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Clayton Patterson Responds to Taylor Swift's Welcome to New York
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Late Show with David Letterman on Oct 29, 2014

From her new album, "TS 1989," Taylor Swift performs "Welcome To New York."

Walking through a crowd, the village is aglow
Kaleidoscope of loud heartbeats under coats
Everybody here wanted something more
Searching for a sound we hadn't heard before
And it said Welcome to New York
It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

It's a new soundtrack
I could dance to this beat, beat
The lights are so bright
But they never blind me, me
           Welcome to New York
It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

When we first dropped our bags
on apartment floors
Took our broken hearts, put them in a drawer
Everybody here was someone else before
And you can want who you want
Boys and boys and girls and girls
           Welcome to New York
It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

It's a new soundtrack
I could dance to this beat, beat

The lights are so bright
But they never blind me, me
           Welcome to New York
It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

Like any great love,
it keeps you guessing
Like any real love, it's ever-changing
Like any true love, it drives you crazy
But you know you wouldn't change
anything, anything, anything
           Welcome to New York
It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York
It's a new soundtrack
I could dance to this beat
The lights are so bright
But they never blind me
           Welcome to New York
New soundtrack
It's been waiting for you
           Welcome to New York
The lights are so bright
But they never blind me
           Welcome to New York
So bright, they never blind me
           Welcome to New York
           Welcome to New York

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She was born on December 13, 1989, in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania, Taylor Swift started crafting songs at age 5, and at age 16, released her debut album. Hits like "Love Story" and "You Belong With Me" appealed to country and pop fans alike and helped fuel the multiplatinum success of her albums, with Fearless the 2009 top-seller. She has won many awards, including several Grammy Awards, and modeled for Cover Girl.

POP STARDOM: Stardom: In 2008, Swift was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best New Artist category, and won the Academy of Country Music's "Female Vocalist of the Year" Award, the American Music Awards "Favorite Female Country Artist" award, and the American Music Association's "Horizon" award. Around this same time, Swift released her next album, Fearless (2008), which hit the top of both the country and pop charts and stayed there for 11 weeks. By the end of the year, Swift had become the highest-selling country artist of 2008.

VIDEO MUSIC AWARDS: In 2009, Swift netted several awards for her work on Fearless, including "Video of the Year" and "Female Video of the Year" for "Love Story" at the CMT Music Awards. On September 13, 2009, Swift also won the MTV Video Music Award for "Best Female Video," making her the first country music star to win an MTV Video Music Award. The win stirred controversy when rapper Kanye West leaped to the stage during Swift's speech, took the microphone, and declared that R&B singer Beyoncé should have won Swift's award. The stunned Swift was unable to make her acceptance speech, and West was removed from the show. When Beyoncé accepted her award for "Best Video of the Year" later in the show, she called Swift to the stage to finish her speech. West later apologized to Swift privately, and made a public apology on The Jay Leno Show.

COMMERCIAL SUCCESS: The attention from the award show made Swift an even hotter commodity. Her concert tickets began selling out in less than two minutes, and she also made her second appearance on comedy show Saturday Night Live, this time as both the host and musical guest. Additionally, she became the youngest artist to win the Grammy Award for Album of the Year in 2010 for Fearless. In 2010, she released the album Speak Now, which featured the hit songs "Mean," "Ours" and "Sparks Fly." The album was a success, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 chart, selling more than one million copies in its first week. She followed that album with Red (2012), featuring the hit single "We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together" and also selling more than one million copies in its first week. With her fourth album, Swift became the first woman in history to release two albums that sold more than one million copies in their opening week. She was ranked No. 1 as Forbes magazine's highest paid celebrity under 30 in 2012, beating out Justin Bieber, Rihanna and Lady Gaga with a salary of $57 million. She has also been tapped for four CMA nominations in 2009—"Female Vocalist," "Music Video of the Year," "Best Album" and "Entertainer of the Year"—as well as six American Music Award nominations. The following year, Swift shared some of her fortune to help others. She funded the $4 million Taylor Swift Education Center at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville. The facility has three classrooms, a learning lab and a space dedicated to exhibits for children. In an interview with CMT Hot 20 Countdown, she explained that "music education is really such an important part of my life. My life changed so completely when I discovered writing my own songs and playing guitar, and that can't necessarily all be taught to you in school because there aren't enough hours in the day." Also in 2013, Swift was honored with the CMA Pinnacle Award for her achievements as a country music performer and for her "positive impact" on country music, according to CMA website. She picked up this award, along with two other wins for her collaboration with Tim McGraw and Keith Urban, at the CMA Awards ceremony held that November. Swift's winning streak continued at the American Music Awards. For the third year in a row, she picked up the AMA Award for artist of the year. Swift also took home the top honors for country album of the year and favorite female artist in both the country and pop/rock categories. With her next effort, Swift seemed to step further away from her country music roots. She released 1989, her most pop-sounding record to date, in October 2014. "Shake It Off" proved to be one of the catchiest tracks of the year, reaching the top of the pop charts.


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Please take sec to view this very important message from NYC & Co.
From the city's new spokesperson, Taylor Swift.
VIDEOCLIP 2:28 min | published on October 30, 2014

Clayton Patterson | Videographer
Clayton Patterson

Rivington Starchild | Concept
Rivington Starchild

Jeff Hammer | Editor
Jeff Hammer

COMMENT by Clayton Patterson: imagine this: you go to the mall to hear a famous LA singer perform on TV- the show will be a live broadcast and you are in the crowd. The IN CROWD! oh excuse me that mall is not in Jersey. No! It is the new 42 street turned mall – TV – ABC Good Morning America. The LA singer is the new NYC Cultural Ambassador, the individual who represents NYC culture, our spokes person to the world: Taylor Swift. This is not a dream. This nightmare is for real. Why struggle to make it in NYC? We have exported the jobs, and now let’s import the talent. No different than Banksy taking over NYC Street Art. Wake up NYC.

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cedric12261: Hey, anyone can tell me a name of the last song??

Pat Finmield: Sounds a lot like a band called A.R.E. Weapons, but I don't know the song.?

unfluster: New York City isn't just dead. It DIED some 25 years ago (back when Clayton shot this footage). So what's the big deal? Taylor Swift didn't kill it. Rudy Giuliani did. Five thousand greedy landlords did. If you don't like it, blame the landlords! As for Taylor Swift, she is the perfect spokesmodel for the way New York City is NOW. I only wished they'd change the name of New York City to 'Happy-Funsivlle' so it's not confused with the place that Giuliani single-handedly destroyed and no longer exist. (I think 'Happy-Funsville' is a good name because it would attract more tourists with kids!)?

ShutUpH00ker: I've lived in the east village since birth, close to 50 years... and none of these assholes represent the nabe in the late 80's nor do they now. Just sour grapes by assholes living in the fringes of society. ... and now the complaints will roll from the liberal mindset and "anarchists" who were never smart enough to hold on to any piece of the East Village/Lower East Side. As far as Swift is concerned who the fuck do you want to see; the ghost of GG Allin ? ... And she's being used so the rest of the country will visit and spend money here, and yes Virginia they ain't all gonna spend it at Trash & Vaudeville. This is vid trite and pedantic. Enjoy it because it will probably yanked soon.?

BohemianWays: Born and raised in NYC, I dislike the fact that Ms. Swift is speaking as though she can represent this city, however all of this violent stuff you added happened so long ago and this is NOT what NYC is all about. That stuff happens every where. But I agree that TS should leave. Great editing job :)?

Max Ð?: All these videos are old, so it's not convincing?


Geraldine Visco: Ha ha, Taylor Swift, the completely unsuitable "ambassador" of NYC. Check out how she just doesn't fit in here!?

Phoebe Legere: LOVE?

Cheryl Pyle: dig!?

Fannie Ip: ...the good ole days?

Phillip Van: I love the shit out of this.

vega120: So True..............Whats the name of the song in the last few seconds of the video???

gary ray: this is beautiful! I don't want it any other way...?

April P: The New York experience, welcome to the asphalt jungle.?

Jenn Foiles: This is divine. Thank you.

Thank You Clayton Patterson!!!!?

ChrisTugger: this is fucking untouchable?

