I’ve been looking for some time for a poem about New York that I really liked. I found several, one by Whitman – but this is one that made me chuckle, besides capturing the spirit of the city.
I WANT NEW YORK by Ogden Nash
I think those people are utterly unreliable
Who say they’d be happy on a desert island with a copy of the Biable
And Hamlet (by Shakespeare) and Don Quixote (by Cervantes)
And poems by Homer and Virgil and perhaps a thing or two of Dante’s.
And furthermore, I have a feeling that if they were marooned till the
Very few of us would notice that they were gone.
Perhaps they don’t like my opinions any better than I like theirs,
But who cares?
If I were going to be marooned and could take only on thing along
I’d be perfectly happy if I could take the thing which is the subject of
I don’t mean anything that was brought either by the postman or the stork.
I mean the City of New York.
For New York is a wonder city, a veritable fairyland
With many sights not to be seen in Massachusetts or Maryland.
It is situated on the island of Manhattan
Which I prefer to such islands as Welfare or Staten.
And it is far superior
To the cities of the interior.
What if it has a heterogeneous populace?
That is one of the privileges of being a metropulace
And heterogeneous people don’t go around bothering each other
And you can be reasonably sure that everything you do won’t get right back
to your dear old mother.
In New York beautiful girls can become more beautiful by going to
And getting stuff put on their faces and waiting for it to harden
And poor girls with nothing to their names but a letter or two can get rich
From a brief trip to their loyous.
And anybody with a relative of whose will he is the beneficiary
Can do pretty well in the judiciary.
So I can say with impunity
That New York is a city of opportunity.
It also has many fine theaters and hotels,
And a lot of taxis, buses, subways and els.
Best of all, if you don’t show up at the office or at a tea nobody will bother
They will just think you are dead.
That’s why I really think New York is exquisite.
It isn’t all right just for a visit
But by God’s Grace
I’d live in it and like it even better if you gave me the place.