Though I currently live in Los Angeles, New York is my adopted home. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t actively miss it several times a day. Sometimes, even seeing it portrayed in films and TV is enough to send me spiraling down a nostalgic rabbit hole and contemplate a move back. But, of course, that’s the rose-colored-glasses views. As Valerie Ghent sings in her own love letter to the Big Apple, “love or hate the city, but it’s where I was born,” which is basically how most New Yorkers feel: It’s the best and the worst but it’s ours.
Ghent is a longtime musician who, interesting to legacy music nerds like me, once was the keyboardist/vocalist and engineer for Ashford & Simpson. A native of Soho/Greenwich Village, “New York City Streets” is a stripped-down ode to Ghent’s hometown that benefits from its sparse arrangement. Every lyric, every reason she digs those dirty, grimy, never-ending streets is clearly intentional. And her enthusiasm is enough to make you love them, too.
The video itself takes viewers around the five boroughs: from the Brooklyn Bridge to the Unisphere in Queens to Little Italy and beyond. It’s a true celebration of the diversity that New York packs into a ridiculously limited amount of square miles. Ghent’s tour definitely gave me all the feels and for anyone else with even a tiny bit of affinity for NYC, I’m willing to bet it’ll make you appreciate this strange, magnificent place a little bit more.
Check out the video for Valerie Ghent’s “New York City Streets” below!