Garvey describes New York in the song as "the modern Rome, where folk are nice to Yoko." "That comes from John Lennon," he explained to The Independent
. "In his last press conference when he left England for good, he said: 'Why wouldn't you go to New York? Every nation on Earth represented, all getting along – it's the modern Rome'. Then he said: 'Besides, they're nice to Yoko.'"
"Quite aside from what people think, whether she was responsible or not for splitting up The Beatles – and I'm very sure she wasn't, knowing band dynamics as I do – it was the out-and-out racism that accompanied that, so when New York clutched them to its bosom as icons, they were very flattered, and it was the place where they felt they could live together and be happy," Garvey continued. "They were never far from my thoughts when I arrived in New York, being a Northerner and a musician. Knowing the love he had for his roots, it must have been very difficult for him to transplant himself, knowing he was a national hero."Yoko Ono
responded to the namecheck by penning an open letter to Elbow. She wrote on her official website: "Dear Guy, Craig, Mark, Pete and Richard, Yes. New York has been kind to me as your song says. Thank you (sic)."
"For John, he always wanted to come and live in this city, ever since he saw Bob Dylan on the famous album cover (The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan
). And I played the catalyst to make his dream come true."
"But in sleepless nights, I am still living in the memory of my sweet husband, who was virtually kicked out of his own country that he loved so dearly and learned to live in this bleak port city just so his woman and he could live in peace."
"Two sides of the coin. Life is. Have a great time in New York.
We loved it. Love, Yoko."