I Love New York

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The I Love New York logo was designed by Milton Glaser in 1977.

I Love New York (stylized I ❤ NY) is both a logo and a song that are the basis of an advertising campaign and have been used since 1977 to promote tourism in New York City,[1] and later to promote New York State as well. The trademarked logo, owned by New York State Empire State Development,[2] appears in souvenir shops and brochures throughout the state, some licensed, many not. The song is the state song of New York.

File:Nick Walker Love Vandal at 6th Avenue and W 17th Street Manhattan.JPG
Nick Walker's "Love Vandal" at 17th Street and 6th Avenue in Manhattan

The logo consists of the capital letter I, followed by a red heart symbol (), below which are the capital letters N and Y, set in a rounded slab serif typeface called American Typewriter.[3]

In 1977, William S. Doyle, Deputy Commissioner of the New York State Department of Commerce, hired advertising agency Wells Rich Greene to develop a marketing campaign for New York State. Doyle also recruited Milton Glaser, a productive graphic designer to work on the campaign and create a design based on Wells Rich Greene's advertising campaign. Glaser's original sketch to accompany the agency's "I Love New York" slogan was conceived in a taxi over to a meeting for the campaign.[4] It comprised the letter I and a heart shape followed by NY, all on the same line. As the idea developed he decided to stack the I and heart shape on a line above the NY characters, later stating that he may have been a "subliminally" influenced by Robert Indiana's LOVE pop art image.[5]

Glaser expected the campaign to last only a couple months and did the work pro bono.[3] The innovative pop-style icon became a major success and has continued to be sold for years. In the popular mind (though this was not the original intention) the logo has become closely associated with New York City, and the placement of the logo on plain white T-shirts readily sold in the city has widely circulated the appearance of the image, making it a commonly recognized symbol. Glaser's original concept sketch and presentation boards were donated by Doyle to the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art, New York.[6]

The image became especially prominent following the September 11 terrorist attacks on the city, which created a sense of unity among the populace. Many visitors to the city following the attacks purchased and wore the shirts bearing the I Love New York logo as a sign of their support. Glaser created a modified version to commemorate the attacks, reading "I Love NY More Than Ever", with a little black spot on the heart symbolizing the World Trade Center site.[3] The black spot approximates the site's location on lower Manhattan Island. The poster was printed in the New York Daily News and was a fundraiser for New York charities supporting those affected by the attacks. Added text at the bottom encouraged people to "Be generous. Your city needs you. This poster is not for sale."[3]

New York State song

"I Love New York" was written and composed by Steve Karmen in 1977 as part of the advertising campaign. In 1980, Governor Hugh Carey declared it as New York State's anthem. In a move that was remarkable for Karmen, who is well known for retaining the publishing rights to his songs, he gave the rights to the song to the state for free.[7]


Actor Robin Williams wearing a T-shirt with the logo translated incorrectly into Arabic as "I love ❤ New York".

The logo has become a pop-culture icon, inspiring imitations in every corner of the globe. Merchandise proclaiming "I ..." can be found wherever tourists gather. New York has tried to uphold its trademark by filing nearly 3,000 objections against imitators (to 2005).[8]

Parodies, such as "I [spayed] My Pets" or "I [club] Seals", have also appeared.[9] Facetious expressions beginning "I heart…", are based on a literal reading of the logo (e.g., the film I Heart Huckabees and the audio conglomerate iHeartMedia).

In 1980 a court concluded that the producers of Saturday Night Live did not infringe on the copyrights of the “I Love New York” campaign with its “I Love Sodom” skit, ruling that it was a parody.[10][11]

As of 2013, the State of New York had filed thousands of "trademark objections and cease-and-desist letters" to stop copycatting, and in 2012 the state sent about one hundred letters.[12]

See also


  1. Interview with Milton Glaser, The Believer
  2. "I Love New York Logo". New York State Education Department. September 26, 2013. Retrieved May 4, 2014.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 Lambert, Tiffany (September 11, 2013). "A Heart in the Right Place". Object of the Day. Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt, National Design Museum. Retrieved September 11, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "The Story Behind I Heart New York". Buy T-Shirts Online. March 19, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Milton Glaser: his heart was in the right place". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved July 8, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Milton Glaser: his heart was in the right place". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved March 5, 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  8. Kirstin, Dorsch (July 18, 2005). "New York Loves Its Trademark". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved July 28, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Byrne, Robert (1988). 1,911 Best Things Anybody Ever Said. New York, NY: Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-449-90285-4.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Looking to Revive New York". Gothamist. February 12, 2007. Retrieved February 13, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "Elsmere Music v. National Broadcasting Co". June 9, 1980.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  12. Newman, Andy (May 29, 2013). "A Cup Is at the Heart of a Trademark Dispute". The New York Times. Retrieved May 30, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links