Patti Smith says “I’ll always love New York City,” isn’t worried about its future
Patti Smith moved to New York in 1967 and has certainly seen a lot of changes to the city over the last 52 years. 2020 has been a year like no other, but even amid cries of "New York is Dead," she's not too worried the city's future. In a new interview with the Wall Street Journal, Smith says, "New York City — despite anything I like or not like — I’ve always thought it was one of the greatest cities in the world because of its diversity. I’ve been all over the world and I still think it’s one of the most diverse cities. I’ll always love New York City."
She does admit that 2020 has been challenging, causing her to spend more time in her hometown than she has in years. "I was about to embark on a world tour in the middle of March, which was going on for the whole year, which took an equal year to prepare," she tells WSJ. "And because I’ll be going into my 74th year, it was possibly going to be one of my last such vigorous tours, so I spent a lot of time on it—developing a mindset toward public life, collaboration, travel. I was mentally and physically prepared for that, and then to abruptly switch to solitude, almost total solitude, not seeing anyone, not seeing any of my people. And having to go from the extroverted life of a performer to the introverted life of a writer was a challenge because I wasn’t prepared for it."
Patti does lament what's happened to Downtown New York -- "The last thing that happened before the pandemic started was they demolished the City Winery where we all loved to play, and such a great venue, so they can build a huge corporate building" -- but says ultimately she more worried about what's going on in the rest of the world. "I mean, we’re worried about what’s going to happen but you look at places in East Africa where there’s billions of locusts. They have the biggest epidemic of locusts, where all of their crops are gone. In Yemen, children are dying every day from starvation. We have what is happening in terms of climate change. So I’m not fixated on what’s going to happen in New York City."
Jerry Seinfeld also thinks NYC is going to be alright.
You can watch Patti Smith read from her recent memoir Year of the Monkey on an upcoming livestream broadcast from Brooklyn's Murmrr Theatre on September 4.