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GABY BESS: New York Artist Clayton Patterson Responds to Taylor Swift's "Welcome To New York" | in: on Oct 30, 2014 | Clayton Patterson made a stunning career out of documenting New York's teeming downtown world in the '80s. Lately, the artist has been threatening to move to Austria since the New York he once admired, lived in, and struggled against -- with bonafide punks, bohemians, and outsider artists -- is, in his eyes, gone. Now, he's responded to Taylor Swift's chipper love letter to a new New York with jarring clips of police brutality, raves, and bizarre happenings from the '80s.
The New York that Taylor Swift has gotten to know in the short time that she's served as the City's ambassador glosses over anything that's not inspiring and uplifting, which makes sense. Taylor Swift is trying to welcome tourists, not scare them off. And for what it's worth, the New York City that Taylor Swift lives in probably really is a fairytale free of grit. As Vulture points out, when Taylor Swift does decide to explore the city in a twee dress with her cat in tow, she doesn't stray very far from her $20M Tribeca apartment.

Even though there's plenty of occasions for the City to be less than hospitable for those who aren't rich and white, even Patterson himself admits that New York has changed, become corporate -- almost validating Taylor Swift's perspective. "The energy is gone. My community is gone. I'm getting out. But the sad fact is: I didn't really leave the Lower East Side. It left me," he told the New York Times. But we're not sure what Patterson is conveying here, in his Taylor Swift mash-up. Is he critiquing Taylor Swift's simplistic view of NYC or is he only lamenting the New York "energy" of the 80s, even it's darker tones, that he once loved and made work from? This story was published on October 30, 2014 5:10 PM

Penny Arcade: Hey lets talk about how naive and entitled Taylor Swift is.. apparently she hasn't heard of the gentrification, hyper gentrification or colonization of NY. She is not in a position to hear of the constant evictions, vicious landlord harassment, towards longtime NYers and the elderly, the destruction of the the very fiber of NY's diversity...This is not about the 80's or even the 90's...she co-opts 1989 (the year she was spawned using the rebellion inherent in 1989 but apparently she doesn't READ or THINK very far outside her own privileged class...certainly she is unaware of the artists in her age group(24) struggling to pay the rent in a roach infested slum apartments with 4 other kids who can't pay their student loans, work 4 jobs and still try to make art. Taylor Swift is a Stepford manufactured artist with a good body for clothes and nothing between her ears. She is pretending to "Rebel" against her record company, feign modesty about donating the profits from one song to NY Schools that she will earn over $500 million from (a PR move to battle the damage done by her accepting to be Ambassador of NY when NY is FULL of artists like Deborah Harry who are authentic NY'ers ) and that donation is a HUGE TAX write off not to mention worth millions in PR just like her pathetic use of a child dying of Leukemia as a video op for The View...REVOLTING! Trashy! My disgust can hardly be articulated enough to remove the bad taste

Góthic Hangman: Clayton Patterson is an amazing member of the vanguard that made up New York's rich tableau. Having grown up in the Village I firsthand know this lament. Indeed nothing is truer than "I didn't really leave the Lower East Side. It left me." It's hard to be any more clear how we should view this response. Penny Arcade (Below) is an articulate wordsmith that knows all these changes too well. This cities creative heart has been under attack for decades. Everything with character has become sanitized to make the city safe for these Sex & The City Disney Princess wannabes. While urban blight may not be chic, it kept these self-entitled trustafarians from venturing here. How this girl became an ambassador for this city is a joke, we need to resurrect Ole Blue Eyes at least he had something that resembled class.

Bunny Beach: "I didn't really leave the Lower East Side. It left me..." What the writer fails to understand is that the people who made that city thrive that Swift speaks of the art, humanity, etc crowd THAT INSPIRE YOU to come there, are being pushed out and either gone. That most of the people in Patterson's video fought for something that made NYC what it was once: interesting, great with way more freedoms than there are there now. People really fought for sh#t in NYC then. The city has turned into a shiny corporate police state for vapid rich idiots like Taylor Swift..she looks touched in the noggin in the video too, dead eyes with huh, what... I hope she gets "electrified." in every sense of the word. fk it is halloween and I am suppose to be polite today...

Edward Shott: Representational oil painter at Self: I really do want to see her naked!!!!


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A Taylor Swift, 'Welcome to New York' mash-up courtesy of Clayton Patterson | in: EV GRIEVE, New York, on October 30, 2014 | Longtime LES documentarian Clayton Patterson has re-imagined/re-edited Taylor Swift's much-maligned "Welcome to New York" video … with archival footage from his archives circa the 1980s and early 1990s, including the Tompkins Square riots… there's also some footage of GG Allin writhing around on Avenue B for good measure.

Per Clayton's message via email: Are there no NYC songwriters or musicians who could write a song and be a face representing the city? There is no talent in NYC? What is the message to struggling or successful artists? Where are our politicians on this corporate insult to NYC talent? Where are the agencies that represent NYC talent? What is the message to struggling or successful artists? What is the message to the average NY'er? Tell me DeBlasio is different from Bloomberg. It is one thing to make NYC into a corporate mall filled with cookie cutter corporate businesses, but now we have an individual with almost no relationship to NYC as the face and voice representing the city. It is like we have lost our mind?

NOTORIOUS: Is his commentary that New York is a place for artists or a place to be brutalized by the police? If it's the first, isn't there some recent footage of local working artists, say, Kembra Phaler playing in TSP, Penny Arcade, Bob Holman, etc., that could have been used to make this point? Or is the point to continuously past-worship?

Anonymous: Tay! is perfect to represent the NYC Today! She's young! rich! white! entitled! and peppy! much like the average New Yorker Today, esp. East Village Today!

Anonymous: Taylor Swift was a bad choice but to Notorious's point, why not counter with a piece celebrating real NYC artists?

moe: The use of the word WHITE as a put down by you fools is tiresome already. Be aware that the "great" East Village scenes that you endlessly crybaby over, punk, the squats, the art scene, etc were about 95 percent WHITE in case you forgot. I'm looking at that shot from in front of the Filmore, yeah it's a real soul kitchen out there. You white folks that hate yourself, go see a therapist or committ suicide, whatever it takes, but putting down WHITE people every chance you get won't help. I barely know who this Swift person is, but I won't hold her skin color against her in any case. Signed, just another white guy.

Anonymous: Taylor Swift ain't no white? It's ok for the mostly whites to push the mostly minorities out of their neighborhood but, no, don't ever call them white. How about bland as vanilla. Would the self-righteous white guy agree to that? Welcome to politically correct New York!

Anonymous: I am a white guy born and raised in this city and I second the comment left by Moe. Thank you for taking the time to read my comment.

Anonymous: Was Lady a Gaga busy?

Anonymous: If anything this clip backfires from it's creators intent. The gushing from corporate America's favorite spokesperson Swift is preferable to the riot scenes and brutality which I am suppose to believe is a better place and time in which to live. I don't recall many artists deciding to confront the police in this manner they are too smart for that. We all know the city has been gutted of all most of its uniqueness and its cultural engine but what I've seen of this video none of this gets across probably because the intent is to shock and anger not educate and motivate us to join forces and use the laws in our favor.

FigKitty: People like Clayton Patterson (and certain commenters on this board) remind me of the middle-aged ladies rocking Farrah Fawcett hairdos well into the 90s while I was growing up in rural PA. Idealizing (and refusing to let go of) their own youth to the point where they couldn't see that times had changed, and they looked ridiculous. Maybe Taylor Swift isn't the best choice, but she's a lot more relevant to New York today than some old videos from the 80s and 90s are! It seems that the definition of "real New York" for some is "the New York that existed when I was in my 20s." I guess it's natural to look back fondly on your youth but sadly, you can't freeze time. Let go or be dragged!

Anonymous: Not all whites are the same shade of white. It's not as black and white or as white and white as you "whites" see it. Yes, the EV of then were full of whites, Ukrainians, Polish, Eastern Europeans, Jews.... white immigrants. And yes, there's Patti Smith, Lou Reed, Jack Kerouac, etc are/were all white. Taylor Swift represents the white Middle-America, dull, bland, clueless. Anyone who can't see that and being defensive about the mentioning of white is as as obtuse and ignorant and witless as Taylor Swift and the whites she represent. And those who accuses of such comments as being middle-aged, you're wrong, but, of course, you'll always be a young kitty and never age.

