The bruised optimism of Vernon Duke’s much-covered 1934 jazz standard—which allows that a New York autumn is “often mingled with pain,” but insists that “it’s good to live it” – found its perfect expression in Billie Holiday’s yearning version with pianist Oscar Peterson. Duke’s moody music and poetic lyrics (“Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel”) are an invitation to fall in love.
“Autumn in New York” by Billie Holiday, No. 5 on our list of the 100 best NYC songs.
–Timeout, New York
Autumn in New York, why does it seem so inviting?
Autumn in New York, it spells the thrill of first knighting
Glittering crowds and shimmering clouds in canyons of steel
They’re making me feel, Im home
Its autumn in New York that brings the promise of new love
Autumn in New York is often mingled with pain
Dreamers with empty hands, may sigh for exotic lands
Its autumn in New York, its good to live it again
Autumn in New York, the gleaming rooftops at sundown
Autumn in New York, it lifts you up when you’re run down
Jaded roues and gay divorces who lunch at the Ritz
Will tell you that its divine
This autumn in New York transforms the slums into Mayfair
Autumn in New York, you’ll need no castle in Spain
Lovers that bless the dark on benches in Central Park
Greet autumn in New York, its good to live it again