feeling oh so sweet
People passing by, can’t help but catch their eye
Everybody’s smiling, it’s a beautiful sight
I love New York, I love New York tonight

I love New York, I love New York
It’s the only place I’d rather be
I love New York, I love New York
It’s the city of my wildest dreams

10. Autumn in New York

       by Vernon Duke

Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Twenty million people, yet it’s so peaceful and quiet
Autumn in New York, it’s a most peculiar thing
September roses, bringing summer’s sweetness to its knees

11. City of Dreams

       by Anonymous

Oh, New York, city of dreams,
Where aspirations rise, like soaring beams,
A melting pot of cultures, a tapestry grand,
Where every story, has its place to stand.

12. Concrete Jungle

       by Anonymous

Through concrete canyons, the city unfurls,
A symphony of voices, as the world swirls,
Yellow cabs darting, lights ablaze,
A neon-lit jungle, in a vibrant maze.

13. Broadway’s Magic

       by Anonymous

On Broadway’s stages, dreams come alive,
Underneath the spotlight, where passions strive,
A spectacle of talent, a dazzling display,
Where dreams take center stage, and worries fade away.

14. Statue of Liberty’s Embrace

       by Anonymous

With arms outstretched, a beacon so bright,
Lady Liberty welcomes, with her guiding light,
A symbol of freedom, a beacon of hope,
Where dreams find a haven, where souls can elope.

15. Central Park’s Oasis

       by Anonymous

Amidst the concrete jungle, a green expanse,
Central Park’s oasis, a tranquil trance,
Where lovers stroll, and children play,
Escaping the city’s hustle and sway.

16. Empire State’s Gaze

       by Anonymous

From atop the Empire State, the city unfolds,
A panoramic view, where every story’s told,
A tapestry of dreams, a symphony of life,
Where hope and ambition, take wing in strife.

17. Harlem’s Rhythm

       by Anonymous

In Harlem’s streets, jazz rhythms flow,
A heartbeat of culture, where spirits grow,
A legacy of music, a soulful delight,
Where dreams find their rhythm, and darkness takes flight.

18. Bridges and Skyline

       by Anonymous

Bridges like ribbons, connecting the shores,
A skyline that beckons, forevermore,
A testament to dreams, and human endeavor,
Where hope and ambition, rise like a river.

19. Chinatown’s Mystique

       by Anonymous

Through Chinatown’s alleys, secrets unfold,
A symphony of cultures, a story untold,
Lanterns aglow, in hues so bright,
Where dreams find their essence, in the depths of the night.

20. New York, New York

       by Anonymous

Oh, New York, city of dreams,
Where hope and ambition, forever gleam,
A place of reinvention, where dreams ignite,
New York, New York, a city so bright.

21. Manhattan Melody

       by Anonymous

In the city that never sleeps, where dreams are spun,
Manhattan’s melody, a symphony begun.
Skyscrapers reach for stars in the night,
Broadway’s stage aglow with neon light.

22. Harbor Harmony

       by Anonymous

By the harbor’s edge where ships converge,
A city’s heartbeat, a rhythmic surge.
New York Harbor, a dance of the sea,
Whispers of tales, ancient and free.

23. Brooklyn Ballad

       by Anonymous

In Brooklyn’s embrace, where brownstones stand tall,
Cobblestone streets tell stories for all.
A borough’s ballad, a diverse song,
Where cultures unite, and hearts belong.

24. Empire State Rhyme

       by Anonymous

In the shadow of the Empire State,
A city’s rhythm, an anthem so great.
From Wall Street suits to Harlem’s beat,
New York’s heartbeat, strong and sweet.

25. Central Park Charm

       by Anonymous

In Central Park’s meadows, where green meets the sky,
A charming retreat, where dreams learn to fly.
Carousel tunes and laughter entwine,
Central Park’s magic, a place so divine.

26. Times Square Tango

       by Anonymous

In the heart of the city, where lights never fade,
Times Square’s tango, a grand escapade.
Neon signs waltz with the moon so bright,
Broadway’s spectacle, a dazzling night.

27. Greenwich Village Villanelle

       by Anonymous

In Greenwich Village, where poets pen,
Villanelle verses, again and again.
Bohemian spirits, alive and free,
A village’s rhyme, a sweet decree.

28. Chinatown Sonnet

       by Anonymous

In narrow streets where lanterns sway,
Chinatown’s sonnet, a night and day.
Dumplings and tea in a bustling bazaar,
A sonnet in red, a cultural star.

29. Metropolitan Muse

       by Anonymous

In the hallowed halls where art is revered,
Metropolitan Muse, where beauty appeared.
Paintings and sculptures, a timeless decree,
A museum’s rhyme, for all eyes to see.

30. Hudson Haiku

       by Anonymous

Hudson River flows, a serene haiku,
Bridges and breezes, a maritime view.
The city’s reflection on waters below,
A haiku for New York, in ebb and in flow.

Final Thoughts

All in all, these poems about New York show the diversity that can be found among writers whose creativity is inspired by the hustle and bustle of this great city.

Whether you like it or not, New York will always leave its mark in literature and culture, for better or worse.

So the next time you come across a poem about this incredible place, take some time to appreciate all the mind-blowing literary experiences available here.

If you do love poetry, never forget the power that comes from reading a good book.

Now it’s your turn – what are your favorite poems about New York city?

Please comment in the comments section below so that we can continue the discussion!

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