The subway is a porno
And the pavements they are a mess
I know you’ve supported me for a long time
Somehow I’m not impressed
But New York Cares…
Those lyrics are from Interpol’s “NYC,” one of the iconic songs of
the immediate post-9/11 era of music. It’s a song that captures the
confused emotional tenor of the city in the traumatic aftermath to that
dark day 8 years ago, a mix of the old New York harsh-edged urbanity
and the “United We Stand” solidarity of a city reborn amidst ashes.
Perhaps moreso than other cities, New York has that peculiar
combination of crowded connectedness and desolate urban isolation. On
one hand the city cares and accepts all people and all dreams; on the
other, it is an impenetrable, callous machine of industry and ambition.
On 9/11 both faces merged as the city in all of its seething terror and
magnificence forever changed. Before that day, NYC was the
incomprehensible nexus of the world. But after that day, NYC was forced
to consider the truth of its mythos: that it is still just a city,
vulnerable and imperfect as anything else.