"New York City Cops" as written by and Julian Casablancas....
Ha-ha, I meant ah!
No, I didn't mean that at all

Here in the streets so mechanized
Rise to the bottom of the meaning of life
Studied all the rules and didn't want no part
But I let you in just to break this heart
Even though it was only one night, it was
Fucking strange

Nina's in the bedroom,
She said, "time to go now"
But leavin' it ain't easy
I got to let go, oh, I got to let go
And the hours they ran slow
I said, every night, she just can't stop saying

New York City cops, New York City cops
New York City cops, but they ain't too smart
New York City cops, New York City cops
New York City cops, but they ain't too smart

Well, kill me now 'cause I let you down
I swear one day I'm gonna leave this town
Yes, I'm leaving, 'cause it just won't work
And they act like Romans, but they dress like Turks
Some time in your prime
See me, I like the summertime but, hey

Nina's in the bedroom
She said, "time to go now"
But leaving, it ain't easy
Oh, I got to let go, oh, I got to let go, oh
Trapped in an apartment
She would not let them get her
She wrote it in a letter
I got to come clean but the authorities they've seen
Darling, I'm somewhere in between
I said, every night, she just can't stop saying

New York City cops, New York City cops
New York City cops, but they ain't too smart
New York City cops, New York City cops
New York City cops, but they ain't too smart

Lyrics submitted by magicnudiesuit

"New York City Cops" as written by Julian Casablancas


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New York City Cops song meanings
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  • +7
    General Commenti completely agree boomerstyle. the album was released so shortly after 9/11 that there was no way the strokes could leave the song on the album. despite the fact that people are "overly sensitive" about the terrorist attacks, the album would have been received differently had they left this song on "is this it." it was a good move to leave it out, even though this is one of my favorite strokes songs (which is saying a lot).

    i've always thought that the opening lines were, "here in the streets of american nights" but i could be wrong. julian's voice is appropriately scratchy in the opening. the unclear vocals contribute to the sense of confusion that pervades the song.

    anyway, i think that this song needs some more interpretation. i don't think that this song is about a prostitute. julian finds himself in this girl's appartment in NYC late in the night. he's "studied all the rules" and he knows that he shouldn't be there but this night is particularly "fucking strange." we've all had those crazy moments at one point or another when we ask ourselves, "what the hell am i dong here?" you have every reason to get up and leave but for whatever reason you have to stay and see how it all plays out. this is one of those moments for julian.

    if you listen closely, you realize that it's not julian who's saying that new york city cops arent smart, it's this crazy girl nina. she's evidently doing something illegal--maybe she's prostituting herself, but my guess is it involves drugs--and while a paranoid julian has his doubts about her dealings, nina foolishly believes that she can do no wrong. her answer to everything is "new york city cops, they ain't so smart." the irony is that nina is actually the "not so smart" one because eventually the cops nail her.

    the lines, "they act like romans but they dress like turks" could apply to the cops themselves but i think they refer to nina (or girls like nina). it's nina who's the real threat to julian, not the cops. he has to leave her but he just can't will himself to go.

    i think the lines, "darling i'm somewhere in between" sum up the sentiment of the song entirely. it's about finding yourself between day and night. it's about the indecision you face upon realizing that you're at some girl's apartment at 3am. it's about purposely doing the wrong thing just for the sake of obtaining a better story. it's about limbo.

    god, i love the strokes.
    rita meteron November 08, 2004   Link
  • +3
    General Commentwonderful song. And wtf's up with the whole sep 11th thing? god, some americans are just too weird. They were even thinkin about changing the lotr "two towers" to something else, and what now? they changed tracks on a single.. its weird...
    .nevermindon November 20, 2004   Link
  • +1
    General Comment'New York City Cops' was the b-side on the 'Hard To Explain' single in June 2001. It was included on the UK version of 'Is This It' and on the American vinyl pressings of the album, which were both released in August 2001, but when New York suffered the terrorist attacks of September 11th 2001, it was thought an inappropriate lyric to include on the album, and was replaced with the song 'When It Started'. It delayed the album's release from the planned September 25th date until mid October, but it was felt neseccary by the band to maintain an air of positivity through-out the crisis.

    magicnudiesuiton December 11, 2001   Link
  • +1
    General Commentwithout meaning _any_ disrespect _at all_, i think people are too sensitive about september 11th.

    great song, nice guitar solo.. you u.s. guys are missing out..
    greenplasticon May 01, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment"Fucking strange..." God, you're a genius Julian. :D
    gratisfactionon July 22, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General CommentGreen plastic, i oh so do agree with you.
    gillie_hendrixon July 18, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI agree with greenplastic. Yes it was terrible and it shouldn't have happened, but it brought a lot of people together. Music and free speech shouldn't be compramised evertime something upsets someone. There's a lot of bad music out there that upsets me, but I'm not going out and sueing them or stopping the selling of their music just cause I disagree with it. I just choose not to listen to it and others should do the same. People need to grow up and realize that isn't the answer.

    Oh by the way, this song kicks ass! Rock on Strokes!
    alohaparadiseon July 22, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenthey, is it just me or does he make a little snorting noise at the end.....ummm like he's snorting coke
    and though i'm american i agree people are really sensitive, like overly sensitive
    and new york city cops do suck
    stupidrocker09on August 03, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYeh I agree...I didn't think this song was about that reallly...it's not meant to be some kind of controversial thing against the NYC cops...oh well...but if they thought that then it's their choice yahey go the strokes!

    Yeh there is a snorting noise...I alwaysthought it was just sniffing and then the sound of someone walking through the snow (!!!!) but yah whatever...
    zoecedon August 10, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti always thought it said "mirrors in the bedroom" that would have been alot cooler line.
    myndmelton August 23, 2002   Link

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