Songs About Brooklyn

Tunes inspire your time in Williamsburg

Brooklyn has long been home to artists, writers, and musicians, like Nicole Atkins (shown above)—all drawing inspiration from the borough’s urban landscapes, history, mix of immigrant cultures, vibrant youth scenes, the subway, as well as the whims of the heart. We can also see how visiting artists and musicians, have been touched by this unique place and its dynamic people. The playlist below features some fun songs about Brooklyn. (Note, the playlist might not appear on all tablets or smart phones. Go to the Spotify app, and search.)

The subway ride to Brooklyn seems to be a popular song subject. We begin with the well-known rap by the Beastie Boys about trying not to fall asleep on the subway, “NO. SLEEP. TIL. BROOKLYN.” Love it or hate it—you can’t help but sing along. “Take The L Train,” is a funky tune by The Pimps of Joytime, and is inspired by the subway line that connects Manhattan to Williamsburg and other points in Brooklyn. The band, Taking Back Sunday, joke about the subway security announcements in their song, “Brooklyn (If You See Something, Say Something).”

And, of course, Brooklyn’s Williamsburg/Greenpoint area gets a lot of airtime in the playlist. The song by Justice of the Unicorns, “McCarren Pool,” refers  to a public pool in Greenpoint’s McCarren Park, which was the former home of the popular “Pool Party” concert series, but is now actually a functioning pool.  The Besnard Lakes offer their dreamy, alt-rock impressions of the neighborhood with “On Bedford and Grand,” a main intersection in Williamsburg. And the humor act, Phenelope, sings about dating a stereotypical Williamsburg hipster in “Hipster Love.” In the high-spirited “Destination Greenpoint,” The Fleshtones talk about leaving Manhattan for cheaper rents in Brooklyn. (Those were the days.) Local band, Delta Spirit, doles out some “Bushwick Blues,” about the nearby section of Bushwick. And, surprise-surprise, Paris Street wrote “Bedford Avenue” while actually on Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. Even Drake chimes in on his impression with “Williamsburg is Artsy.” (Ha ha!)

The Brooklyn ballads continue with songs by Nicole Atkins, The Black Keys, The Paper Raincoat, Franz Ferdinand, and Beverly Kenney. And lastly, in “B.K. Anthem,” Foxy Brown loves where she’s from: BROOK-LYN! After spending some time here, maybe you’ll write your own song about the best borough, Brooklyn.

More songs about Brooklyn:
1. Santogold (featuring Spank Rock) – “Shove It” (YouTube link)

2. Woodkid – “Brooklyn” (YouTube link)
3. Lou Reed – “Coney Island Baby” (YouTube link)
Photo shows Nicole Atkins by sarae.