The album received universal critical acclaim upon release, and is widely considered to be among Reed's strongest solo efforts. It is highly regarded for the strength and force of its lyrical content; Reed stated that he required simple music so that it would not distract from his frank lyrics. The single "Dirty Blvd." was a number-one hit on the newly createdBillboardModern Rock Trackschart for four weeks.
Reed's former band,the Velvet Underground, were at the peak of their cult popularity in the late 1980s, but his solo career had hit several lows during the 1980s. The widespread popularity ofNew Yorkreignited his career to the extent the Velvet Underground were revived for a world tour.
Velvet Underground drummerMoe Tuckerplayed percussion on two tracks.
All tracks are written byLou Reed, except as indicated.