Anonymous: Egads. This makes me pine for the days when Ryan Adams was like, the coolest musician repping NYC. Taylor Swift, the musical equivalent of a Subway sandwich or a Domino's pizza. I feel bad for kids growing up on this stuff I really do.

Giovanni: Race has nothing to do with it. The issue is class, entitlement and general cluelessness that results in Taylor Swift representing New York.
Watching her trying to explain the concept of a bodega and the pronunciation of Houston St. to newbies is cringe-worthy. Next she will be trying to explain the concept of tahini for those too clueless to Google it..

That being said there are very few non-whites having the kind of devastating impact on the neighborhood as these white bread Bros and Meghans. These kids have money, which they mostly didn't earn themselves, and use it to impose their entitlement on everyone else..

The issue is also about culture. When the Indians took over 6th St., or the Japanese and Koreans did the same on 8th and 9th Streets, or the Mexican taquerias sprouted up everywhere, they added culture to the EV, not subtracting from it..

The Japanese and Korean kids who come into the neighborhood in droves don't try to dominate it, they don't act loud and rude and drunk, they come to enjoy and be part of what's here..

But when the Bros open their bars and lounges and concept foodie restaurants the culture they bring and the crowds they attract do the opposite. It's Football Sunday every day, the culture is focussed on drinking and smoking and sports, on group screaming for every college team touchdown..

What happened to Murray Hill is happening here. The noise level on 8th St between 1st and A, and down on 2nd St ion weekends and in the evenings is unbelievable. Taylor Swift embodies the Yunnie culture. She's not even from here but she acts like she already owns it.

FigKitty: Anon 10:21 - Nah, you're getting me confused with the commenters who can't seem to let go of their youth. I'm not such a young kitty (is that supposed to be dirty?) anymore, which I'm cool with..

Oh, and I'm not personally a huge fan of her music, but I wouldn't describe Taylor Swift as witless, ignorant, or obtuse. Homegirl's been hustling since she was 11 years old and is a legit, self-made success. That takes talent and hard work, whatever your views on country-pop.

Anonymous: If the issue is not about race, then you shouldn't define it by race. If one was use the term "black" as a synonym for "violent criminal", what a hubbub of complaint you would surely raise. But using "white" as a synonym for "clueless rich and stupid", well that is just so hip, yes?.

Maybe not everyone agrees. Guess what, I am white, and am neither clueless, nor rich, nor stupid. How could that be?.

Oh I am one of the "good whites" that is acceptable to your ilk, eh?

Anonymous: wow, you guys are idiots. Just share the video

Scooby: I'm forgetting about the white/black/brown/yellow issue here (and YES - I used those words specifically to point out the frailties of others' words)and going to a well made point expressed originally:.

"Are there no NYC songwriters or musicians who could write a song and be a face representing the city? There is no talent in NYC? What is the message to struggling or successful artists? Where are our politicians on this corporate insult to NYC talent? Where are the agencies that represent NYC talent? What is the message to struggling or successful artists? What is the message to the average NY'er? Tell me DeBlasio is different from Bloomberg. It is one thing to make NYC into a corporate mall filled with cookie cutter corporate businesses, but now we have an individual with almost no relationship to NYC as the face and voice representing the city. It is like we have lost our mind?" Well said, Clayton. "Tawk amongst yourselves"....

Anonymous: Figkitty calling Taylor Swift "Homegirl". HAHhahahAHAHHA!

Anonymous: Guess what. All these white midwesterners gentrifying Greenpoint and Astoria are pushing out and looking down on the those other whites -- the Italians, Greeks, Polish, Irish, immigrants. And yet these white midwesterners are whining and being a basic bitch that someone called them white. How would you describe Taylor Swift then? Not white? And all tthis because somene calledn their god Taylor Swift white..

"It's now very common to hear people say, 'I'm rather offended by that.' As if that gives them certain rights. It's actually nothing more... than a whine. 'I find that offensive.' It has no meaning; it has no purpose; it has no reason to be respected as a phrase. 'I am offended by that.' Well, so fucking what."

Makeout: "good whites". Those are pants without grass or mustard stains right? It's after Labor Day what's the fucking point?

Anonymous: While I'm totally pissed off at the selection of Taylor Swift to represent NY, gotta admit that I don't understand the point of Clayton Patterson's video. I recall that NYC - some of the video is fantastic but there was much more to NYC than this. Even the commenters have pointed out other types of people who could also represent the recent history of the city but they're on in this video. I'm disappointed..

And totally cringing that TS thinks a bodega is what those Asian and Indian greenmarkets are. What to our Dominican bodega owners think of this re-definition, I wonder?

Scuba Diva: If they wanted a Tribeca chick as a New York spokesperson, why not Mariah Carey? At least she lives here..

Or, to quote Anonymous 7:17: Was Lady a Gaga busy?.

I wondered that too..


And totally cringing that TS thinks a bodega is what those Asian and Indian greenmarkets are. What to our Dominican bodega owners think of this re-definition, I wonder?.

Yeah, I always thought "bodega" meant a corner store with Coca-Cola, Wonder bread, and no fresh produce at all. Seriously..

But "the bodega is your friend."

Dogblog: My NY is Agnostic Front, Cro-Mags, Reagan Youth, etc Now NY is Taylor Swift.....

Tale of two cities indeed

Former East Villager: What about Melissa Ellege (interviewed in ''Out and About")? To me, she'd be a great face and voice (and accordion!) to represent New York City. Her story, struggles, spirit and triumphs are timeless and inspirational.

Anonymous: Yes, it’s sooo tough being white, especially during SantaCon.

Anonymous: White is not a race. Caucasian is the race. And since when being called white a derogatory or offensive? Anyone who is offended by someone calling her white are just as clueless and daft as the ambassador of NYC. Bieng white is a privilege in Taylor Swift's city. NYPD will never stop-and-frisk you and put you into a chokehold. It's only a racist term to these whites being offended by it because when they realize the truth about their privileges, whatever pride they have in being white is crushed..


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ELIE: The Taylor Swift ‘Welcome to New York’ Clip that Should’ve Been Released [VIDEO] | in: Bowery Boogie, New York, on: October 31st, 2014 | Love or loathe, Taylor Swift is here as our "Global Welcome Ambassador," to help attract hordes of tourists to town. Her "Welcome to New York" clarion call is bullshit bubblegum, and is raising choruses on both sides. Indeed, nothing riles New Yorkers like a phony..

Longtime Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson just released his own take on the matter. The local luminary and his people spliced archival neighborhood footage into the official NYC pitch video. It’s definitely worth two minutes of your time.

hot corn: there's some incredibly great footage in there. i'd like to see the edit with out ms. swift please.

Elie: Watch Patterson's Captured film. There's plenty of great footage in there.


A: Why even get bent out of shape so much you make a video? Fuck her. She's just the newest version of the Disneyification of Times Square, only now she's that for all of New York. Do your own thing and pay her no mind - you know she isn't paying any you (ot mr) minf.

Rreality: Hahaha, anyone could have made that commercial with far more charisma, verve, enthusiasm and excitement. All her emotion is so hollow. All her observations of the city's merits are totally bland. But, I'm sorry, didn't this media organ say Patterson was supposed to have left the country by now?

DJWAZU: They wait in shadows and steal the light from your eyes
To them vision's just some costly infection
But listen, you should come with me
I'm the fire, I'm the fire's reflection
I'm just a constant warning to take the other direction _ Jim Carroll

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IRENE CHIDINMA NWOYE: G.G. Allin Meets Taylor Swift in the Streets of New York | in: THE VILLAGE VOICE, New York, on Nov 5, 2014 | Taylor Swift's Welcome to New York has been widely criticized in news articles as bullshit, the worst ode to NYC ever, and one of the worst catchy songs ever. Longtime Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson went a step further in a video response that intersperses bits of a bubbly Swift lauding the city, with clips from the 1980s and 1990s showing the Tompkins Square riots and a naked, poop-covered G.G. Allin. But Patterson's retort -- its scenes of chaos, police brutality, and grime -- has left New Yorkers wondering: Is this the comeback we wanted? Did Patterson's attempt at capturing a multi-layered and complex city miss the mark?

