New York is a Woman


I love a good New York metaphor; if any place can support an extravagant extended poetic comparison, it’s the Big Apple. Using the ineffable feminine mystique as a broad metaphor, on the other hand, is a tricky business. Not many poets have the deft touch to pull it off, but luckily Suzanne Vega is both a lifelong observer of New York’s ebbs and flows, and an empathetic ladyperson not likely to fall into any of the more obvious entendres. If some dude with a ginger ponytail and an acoustic guitar wanted to put forth all the ways that New York is womanlike, it would not go over well. But Suzanne Vega can play with it and she plays it well. These are cliches, rescued from the bins of hard boiled noir and emo fuckboy sentimentality. New York is a temptress. She’s glamorous and indifferent. She’s an old school femme fatale. She lives up to her legends. Lines to be expected from the mouths of men who’ve neither been to New York or with a woman. So Suzanne Vega, a New York City woman, smartly dismisses them and the entire industry of romantic tropes that smogs up the city.

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