Lou Reed often drew inspiration from the streets of New York, but he seldom depicted the city's poverty as directly as he did on "Dirty Blvd.," representing the Big Apple through the eyes of a down-and-out character named Pedro. When it was issued as a single, the lyrics were toned down a bit, with the words "piss" and "suck" taken out. "I did the blipping," Reed told Rolling Stone. "I didn't want the promo people to feel defeated before they ever went in." Asked if the compromise bothered him, he replied, "It would bother me if the other version didn't exist."