Taylor SwiftG.G. Allin
Taylor Swift and G.G. Allin: Their New Yorks are very different.

"It was the best we could do in a short time frame and with our budget," Patterson told the Voice. "The point of the video was to get a conversation going. I'm not a corporation; I'm an independent person who's trying to make a point with the tools available to me."

Patterson had to quickly right what he considered to be a "real insult" -- having someone who doesn't know the culture of the city representing it. "I hadn't even heard of Taylor Swift till I learned she was my cultural ambassador."

And what is the New York City that Patterson hoped to depict? For him, NYC has long been a beacon of opportunity, especially for creative folks. Creative people like him were able to "find things here that were needed to facilitate what they needed to express."

The city was an "immigrant mecca" that offered a chance to "go from the moth to the butterfly," he says. "It was the art capital of the world, where people came to achieve their creative destiny."

People were able to thrive on cheap rent and an inexpensive lifestyle, certain that, like their forebears of the rags-to-riches narrative, they too would eventually make it to the mainstream.

But the 65-year-old artist, who has long complained of the gentrification in the city, is upset with the New York of today -- the mass closure of bookstores, libraries, and small businesses and the growth of luxury hotels, commercial food chains, and high-rises.

"It's become a mall!" he says, and Swift's welcome campaign seems more like an apt mall ad. He has no qualms with the young songstress. His video is targeted at what she represents: the corporatization of New York City. The politicians are to blame, he says, for destroying the culture of the city.

"We're eliminating our past and we're saying everything needs to be fresh now. Today. In cities like Paris or Vienna, people can still follow the history." Today's New York has become "so corporate that we're importing talent from L.A. Everything about it is so wrong," he says.

He urges viewers to look past the scenes of riots and grunge in his version of Welcome to New York. "It is not about the negativity," he says. Riots (like Tompkins or Stonewall) were a way of expressing frustration, like a pushback to the man. "Civil rights happened that way, gay rights happened that way," he says.

Like most New Yorkers, he wonders why young local talent such as Dameht -- a Lower East Side rock band that Patterson has groomed over the years -- weren't chosen to represent the city. Or even other talents: "Lady Gaga could have represented New York. Is Alicia Keys too old?

"We're cutting off the hope of the creative people. They [his mentees] are frustrated because they are wondering why they [even bother]. People have to have courage that somehow they'll make it to the mainstream," he said.

Patterson has lived on the Lower East Side since the early 1980s and he is a force to be reckoned with in NYC's creative underground.

When he reiterates his words from his New York Times interview, "My world is disappearing. I didn't leave the Lower East Side; the Lower East Side left me," it makes you think: Are these the rants of a disillusioned old New Yorker, mourning the ghosts of the city's past, or is this a call to re-examine the cultural direction of today's NY?

NYC & Company, the organization behind tourism in the city and the decision to make Taylor Swift NYC's Global Welcome Ambassador, did not respond to the Voice for comment.

ksacharin: In the words of a 14-year-old Silicon Valley tech wiz-kid...Patterson just doesn't get it. 

The Ambassador program was created in the service of boosting tourism to NYC. Tourism is one of the industries that NYC relies on...tourism feeds revenue into the city and benefits everyone--from gazillionaires to panhandling homeless. 

Taylor Swift will be perfect for that.  In fact, NYC is lucky she's agreed to serve that role. Swift's passion for NYC seems real.  She understands what is special about NYC and articulates it well.

There is room for NYC to expand the program and bring in more "Ambassadors." Clayton Patterson might attract some visitors.  Even shit-covered naked people might appeal to some.

NYC provides a big tent--easily big enough to cover Taylor Swift, Clayton Patterson, and millions of others.  That's why Swift finds the city electric. That's why we love it too. 

Taylor Swift gets New York City.  Do you?

Steve Broussard: .she's awful, but it's mind boggling how you implicitly glorify someone like g.g. allin ALL THE TIME.

Thomas Murphy: Freaks.

Tim Beaumont: Jason Nelson

Lenine Romulus: damn smh. we don't hate her that much...c'mon. SHAKE IT OFF.

Tom Yaz: i met G.G. Allen in 1985. He was a huge B-52's fan. I got him into a concert once with an extra ticket. Despite the tattoos and image he was a very charming guy.

Pete Markowicz: Huh

Diane Ponder: Ny is like an onion, layers

Zack Emery: Yes David Duran. They should definitely just "Shake it Off."

David Duran: The Village Voice needs to learn to just let things go. This is yet another yawn worthy attempt at proving how awful Taylor Swift is for singing about a city she now lives in. I'll use a song reference too..."Let it Go."

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David Westbrook: If only she was his daughter.

SamRam: " makes you think: Are these the rants of a disillusioned old New Yorker, mourning the ghosts of the city's past, or is this a call to re-examine the cultural direction of today's NY?" What a dick thing to say. I've lived in New York for eleven years and am in my early thirties. I get exactly what he's saying. You don't have to be "old" or "disillusioned," or even a "New Yorker" to see that everything he's complaining about is spot on. You just have to have your head somewhere other than up corporate America's ass. With so many people too stupid to see how lame this city is, why would whoever wrote this even insinuate that someone who's speaking sense might be "disillusioned?" 

Rosalina Pong: Who's Taylor Swift?

Lila Guerra: Sadly pathetic

Matthew Layne: Merle C Allin

Pam Fisher: He's not the first person to call NYC a shopping mall! NYers can't even afford to live here anymore!

Brian Cabrera:Taylor Swift > G.G. Allin

José Luis Garcia: I agree with the article

Kelly Parker: What?!

Jay Loeffel: Yawn

Bryan Patrick Streit: We get it, you don't like Taylor Swift.

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Welcome to NY : YOU Flew Here WE Grew Here
Published in: MARRIED TO THE MOB, New York, on Oct 31 2014

What happened to
Maybe through images we can get a response going.
Are there no NYC  songwriters or musicians who could write a
song & be a face representing the city? There is no talent in NYC?
What is the message to struggling or successful artists?
Where are our politicans on this corporate insult to NYC talent?
Where are the agencies that represent NYC talent?
What is the message to struggling or successful artists?
What is the message to the average NY*er?
Tell me DeBlasio is different from Bloomberg.
It is one thing to make NYC into a corporate mall
filled with cookie cutter corporate businesses,
but not we have an individual with almost no
relationship to NYC as the face
voice representing the city?

It's like we*ve lost our mind. Taylor Swift might think she knows
what NYC represents ..but take a closer look at
Clayton Patterson's Welcome to NY video
to get the real insider's perspective
of notorious NYC life during the 80s.

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in: The Villager, New York, on November 27, 2014
The conflict now is not democracy versus fascism or communism.
It is democracy versus corporate capitalism.

A stunning example of corporate capitalism dominating our democracy and freedom is the appointment of Taylor Swift — with her song “Welcome to New York” — as New York City’s cultural ambassador. Sure, she is hot right now, top of the pop charts, cute and yes, good for tourism. But is that enough to be our N.Y.C. cultural ambassador? A face of tourism, O.K. But what is her connection to the city?

Is tourism more important than history, opportunity, the right of a New Yorker to make it here? The old “If you can make it there, you’ll make it anywhere” is now what?

Our history is being erased, the high rents have made it difficult to stay in the community, the small businesses are being pushed out. It is important to realize, using Ludlow St. from Delaney to Houston, as an example, that many of the small family- and privately owned businesses were successful.

A partial list of business that have been forced out because of escalating rent includes the Pink Pony, Max Fish, Motor City, El Sombrero, Earth Matters and Spitzers — all closed.

Our area has become an entertainment zone oversaturated with bars, student dorms and tourism, and filled every weekend with spring break fever.

Change is inevitable, and, no, we don’t want the drugs and crime back. But there has to be a happy medium between middle- and low-income people being allowed to live, work and own small businesses, and the takeover by people with full pockets.

