We’ve all daydreamed on the drive from Boston to New York. Passing through the endless rest stops along Connecticut highways and state borders, it’s easy to get lost in thought while speeding through I-84 or slowly crawling along the Merritt Parkway. Boston real estate developer and music obsessive Constantine Valhouli made the most of those daydreams, as his travels between the two cities helped inspire the NYC Music Map, which details roughly 200 songs that reference specific places in New York.
One one such trip, Valhouli, who splits his time between New York and Boston, actually pulled over midway through and took public transport so he could get all of his ideas into his computer. Now with some help from friends, the NYC Music Map is live, and it’s an interactive and constantly growing online Google document that chronicles the most well-known musical shout-outs to specific New York City locations.
“Those songs are collectively a love letter to NYC,” Valhouli tells CMJ last week. “It’s like E.B. White’s Here Is New York, only with a much better bass line and back beat. And it’s fun to see how your block or neighborhood has been mythologized by, say, Leonard Cohen or Etta James or the Ramones. It’s about 200 songs, but people have been sending us suggestions and corrections. I know we’ve missed dozens (if not hundreds) of great songs about the city.”
The map links out to YouTube videos of each song, so you can actually listen to the reference points while scrolling through the map. And while NYC Music Map so far has entries from everyone from the Ramones and Lou Reed to Vampire Weekend and Death Cab For Cutie, Valhouli is always looking for additions and welcomes suggestions; email him at musicmapnyc [AT] gmail.com.
Up next for the developer, according to last week’s report by CMJ: “My hometown, Boston. Or Los Angeles.”
Let’s hope it’s the former. As places like Kenmore Square, Fort Point, and Allston Village quickly change shape, it’ll be great to have the city’s musical reference points chronicled.
Here’s a look at the NYC Music Map; click the links about to view it in real-time: