11 Apr2010

New York, New York…

by Marketman

The Teen and I were riding in a car several weeks ago, and the song “Empire State of Mind” was playing, and since I am clueless about the groups of today, I asked “who’s singing that?” Back at home, the Teen dutifully searched the net and figured out it was sung by the rapper JayZ and Alicia Keys, then in the course of looking them up, I came across the Alicia Keys solo version of the song without all the rapping and I was utterly smitten. SMITTEN. If you have read this blog long enough, you would know I sometimes get obsessive about songs and when I like one, I listen to it constantly until I tire of it. So for the past 3 weeks or so, I have listened to Alicia Keys first thing in the morning as soon as I sit down at my computer, then again several times during the day. Here is a link to the song and a video of Ms. Keys.

I have always considered New York to be my “second home” and I absolutely love the city. I have two sisters who have lived there for nearly 40 years, I spent every summer there from the age of 11 until my late 20’s, enjoying some summer weekends with one sister and her family in Quogue, and other weekends with another sister and her family in Easthampton, out on Long Island. Eventually I would study in Boston for university, but spent nearly every holiday in the Big Apple. I returned to NYC to get my MBA, and lived and worked there for several years before moving back to Southeast Asia. As a family, we try to visit New York as often as we can. But I guess you could say I am in a “New York State of Mind” several times a year… So this evening, I find it a somewhat amazing set of coincidences that (1) the song which I am currently obsessing about, turns out to be (2) a song in the upcoming movie “Sex and the City 2” which of course is based in New York. But in the upcoming movie, it seems that the characters head to adventure in the Middle East, and though it is touted predominantly as being in Abu Dhabi, they did in fact spend several weeks filming in Marakkech, Morocco…

Which leads to the last set of “what are the chances that…” train of thought. For several months, Mrs. MM, The Teen and I had been planning our summer holiday in June and had already settled on (3) Marakkech as one of our destinations, before word got out that this SATC2 movie had just filmed there and that was almost certainly going to lead to a surge in tourist traffic to the city after the movie opens in the theaters in late May… So while we hadn’t planned it that way, maybe it was just in the stars anyway… :) After reviewing dozens and dozens of potential riads/hotels to stay at in Marakkech, I noticed that Mrs. MM also has this song obsession fetish, as she has gotten hooked on this very beguiling song in arabic from a video on Marakkech hotels, listen to the song, here. :) P.S., if any of you can identify the name of the song in arabic, Mrs. MM would like to buy it on itunes if available and would be grateful for your help… Thanks. :)



  1. Tricia says:

    MM, maybe you mean SATC2? :)

    Apr 11, 2010 | 9:31 pm


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  3. Marketman says:

    Tricia, yes, I did mean SATC2. :) Thanks, it has been revised.

    Apr 11, 2010 | 9:35 pm

  4. Tricia says:

    I love New York! Thanks to your tip, I did not seem like a lost carabao when I visited again last year after my 1st visit in ’88. Remember the flower market on 28th st.? :)

    Apr 11, 2010 | 10:03 pm

  5. Footloose says:

    Yes, I’ll take Manhattan anytime too.

    Apr 11, 2010 | 10:17 pm

  6. Connie C says:

    It is interesting how music can affect us in many ways, including cognitive development and functioning and even affect our blood pressure. But like scents or food, our taste in music is very personal. I was once similarly “smitten” by a Michael Jackson piece, “Ben”, a melancholy song about, of all things, a killer rat.


    If you can’t find the downloadable music for Mrs. MM, and would go thru the trouble, try recording on cassette tape then have it formatted to CD form. I did this once for a karaoke music I needed for a class reunion. A friend who works for a CD distributor did it for me but I am sure you have some techie guys around with the right converter who can do it for you.

    Apr 11, 2010 | 10:27 pm

  7. twotoasters says:

    MM, you might also enjoy this version of Empire State of Mind which has Alicia Keys performing with Stephen Colbert: http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/258570/december-15-2009/alicia-keys—empire-state-of-mind–part-ii–broken-down

    Apr 11, 2010 | 10:27 pm

  8. Connie C says:

    BTW, a one time copy and not for commercial purpose would be all right….I hope.

    Apr 11, 2010 | 10:39 pm

  9. Christina says:

    New York is a special place. I can’t think of another major world city that is as open to the world and newcomers — I think the stat is 50% of the people in the city at any given time were not born here.It’s so much of everything, beautiful, homeless, rich, corrupt, talented, friendly/not friendly, it doesn’t allow easy conclusions about life and that’s what makes it so special.

    I moved here when I was 22, from a conservative town in Florida, and was just smitten. I like to say New York was my first love.

    Thanks for the link MM. Great rendition of the song.

    You ever listen to the Beastie Boys’ “Open Letter to NY”? http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sn33fYFNek8&feature=related

    They wrote it after 9/11, a love letter to the city I guess.

    Apr 12, 2010 | 12:14 am

  10. frenchadobo says:

    the title of the song is Shukran Allah .

    Apr 12, 2010 | 12:47 am

  11. frenchadobo says:

    additional info, the song Shukran Allah is sung by Sonu and Shreya. hope that helps MM !

    Apr 12, 2010 | 12:50 am

  12. botchok says:

    The song is from the soundtrack of an indian film entitled Kurbaan. I first heard of this song early last year and i liked it too! I also like Alicia keys version of Empire state of mind, I’m not into rap music.

    Apr 12, 2010 | 1:10 am

  13. denise says:

    New York City is on the list of places to visit before I die…

    I bought a Lonely Planet guidebook of Morocco last year, coz me and my cousin thought we could go, unfortunately, it’s just gathering dust now :( and tip for you MM and Mrs MM…don’t get suckered into buying a carpet! Unless you have a trustworthy guide, most are tourist traps (from the guidebook and another travel book I read)

    Apr 12, 2010 | 1:34 am

  14. Ken says:

    Hi MM,

    I’ve been following your blog for quite sometime already.

