Zappa in New York is a live double album by Frank Zappa. It was recorded at a series of concerts at the Palladium in New York City in December 1976.
Zappa in New York was released in the UK only by Zappa's DiscReet Records label in 1977, then quickly withdrawn. A second version was re-released in March 1978 with changes ordered by DiscReet's distributor, Warner Bros. Records. The 1978 edition reached #57 on the Billboard 200 albums chart.
Immediately following the 1976 concerts Zappa spent time in the studio adding a significant number of overdubs to the live recordings. Several of these recordings were originally intended for the shelved album Läther, including "The Illinois Enema Bandit" "The Black Page #1", "Big Leg Emma", "Punky's Whips", "The Purple Lagoon" and "I Promise Not To Come In Your Mouth."
The album is notable for the presence of members of the Saturday Night Live band, including Lou Marini and Tom Malone, as well as the Brecker Brothers. In addition, Don Pardo was invited by Zappa to the Palladium concert, and he provides introductory narrations to Punky's Whips and The Illinois Enema Bandit. On the CD version Pardo also delivers a verse of I'm the Slime (he did the same for Zappa's 1976 Saturday Night Live appearance).
The lyrics of Punky's Whips were intended as an inside joke regarding drummer Terry Bozzio's purported infatuation with Punky Meadows, lead guitarist of the band Angel. Titties and Beer also features Bozzio in the role of the Devil, with whom Zappa tries to negotiate in order to reacquire the titular possessions. The song references "Milhous Nixon" and "Agnew" whose souls are supposedly taken by the Devil. This is a clear re-interpretation of Histoire du soldat by Igor Stravinsky, one of Zappa's favorite classical composers.
The "favorite group" of the girl portrayed in "Honey Don't You Want a Man Like Me?" is said to be Helen Reddy. In concert performances from the 1980s Zappa would change the name to Twisted Sister or Echo & the Bunnymen. The lyrics of The Illinois Enema Bandit are based on facts about the criminal actions of Michael H. Kenyon.
Alongside humorous lyrics, Zappa presented many musically complex instrumental passages which stretched the band's skill to the absolute limit. Among the most complicated parts are the instrumentals The Black Page and Manx Needs Women. This title references the 1967 science fiction B-movie Mars Needs Women. The Purple Lagoon is an extended instrumental which takes up an entire side of vinyl. It features a complicated opening theme (based on Zappa's earlier composition Approximate) and jazz-like solos from the Brecker Brothers, bassist Patrick O'Hearn and saxophonist Ronnie Cuber.