It was the third time Saturday's ceremonies were held in the city housing the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum with music representing both coasts of the United States, The New York Times reported.
Adam Horovitz and Mike Diamond were onstage representing the Beastie Boys. Adam "MCA" Yauch, suffering from cancer did not attend.
"Thank you, New York City, for basically raising us and giving us all the music we love and grew up on," Diamond said, as he recalled the gut-pulsing high of riding on the subway hearing "punk rock, New Wave, salsa -- it was all there."
Bette Midler, inducted singer-songwriter Laura Nyro who died of cancer in 1997 as she wiped away tears. Midler, the Times said, recalled the poet of the 70s as an Earth mother of the Upper West Side and a storyteller of a New York on an elevated poetic plane.
"She was the very essence of New York City," Midler said, "Not in a gritty, real sense, but in a passionate, romantic, ethereal way. She would take ordinary people in the most ordinary situations and spin them into heroic figures."
Donovan, Freddie King, Faces, Small Faces, Don Kirschner and the Red Hot Chili Peppers were among other inductees.
And so were Guns N' Roses without Axl Rose, who refused to appear with his old bandmates Izzy Stradlin, Matt Sorum, Duff McKagan, Slash and Steven Adler. They were introduced onstage by Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day.
"The opening riff of 'Welcome to the Jungle' is a descending trip into the underworld of Los Angeles. Of misfits, drug addicts, paranoia, sex, violence, love and anger in the cracks of Hollywood," Armstrong said.
"It was a breath of fresh air."