    Here’s how you can have an MP3 copy of the song…

    download and install this free software:


    once installed, all you have to do is paste the link of the video and then choose how you want it converted (mp4, avi, mp3) and since you wanted to extract the song, so you choose MP3.

    Hope that works!


    Apr 12, 2010 | 2:49 am

  15. Dea says:

    Ah, Morocco is one of my ultimate dream destinations. Fortunately for us Pinoys, a visa is not required to visit.

    New York, too. I’ll see you someday, New York! These vagabond shoes are longing to stray and step around the heart of it!

    Apr 12, 2010 | 3:28 am

  16. Angela says:

    OMG! This is the first time I’ve heard Alicia Keys’ version and I LOVE it. Thanks for sharing.

    Apr 12, 2010 | 5:35 am

  17. janjan says:

    If you want a funny – but still way cool – version, see Stephen Colbert perform it with Ms. Keys! They’re an odd pair, but she was very cool about it and Colbert is always a riot.


    Apr 12, 2010 | 5:44 am

  18. Marketman says:

    french adobo and botchok, THANK YOU for that, now with those leads I am sure Mrs. MM will find it… :) twotoasters and janjan, thanks for the link to the other version! Ken, is that legal? :)

    Apr 12, 2010 | 6:26 am

  19. dragon says:

    @ MM: checked out vdownloader – it’s for pc’s only… and I agree, I liked both Alicia Keys’ version as well as the Shukrah Allah song…

    Apr 12, 2010 | 7:47 am

  20. Nats Lee says:

    OOOHHH… I love love love the song too !!!

    I spent 3 weeks in NYC and I got SMITTEN too !!! I love the City and really felt and understand the song when I was there! =)

    Central Park in Winter, Sirloin Burger at Soho Park Cafe, 5th Avenue, Ferrara in Little Italy, Top of the Rock at Rockefeller Plaza, Grand Central Station, Shake Shack and Junior’s Cheesecake and Brasserie Les Halles … Haaaaaaaayyyyyyyyy … How I miss them !!!


    Apr 12, 2010 | 8:02 am

  21. Rebecca says:

    Love that song! I’m a New Yorker, but 1st heard it in a Sydney thrift store. :D

    Apr 12, 2010 | 8:16 am

  22. millet says:

    luv it, luv it!

    Apr 12, 2010 | 9:19 am

  23. jules winnfield says:

    originally was not too hot about the song, then i went nuts when my 2 daughters, ages 8 and 6, sang it when the song came over the car radio.

    Apr 12, 2010 | 9:56 am

  24. emsy says:

    alicia keys and jay z sang that song in the yankee stadium for the 27th world series (game 2 if i remember right). we’re yankee fans, my partner and i, and we were watching the game on tv when they performed. baseball folks being so supertitious, we think that that is the song that jumpstarted the yankees back up again…the first game was really bad but they picked up after game 2. we play it now everytime the yankees have a home game. haha

    Apr 12, 2010 | 12:39 pm

  25. Isa Garchitorena says:

    You should get the shazam app for iPhone/ itouch that where you can have your phone ‘listen’ to the song playing and it will tell you what it is and where to download it from!

    Apr 12, 2010 | 2:34 pm

  26. Mom-Friday says:

    That song really rings so loud on my head sometimes, parang hypnotic no? :-) even my boy humms it unconsciously! New York was the first state of USA that I came to know coz an uncle lives there, so I just hope I get to visit that great city soon!
    MM, you might want to check out my friend’s blog who wrote extensively about Marrakech:


    Have a great vacation!

    Apr 12, 2010 | 2:55 pm

  27. deebee says:

    MM, June will be freaking hot in Marrakech (in the low to mid-30s celsius) though it gets worse as summer peaks, so you might want to consider that in your plans. We were in Morocco last December and found it to be the ideal time to visit, with cooler temperatures, 18-20 celsius and without the hordes of tourists. i imagine it could be nightmarish to go around the souks in summer, with the heat and the crowds. in any case, i suggest that you also visit Fes — it’s more interesting, i think, than Marrakech, and if only to visit the famous tanneries. in Marrakech, a must-visit is Jardin Majorelle, Yves Saint Laurent’s former home and where he is buried — it’s an unforgettable place, an oasis in every sense of the word.

    Apr 12, 2010 | 5:25 pm

  28. Marketman says:

    deebee, we don’t have much choice due to school holidays, and yes, we are steeling ourselves for HOT temperatures…

    Apr 12, 2010 | 8:48 pm

  29. j. says:

    Frenchadobo is right, it’s Shukran Allah sung by Sonu Nigam and Shreya Ghosal, from a Bollywood movie with Saif Ali Khan (one of the top Bollywood actors at this time, and one my faves), Kurbaan.

    Apr 12, 2010 | 9:54 pm

  30. millet says:

    oh no, this is my LSS now..

    about time new york got a new anthem. “new york, new york” is old and tired.

    Apr 12, 2010 | 11:06 pm

  31. Muzzy says:

    aah…new york, new york, big city of dreams ….. i was there for undergrad….one thing i remember from freshman year was this filipino related promotion at bloomingdales … i’m not the shopper type, but i went because they were also serving filipino food …. the adobo i had was not bad at all.

    Apr 13, 2010 | 3:51 am

  32. wil-b says:

    Love this sing too. . . both the alicia solo and the one with jay-z :)

    Apr 13, 2010 | 10:20 am

  33. RoBStaR says:

    MM, here’s a parody of the empire state of mind video using star wars characters by college humor.com


    Apr 14, 2010 | 9:48 am


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