New York


In February 1940, in the middle of a blizzard, Guthrie hitchhiked to New York City and his life changed forever. Despite his fame as a road-tripping “ramblin’ man” of the American interior, Guthrie spent nearly half his days in the New York metropolitan area. His living arrangements included friends’ couches, cheap hotels, and numerous apartments from Greenwich Village to Coney Island. He established important friendships and wrote many of his most enduring songs here, including “My Name Is New York,” which registers the various contradictions that shape the city’s identity.

“My Name Is New York”
Typed lyrics, undated


Steve Earle: New York was a further awakening for Woody Guthrie. It was here that he truly blossomed; here he met and fell in love with his second wife, Marjorie Mazia; here he met Alan Lomax, Pete Seeger, Lead Belly, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee—a musical fellowship that would help to energize and transform him into a national figure. And this city had so much to show him about the disparities of American life.

Music: “My Name is New York”