It was affordable rent and the chance to live an inexpensive lifestyle that created the chance for genius to develop. The history of the Lower East Side is filled with people who came to the city with little and went on to make a serious contributions to the culture of America: Madonna, Charlie Parker, Steve Cannon, Philip Glass, Rabbi Moshe Feinstein, Weegee, Allen Ginsburg, Alan Kaufman, Ellen Stewart, Emma Goldman, Dorthy Day, Leon Klinghoffer, who invented the Roto-Broiler, a metal oven that consisted of a rotisserie, and was killed aboard the Achille Lauro. The list is long.

The next generation of “Making It in N.Y.C.” is now imported talent like Taylor Swift. We have exported the jobs and imported the talent.

I cannot blame Taylor Swift for accepting this opportunity. The push to get her replaced by a N.Y.C. talent is not about her as a talent or a person. It is not about an older generation lamenting the loss of our past. I am working with a young up-and-coming band called DAMEHT, who I hope will become recognized and be able to survive as musicians. I too am in a position where the chances of my staying in N.Y.C. are slim. To save my photo archive and life’s work, I am working on moving to Austria.

The L.E.S. is a part of my being, of who I became. But what chance do any of us struggling artists have if the city is importing talent?

There is no question we have an overabundance of local pop and music talent that tourists would recognize as representing the city, as well, as New York songs written by local talent.

I have documented many of the changes caused by gentrification on the L.E.S. But this next form of gentrification, importing creative talent, is a form I could never have imagined. I was sitting around discussing this problem with Rivington, DAMEHT’s singer and songwriter, and his editor, Jeff Hammer.

We decided the best source for material that we had quick access to was my biopic, “Captured,” directed by Ben Solomon and Dan Levin and edited by Jenner Furst. Since most of the material in this movie belonged to Elsa Rensaa and myself, we thought, “Rip it, use the material.” Jeff did an all-nighter and came up with the video in this

It is not that we are saying GG Allin is the best example of an alternative to Taylor Swift, but he definitely represents a style of the ’80s and ’90s. So far, our youtube video has had more than 25,000 views: proof that people are disenchanted with being sold out.

It is time for a change. We need more than the Housewives and the Kardashians to aspire to. I hope we can use this video to help make a change — to get the politicians to wake up and use a local talent as the face of tourism. Wake up, N.Y.C.!


Quilas: GG Allin represents "a style" the way Charles Manson represents "a style". To her credit, Taylor Swift is not a psychopath! You couldn't find anyone more current to use? Do you know any new bands?

Any artist that needs desolation to be inspired is not short on options. Cleveland and Detroit both come to mind. BTW, 25,000 views on YouTube is not a lot. Cat videos are in the millions.

Ron Kolm: Thank God Clayton is still in there pitching! Great column, and the video is well done. Unfortunately, Taylor Swift is the face of what NYC has become, or is becoming. She is so thin, and so white, and so rich, she almost doesn't exist -- anyone can read anything they want into her. She's as safe as a glass of milk. For what it's worth, I feel that the period we're living in is vaguely analogous to the late '50s, and I don't see anything remotely like the Beats on the horizon. Almost all of the music I hear in the city now is retro; a copy of something that happened years ago. Clothing styles and haircuts are all from the past; it's as if the '60s, '70s and '80s never happened. Perhaps this is a reaction to 9/11; denizens of the empire retreating into safer, duller waters. It would be nice if Clayton's film signaled the start of something new!

Gerhard T: Hey Clayton, We thought you were moving to Austria. Was ist los mit du?

Guest: Can you support Ludlow House and not Taylor Swift? the only difference is that one's a place and the other is a person. it's hard to follow someone's ideas when their moral compass is so wobbly. Clayton is arguing for the soul of culture itself. For the past half century NY has served as cultural capital of the West. In that not too distant past, if a 'Cultural Ambassador' had been needed at all (personally, I find the concept vulgar, needless and suburban) someone like Wilhelm DeKooning, Kathy Acker, Quincy Troupe, Ed Clark, Allen Ginsberg, or Philip Glass or Joseph Papp or Diane Arbus or Susan Sontag could easily have stood as emblematic of NYC. If all of these artists and authors bore a single correlative quality it was this and this alone: substance. They were people and artists of substance. Their works and lives represented a complete commitment to an expression of the highest levels of the human spirit. They were, esthetically, creatives of the first rank--people whose lives stood for the highest level of cultural calling and commitment. But a Taylor Swift represents, at best, yet one more example of how artists, writers, thinkers of, at best, a superficial vision and careeer have come to command the sympathies and resources of our culture, while someone line Clayton Patterson, whose feat of documenting what must be, arguably, the most historically and culturally important sector of NYC--the Lower East Side--has not only been denied the recognition that he deserves, but cannot even find a home for his archives. His archives are, in my estimation, one of the most important national treasures in the United States and like so many of our artists and artistic communites, his papers are, to this day, homeless. All that is derserving and noble and good about our culture is dispossessed, pushed aside, hidden, and slowly perishing of neglect, despite the courage of a Patterson or Kolm or Dalachinsky or Finberg or a Jim Feast--writers, artists, thinkers who give their all to what they do and strive to produce something greater then a pop charts hit song. They are our May Ray, our Camus, our Eliot, our Djuna Barnes and we offer them nothing, not even breadcrusts and water. This is the heart of the matter. It is not a matter of GG Allen or Ludlow House vs. Taylor Swift and to reduce Clayton's position to that and that alone is to miss the much larger subtext of his courageous and unflagging stance. He is standing against the Wasteland that we have allowed our greatest city--NY-- and our country to become. He is calling for collective action by great individual artists to begin to join in an alternative authentic culture where courage and visionary depth are celebrated. And he is requesting us to assemble on behalf of these lost values before we ourselves are forever lost to time and neglect.

clayton patterson: The video is of two extremes. I will try and make simple what this video is attempting to do. First off the hope was to get people to think, to start some sort of dialogue. The effort, if possible, is to find a middle ground between two extremes.

On the one side is the uber-rich and the international corporate taking over of NYC. Using our tax dollars to import expensive talent to jump over existing internationally recognized stars, which tourists are already pouring into the city to see. And using ready-made corporate cookie cutter corporate businesses, one can find anywhere in the free world, to crush and force out the small, and even the large, NYC independent businesses.

On the extreme opposite are examples of what NYC used to represent. Chaos, anarchy, and no rules on almost all levels of society. Extremes used to look for a middle ground.

One the one hand you have the coiffed and tailored Taylor Swift made up to look like an innocent high school sweet heart one would find on a feel good show like Happy Days. But in reality she has been on the top end of the ruthless music business for years and has made millions of dollars. Sorry to point out to the person who confuses her with the L.E.S. luxury Ludlow apartments, but that is an unrealistic comparison. The new luxury Ludlow apartments are not luxury for someone in her economic zone. She recently purchased a 19-½ million dollar loft. Ludlow luxury- too poor.

I was comparing Taylor’s limitless fashion budget to the use of what you have available Drag Queen’s budget that created the annual Tompkins Sqaure Park Wigstock extravaganza.

G.G. Allin is an extreme opposite and so are the rest of the relevant NYC historic examples: the Washington Square Park riot between Skin Heads, Communists, Anarchists, over the, then, recent Joey Johnson flag burning case, the shot of the cops running after protestors as they disobeyed the orders of a ranking officer lead to the night being classified as a Police Riot, the Tompkins Square Park homeless clearing shot is from the 3rd term of Koch when the rules of converting low-income housing and SRO’s to coops and condos loosened up which lead to thousands of homeless to the T.S.P. Tent City. The white shirt Galfand went on to become a Chief, and out of this Downtown period a number of cops rose through the ranks and became chiefs: Esposito, Hoel, Julian, Ray Kelly became Police Commissioner. Julian, at the time in NYPD history, was the youngest captain, deputy inspector, chief, and he is back under Bratton. Bloomberg brought back Kelly. After Koch’s 3rd term "The People" voted twice in a referendum no 3rd term. Bloomberg bought 3rd terms. And on and on.

