This collection of 14 sketches represents one of the most powerful song cycles of Reed's career. On New York he discusses the wider world rather than personal concerns for a change, and in the decaying but enchanting core of New York City, he found enough to sing about, like crime on "Romeo Had Juliette," the terrible impact of AIDS in "Halloween Parade," the tragedy and psychology of child abuse in the poignant "Endless Cycle," the plight of the homeless on "Xmas in February" and wrong priorities on the powerful rocker "Strawman, " where he actually sings with open throttle unlike most of the other tracks where he employs his talking-style delivery. Older themes are revisited too: "Dime Store Mystery" is a moving elegy to his former patron Andy Warhol. Not all the tracks are memorable though - "American Whale" and "Mr Waldheim" for example, are not up to the greatness of the rest of the album. In addition, due to the lack of any other but the basic rock instruments, the sound is not as varied as on some of his other classic albums. Neither is this Reed's most melodic work. However, the lyrics make up for that - in beautiful lines like "Caught between the twisted stars the plotted lines the faulty map that brought Columbus to New York", the poetry is full of sharp and lean images, driven by Rathke's guitar, Wasserman's bass and Maher's drums. This album is a beacon of literate, intelligent rock and amongst the top 5 of Reed's career.