Movies, books, and songs to capture the essence of New York and get you in the mood for travel
Movies and TV Shows
King Kong (1933)
An early—and ageless—talkie in which the Empire State Building plays a memorable role.
The Lost Weekend (1945)
Ray Milland plays a problem drinker whose favorite bar is Nat's, a fictitious place inspired by P.J. Clarke's.
Miracle on 34th Street (1947)
Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade always includes Santa. This beloved film asks, "Is it the real Mr. Claus?"
Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961)
A quirky New York love story based on a Truman Capote novella. Hepburn and Peppard's kisses-in-the-rain scene is a tribute to inclement weather.
Woody Allen's love story of a valentine to his town. Magnificently cast and shot—in black and white.
Scent of a Woman (1992)
A blind Lieutenant Colonel Frank Slade (Al Pacino) shows a prep school student a slice of New York.
Life goes on—meaninglessly sometimes—on New York's Upper West Side: largely in coffee shops and apartments.
Sex and the City (1998-2004)
The street scenes are real. The idea that no one in New York actually works isn't.
Law & Order (1990- )
The city and its police department give this crime drama a good measure of its juice.
30 Rock (2006- )
A very modern workplace comedy set in a Midtown office building, with occasional on-the-street location shots.
Here Is New York, by E.B. White (1949)
An entertainingly quick read—originally an essay penned in 1948 for Holiday magazine. Speaks of places long gone but still manages to nail New York City's unique modus operandi and unflagging magnetism.
The Great Bridge: The Epic Story of the Building of the Brooklyn Bridge, by David McCullough (1983)
A book worthy of the mighty bridge it so thoroughly portrays. Brimming with memorable details and portraits of key players in this unique New York saga.
Waterfront: A Walk Around Manhattan, by Phillip Lopate (2004)
An acclaimed essayist and archetypal New Yorker leads readers on a riverside tour of town. Deftly and enjoyably mixes wit and wisdom, covering the cultural, sociological, and historic aspects of the city's perimeter.
Kafka Was the Rage: A Greenwich Village Memoir, by Anatole Broyard (1993)
A stylish literary man who went on to be a New York Times book critic—and one of the most acclaimed essayists of post-World War II times—writes about New York's downtown scene in the late 1940s.
Celebrating 30 Years at the Cafe Carlyle
A New York tradition. Bobby Short plays piano along with his orchestra, offering up such classics as "Body and Soul" and "Just One of Those Things."
West Side Story
Leonard Bernstein, who became music director of the New York Philharmonic in 1958, wrote the tunes for this enduring reinvention of Romeo and Juliet set in 1950s New York.
Bleecker Street: Greenwich Village in the 60's
A downtown tribute to the folk music scene in 1960s New York, with songs written by Phil Ochs, Eric Andersen, Bob Dylan, and more.
NYC Subway: Songs from the Underground
New Yorkers waiting for trains are routinely entertained by musicians. This recording showcases 11 of the best.
Great cities inspire great lyrics and melodies, as these ten New York favorites prove:
1. "New York, New York" by Frank Sinatra
2. "A Heart in New York" by Art Garfunkel
3. "At the Zoo" by Simon and Garfunkel
4. "Central Park West" by John Coltrane
5. "Empire State Building" by Randy Newman
6. "52nd Street" by Billy Joel
7. "Grand Central Station" by Mary Chapin Carpenter
8. "Harlem River Quiver" by Duke Ellington
9. "New York City" by Peter Malick Group featuring Norah Jones
10. "NYC Man" by Lou Reed
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.