But, my mistake was thinking people would see past surface and a conversation could be started. Big mistake. And btw- to answer questions- I just got back from Austria. I am supporting the young local band DAMEHT. Cat videos I do not know, but assume is a corporate video with a sizable budget, my video was made over night. with no budget. For a no budget outsider video with now over 27,000 views that is a lot, in fact, if thought about this YouTube as a screening at Madison Square Garden it would be a compete success. MSG only holds just over 18,000 visitors.

I am startled by how many people support the international and uber-rich take over of NYC. Not sure what the average person gets out of this support, but it is beyond my comprehension. Last comment-- if possible, can we start a dialogue on how to find a middle ground before too many of us are obliterated from the NYC landscape? Is anyone home?

Yura: Great voice! Keep them coming, Clayton!

simon: Here's some REAL New Yorkers telling it how its all going down...
Chloe Sevigny would have been a better Ambassador!

Sur: we're living in the U.S that has never had any concern about respecting history and chooses to constantly rewrite history to "promote" a future that the powers that be want to see. this is nothing new. the best we can do to ride against that tide is continue to do our work, get it out there, protest, make films, write articles, publish books, engage with social media, create performances, and whatever else so that there is some alternative that exists out there that people can come to by accident or by intention. we're weighed under capitalism and most of our lives are controlled by money. we can play with it or against it but WE MUST CONTINUE to rail against what we see as destructive and inhumane every chance that we get. what's represented here in this taylor swift promotion obviously a manifestation of a large evil that's been destroying culture for decades and accelerating it seems.

Amy: I am sitting at home, in my bedroom, on the Lower East Side where I have lived for thirty years. I believe that New York City has always been about change and as it evolved cultural contributions of the previous generation were welcomed by next generation. In the 1980's I was thrilled to walk the same streets as Charlie Parker and Allen Ginsberg. It is disturbing now feel that the people crowding the streets below my window seem to have no knowledge, or dare I say reverence, for what happened here a few decades ago. It is not that I am against change, it is that I am against forgetting the lessons we have learned and losing the impact of great moments of cultural expression, early Wigstock, Pageants to save community gardens, street performances, many art galleries and performance spaces, all which made up a makeshift community which fed itself, grew and flowered beautifully while also being gritty and dangerous. Am I just not seeing how the history is being shared, or is there a loss here that those of us who were there have one last chance to resurrect? I'm developing a photo series and writing about this subject. I know what happened, but I want to find the words and images to communicate this to a greater audience, including the throngs of Taylor Swifts down in the street making all that noise.

Sparrow14: Taylor Swift as spokesperson for New York City? C'mon! It's insulting! Let her represent Westchester.

Lucas: Well put. Thanks for the perpective Clayton

Guest: Well I guess many believe she represents the new improved and wealthy LES/NYC... So perhaps all the artists who so loved and participated, migrated and collaborated could create an Internet presence and consider electing their own ambassador and anthem?

AvramFefer 1p: As we are undoubtedly aware, we are in a period of interconnectedness and complexity. There seem to be an endless number of issues swirling around everyone's heads and hearts, with varying degrees of relatedness and causal influence. New York, to me, has always been a place that embraced complexity, diversity, and co-existence. There are many incredible and amazing cities around the world, and I have been lucky enough to perform in quite a few of them, but one thing that has always stood out about NYC is it's inherent "take me as I am" attitude.

Tourism plays an important role for many great cities and these cities in turn make an effort to accommodate these tourists, but in New York we have always provided such a variety of income steams and economic opportunities that tourism seemed to play a more modest role and those tourists who did want the "New York experience" always got one—they were obliged to deal with New Yorkers! They came here and accommodated us, in our natural environment, and not the other way around...

New York maintained a wild, untamed, natural, expressive, and artistic experience. It was not 'more of the same' old consumerist mainstream culture that America has become famous for since WW II -- Instead it was an antidote for that white bread American feeling that has been alive and well on these shores for centuries. New York was edgy, challenging, engaging, maybe even a bit dangerous, but it had it's own culture—it's own extreme version of everything and everyone else. More than just the 'tired, huddled masses', NYC attracted both the rejects and the most ambitious and talented from everywhere else. If you didn't fit in anywhere else, then you definitely would fit in in NYC!! (Looking back, it seemed like a real live version of the freak show that now only exists online.) All strata of society were seemingly represented and, even though we never made it easy for anybody, we did always seem to take pride in our tough love uniqueness and individual warm-heartedness.

Now, we seem to be creating an NYC that lacks many of these qualities and is less and less maintaining its own special and difficult character. We are like someone in a relationship that tries so hard to become only what the other person likes, that they end up losing their own personality and their relationship to boot! There are double decker tour busses everywhere, we are constantly being looked at like zoo animals (instead of the predatory animals we used to be...) and more and more it seems like I'm late to an appointment due to tourists standing in the middle of a crowded intersection/sidewalk/turnstile...

So, I guess I'm already dubious of the role tourism plays in NYC, let alone the need for a cultural ambassador. I am not sure what the point of a cultural ambassador is, and in New York City's case, it seems like, if we really need one, they damn well better represent the heart and guts of the city. If all we need is a song, and if the default is no longer Sinatra's "New York" , then maybe I would nominate Alicia Keys, at least there's some inherent diversity and a pretty good tune.

Even though I am a musician, I have to admit that I have no idea who Taylor Swift is, and certainly no idea what her music sounds like. She seems to be very young, white, female, rich, and blond—perhaps the perfect ambassador for some city somewhere, I don't know.

Dutchess333: Brilliant video and points well made, Clayton, NIck and others. I only hope this discourse, both in words and images, inspires more authentic NYC video responses: satirical, of somber tone, sarcastic, inspiring as Kat's Deli and the NY Philharmonic and also completely abstract, surreal, obtuse and congenial...all challenges to this stale, generic, mediocre, idiotic, and yet perhaps inevitable choice, as creativity, from the Main Island to the Outer Burroughs and beyond, seems to be on the waning side. May this choice and discourse be a clarion call to what is indeed most needed: the rising up of the NY voices, both currently residing and longing to return. Let us keep representing what it is that made and will again make NYC the cutting edge of culture and the birthplace of the REAL~!!!

Liz Pressman: New York City started losing its soul when our accents started being replaced with valley girl speak in the 1980s. The selling of the city to real estate moguls over the years has led to the mallification of this town, as historic buildings and sites are demolished and as actual working class and middle class native New Yorkers have been forced out of their homes (because we don't make six figure salaries). It's another slap in the face to lifelong native New Yorkers that the city is now offering a non-native New Yorker the position of ambassador. Being an ambassador implies you are from a given place. Taylor Swift is not from here. There are s many talented people who are from this gorgeously creative town. Why not give this position to someone who truly represents our essence?

Jim Feast: Dear Villager, I just read Clayton Patterson’s powerful piece on the travesty of presenting Taylor Swift as a New York City’s cultural ambassador. He questions whether in New York City now "is tourism more important than history, opportunity, the right of a New Yorker to make it here?"

It’s a particular slap in the face in that in her music Swift eschews the two themes that have predominated in New York-associated poetry and music lyrics. One theme is a protest against the arrogance of power. Think of Ginsberg’s blast at the Moloch of a warfare state, Corso’s screed on the atomic bomb, Alan Kaufman’s Whitman poem about the "American inferno," Lou Reed’s songs about the wild side. The second theme is a vision of a collective happiness. Here one must place Whitman’s embrace of all peoples, Hart Crane’s vision of the Brooklyn Bridge as a symbol of Americans’ unity, the early Talking Heads’ paeans to joys of everyday life.

This Judy Come Lately, Taylor Swift, spits on such themes. Obviously, she would never attack the powers that be who gave her a career. But, moreover, she is totally without vision. Her songs are retro hymns to individual not collective happiness. She sings, "We're drivin' down the road … you're just so cool, run your hands through your hair // Absent-mindedly makin' me want you." Retro in that – feminism be damned – a woman’s greatest joy is being owned by a man.

"Our history is being erased," Patterson writes. How can it not be if gutless drones, such as Taylor Swift and her ilk, are given charge of it?

Matthew Kohn: The simplest way to put it - as Clayton seems to indicate - is not that there is one specific way of seeing NYC. Since government using artists to represent itself is always controversial, it seems that instead of having "one" cultural ambassador, there should be many, rotating ambassadors who would indicate the tremendous diversity of what has already been achieved, what is happening now, and what young artists hope for the future of New York. That would be bold and welcoming. I'm a native New Yorker, more or less, but that's why we stayed - because everyone who was interesting came here.

Alex King: Gentrification is proceeding at a fast pace around the world. I grew up in Hackney, East London, which in some ways could be seen as the Lower East Side's spiritual cousin: for decades it was too dirty and dangerous for anyone but the poor and immensely creative to set foot in (for a while it held the record for the highest density of artists anywhere in the world) but that soon changed as the money flooded in, the apartment blocks went up and the creativity evaporated.

Londoners are fighting to stay in the areas that they and their families were raised in, and it is often international property funds that are pushing them out. The New Era estate in one of Hackney's most trendy areas, Hoxton is a perfect example: As the rents rise, the artists and people who need space and freedom to express themselves are dispersed to far flung corners of the city. Creative communities decades in the making are gone for ever.

This is happening around the world and has been well-documented, however New York is the first city I have seen that seems to be deliberately tearing up its own culture. The Taylor Swift video is one example, as is the physical removal of Jim Mosaic Man's work from the streets, and I'm sure you New Yorkers will know many more.

Please fight to protect, nurture and continuing adding to the phenomenal cultural wealth New York has created over the decades before it all disappears completely.

afn: despite the new mayor, the taylor swift co-sign is a classic bloomberg administration PR move: sell new york as though it were a business, as if the city were nothing more than a luxury hotel looking for guests.

The gigantic problem with this model is that cities are not business; they're ecosystems, and ecosystems require maintenance and balance in order to thrive. Right now, the emphasis that's placed on pandering to one particular socioeconomic group has been entirely at the expense of diversity, which has been at the core of this city's essence since it's inception. the tragedy is that the new culture of new york city is that which taylor swift might truly be the face of: rich, white and bland.

it's unfortunate that the character which originally gave new york it's cache and mystique is what led to its commodification, and, ultimately, the complete shriveling of it's cultural relevance.

Penny Arcade: While the Ferguson Demonstrations were going on I wondered what Taylor Swift was thinking about her version of NY.

I agree with Clayton Patterson that it is not surprising that Swift would accept the offer of Cultural Ambassador of NY after all she is part of the corporate machine and has been since her father invested in the record label that produces her records.

The question that comes to mind immediately is WHO in the Mayor's Office would have agreed to offer a neophyte who just moved to NY , who has no association with NY this role? An even more important question is why were not the citizens of NY consulted on who WE feel is an appropriate artist to represent our city?

There is no question that the choice of Taylor Swift as Cultural Ambassador of NY is an exceedingly poor choice in a city where so many internationally famous artists have made their home and their artistic reputations for decades , Debby Harry, Patti Smith,Fran Lebowitz, Yoko Ono, Laurie Anderson, Martin Scorcese,Robert DeNiro among so many others. Clearly the choice of Swift who has lived here fr a matter of months and who appeals to the lowest common demoninator shows the thoughtlessness of the action and the crassness of of poor marketing even as it shows the desire to homogenize NY further as a destination for the tackiest kind of tourism.

The voice of the people of NY has long been silenced as the corporate powers that have invaded the government of our city have taken over public space as private endeavor such as selling St Vincents Hospital to private interests.

I understand and share the frustration and anger at Taylor Swift's appointment, a person who has no association with NY and in in the light of her absolutely embarrassing song about NY when NY has so many brilliant anthems to choose from . Clearly anyone who writes about coming to NY to find a great cup of coffee, in a song about NY, has confused NY with Seattle!

I feel all we are doing is giving Taylor Swift more publicity and we should turn our sights on who was BEHIND this appointment because that person or persons is an enemy of NY and an enemy of New Yorkers. New York is continually losing our cultural capitol with the loss of so many historic places showing the absolute lack of considerations for history that elected officials have towards our city. All over American and internationally people live with and protect their history , here in NY it is for sale to the highest bidder. There is NO URBAN PLANNING in this city now, it is a free for all for free market that ordinary NY'ers use daily are done away with ! Hospitals, gas stations etc There is clearly an agenda to turn NY into a city for Ogliarchs, the ultra rich and tourists. New Yorkers RISE UP!

Power to The People!

Guest: I'm no fan of TS, but our problem is that we have no one better instead of her. Those who are starting out now like we did 3 decades ago cannot afford an apartment in this area. This has drained our farm system, we have no minor leaguers, so that all we have left is to draft players from other teams on the left coast. If there are any up and coming artists who will one day be the cool we seek, they do not live in the LES. Maybe Bushwick or Bed Stuy, but even those places not for long. I've read all of these comments, and didn't find a thing that couldn't have been written in the '90s or earlier. Face it kids, we're a bunch of has-been, old people, and we have no heirs in this neighborhood. Shout all we want, but Dialogue ain't gonna change that unless it's with the mayor or governor.

Phil Shoenfelt: Yeah, G.G. Allin, the guy with the smallest dick in the world, after Sid Vicious (or maybe it was just a cold night at A7). I'm not so sure I'd agree that G.G. was representative of 80s New York downtown culture, anymore than I'd agree with Ms Barbiedoll Swift being representative of it today. But I get Clayton's point: there should be some middle ground between total social collapse and total social control/brainwashing, which is the situation we're coming to today. When I lived in Alphabet City in the late 70s and early 80s it was certainly a more stimulating place than it is today. I'd play with my band Khmer Rouge at CBGBs, get the cash at the end of the night and trip on down to Avenue D to purchase the goods. On the way down there, and afterwards (having copped) trying to make it back to where I lived on 3rd and B, I'd try to avoid the psychos and muggers that were hanging around in darkened doorways, waiting for people like me. It certainly kept life interesting, and at the risk of sounding pretentious I'd sum up my view with Friedrich Neitzsches aphorism: "That which does not kill me makes me stronger". It was an important formative experience for me, that much is sure. Today when you walk down by 3rd and B all you see is crap art galleries, sushi bars and vacuous rich-kid students whose parents have bought them a flat in trendy Alphabet City. These people have no culture, no past and a virtual-reality future. The new "Know-Nothings" of the soul-less here-alread future. Meanwhile, NYU and Cooper Union are involved in what amounts to a kind of ethnic cleansing. So much for these hallowed institutions of learning, selling out the people to the corporate Yankee dollar. Depressing, yes very, but how to fight this creeping castration of culture I have no idea. I admire your rear-guard action, Clayton, and more power to you. But to be honest I think the move to Austria is the best thing you can do. But make damn sure you find a permanent home for your archive, man, this is the most important thing you can do. New York is famously cavalier about documenting its "unofficial" cultural legacy. No blue plaques for CBGBs or Max;s Kansas City, even The Factory is barely commemorated. You've got such an important part of late 20th century social and cultural history sitting under your roof, you've GOT to find a home for it. Best wishes from Prague, Phil Shoenfelt

Bonny Finberg: Cultural interchange As Commodity. Recently, I've been receiving invites to readings and open mics which I find disturbing. That is, there's a growing protocol for curating "open mics" in NYC--paying for the privilege of reading for 3 minutes, along with 20 or more readers, in front of your so-called peers. It's become the norm. I think it's partly the result of an oppressive financial struggle that is transforming a once vital community that shared creative energy with generous spontaneity and openness into a cancer feeding upon itself. Maybe the metaphor is harsh, but it seems that we've arrived at a place where the struggling artist tries to make ends meet by feeding on the limited resources of other struggling artists. The venues themselves are also strapped for revenue trying to keep up with the voracious appetite of developers and landlords.

Whatever happened to a bunch of writers congregating somewhere over drinks and conversation to share work? Sometimes "advanced tickets" are offered where booking with a reservation and buying a ticket on line is cheaper than at the door. Bookstores don't charge for readings, but maybe that's just around the corner since bookstores are lately only able to make ends meet by selling coffee and muffins. Maybe this it not so much the case in Bklyn, I don't know. Maybe this is mostly in Manhattan where a diseased culture is dying so fast I dread my daily assault of yet another beloved part of my history disappearing. The trust fund/college student demographic that's overpopulating downtown and the cultural landscape in general, is more able and willing to pay to read at a famous boho downtown venue where they can be famous for three minutes over an $8 beer and the price of admission. Culture had always had it's group of independently wealthy artists/bohemians who found themselves at the cutting edge of art and literary movements. But they were the eccentrics of their class, not the paying class with privileged access to some mainstream, sanitized version of underground, counterculture. Bohemian movements were a class in themselves. They lived in the dark underworld where nothing was sacred. Thus the word counterculture. Those of the privileged class who ventured there were, for the most part, highly educated people who had the leisure time in which to create great things without the pressures of scrounging for food and shelter. The trust funders now "produce" within a designated club of "experimentation" that is closed and highly opaque, able to spend their time patting each other on their ironic backs to see who can be the most inutile, incomprehensible and, in some cases, most juvenile. Their MFA's seem to make them feel entitled to offer work that is within as closed a system and full of "theory" and jargon, as impenetrable, as that of nuclear physicists but without the benefit of application. I'm not talking about truly transformative experimentation which elevates the word or the construction in some new way that celebrates language or art. I'm talking about those lazy-assed endeavors which take the approach of reprocessing existent work, text or image, and give it the stamp of approval by calling it "appropriation", as if that makes it ok to recycle the efforts of others, a favored activity of those without imagination or original thought.

It may seem that I've ventured from the original subject here. But the commodification of the open mic seems to me a reflection of so much of what's wrong in the present culture. The diaspora of artistic communities is driven by real estate prices and its necessary MFA badge of approval. In order to secure one's food and shelter one must enter into a Darwinian system of academic evolution which produces clones of those that preceded by adapting to a hostile environment; by success within an environment always on the brink of extinction due to overpopulation within shrinking resources. This has perverted the trajectory of artistic movements and threatens where our culture is headed. We seem to have lost our way. I don't delude myself in thinking there haven't always been careerists and competitive artists in every age.Yet, in the current climate,Taylor Swift is the logical NYC "Cultural" ambassador for a world where celebrity, ambition and commerce have replaced a sense of community and camaraderie. It doesn't seem that long ago when the free exchange of ideas and work was an easy and permeable micro society. One could enter without pricey tuition, and overtime spent in classrooms and workshops. Many of our predecessors, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsburg, all had excellent educations and profited from them. But their lives after school were not spent in recycling what they had learned. They went on to live in the world and break new ground. The only ground being broken right now is our beloved community which is being destroyed both spiritually and physically by the blind wrecking ball of bland, corporate greed.

anne: my name is Anne Apparu-Hall, i have lived and grown in NYC since a little girl off the Bowery. everything has changed so much. there were buildings lined up throughout midtown for $.99 in the late 80's. the city was dark at night, and the streets empty. to shop for gifts 8th street and st Marks or the market by 4th and Broadway were the destination. nothing was predictable, you would set off on adventures with every destination. through the 90's and early 2000's we were reckless, the arrival of fresh money was disturbing and you felt like a marketplace at every turn. as a family we were pushed around and challenged in every way. all the friends we had were "orphans" in need of community and love. feelings were honest. but possessions and creativity became commodified beyond true value. we lost friends, we lost loved ones, we lost family, homes, shelters, income, businesses... we were part of the buoyancy zombies were seeking. we almost got sucked dry.

it was a trend i guess. the whole survival game. it was appealing and exciting to those who'd had a sheltered upbringing. we see this over and over in all countries of the world, where people hide and choke their heritage, to be accepted, and then a generation or two later, the healing pushes it's way into rebellion, into thirst for life. and having miss out on a formation that would allow for such creativity, you go and shop for it. you touch and sniff the merchandise, so many do the same, that it gets spoiled and discarded. like the Lower East Side, like "Nolita" like Hell's Kitchen and Williamsburg. like the Black Hills and our sacred waterways upstate. that people want to FRACK!! we need to calm down, we need to love each other, we need to aknowledge that we are one, that we have differences and that we need to know what they are, and to accept we are different. only through love will we all be able to shine who we truly are gifted to be, and come to peace with each other.

DHB: Taylor Swift's ambassadorship was perfectly timed with the release of her album 1989. She and her handlers are less concerned about NY and more concerned about her record sales. She after all is kicking Spotify's ass. There were so many other deserving NY celebrities that could have and should have been the face of NYC...

Everything is bought and sold these days. Money is the only culture left. It has permeated every cell, multiplying like cancer. This is the age of Kim Kardashin plastic, dumb, meritless but a great marketer of this new celebrity culture obsession. So astute people bought her book of Selfies.

Authenticity has vanished. NYC, the last hold-out has caved. It has finally and officially joined the mind numbing dumbing down of America movement.

Maybe Taylor Swift does make sense in this homogenized and moneyed NY?

steve dalachinsky: too bad taylor mead was not made ambassador - as a born new yorker - i've experienced devastating changes culturally architecturally monetarily throughout - this rant will be a bit hasty and possibly incoherent but the stones are stamping shadows on the days : when we are confronted with increased racism, large schisms, brutality and miscarriages of justice, betrayed confidences, scenesterism, gangsterism etc, global catastrophe, gentrification, price gouging, murder, ny meltdowns the cost of everything skyrocketing, beautiful trees cut down to serve pretensions of consumerism, we few outside survivors and our work becoming nearly extinct, in-fighting and on and on why should we worry/argue about this swift (useless that she is) dilemma ? - simple - these over paid mediocre artists - pop or otherwise careerists starved fame seekers have become too prevalent in the eyes of america and to have one represent one of the cultural (tho i must add consumerist) capitals of the world is both a crime and as natural or unnatural as breathing in this corrupt society - i only wish that there were a way to wake the populous up but as our dear pedro pietri put it the asses are masses and they are allowing themselves to be duped once again - thankfully there are still those among us who know right from wrong good from bad sense from nonsense - in the end it is all fool's gold and we must not be fooled by these treacherous tyrants who try to control and manipulate our very ideals and freedoms - the media has become a dangerous weapon and is continually used to brainwash and/or incite - though many who live in ny have come from elsewhere to make their mark it is completely out of line to have million dollar air heads manufactured by big business representing us - woww ok over and out

nicolas heller: Clayton Patterson should be our ambassador. Very few people seem to care about this topic as much as him. Something needs to be done before we lose everything that makes the LES unique. Thank you Mr. Patterson.

anne: my name is Anne Apparu-Hall, i have lived and grown in NYC since a little girl off the Bowery. everything has changed so much. there were buildings lined up throughout midtown for $.99 in the late 80's. the city was dark at night, and the streets empty. to shop for gifts 8th street and st Marks or the market by 4th and Broadway were the destination. nothing was predictable, you would set off on adventures with every destination. through the 90's and early 2000's we were reckless, the arrival of fresh money was disturbing and you felt like a marketplace at every turn. as a family we were pushed around and challenged in every way. all the friends we had were "orphans" in need of community and love. feelings were honest. but possessions and creativity became commodified beyond true value. we lost friends, we lost loved ones, we lost family, homes, shelters, income, businesses... we were part of the buoyancy zombies were seeking. we almost got sucked dry.

Louis James: Underground, grassroots art is alive and well in NYC, it just isn't on Bowery or Saint Marks anymore. It's in places like Bushwick, LIC, even Jersey City. You want NYC culture? It thrives in The Bronx and Queens. Yes, a few 'hoods in Manhattan have gentrified, but art is nowhere near dead in NYC. Also, when people say "art and culture are dead in NYC" they almost always mean white and/or punk art and culture as if that's the only type of culture in existence. Latin culture doesn't count? How about Jewish? Or Russian? African? All of those are doing well. Asian too. Those who say art is dead in NYC have blinders on and are only looking in one place. Also, it's not like Joey Ramone was the "welcome abassador" in NYC in '78.

Mordread 1p: It used to be that NYC was a place to take risks. If you wanted a career in the arts NYC was the place to be and the reason for that is because sooner or later, once you paid your dues (the time it took to make connections) your art form was given a chance and the right people would see it. If they liked it, you did it kid. if not, back to waiting tables ORRRRRR....

You went at it still. Got better, or went your own way and build your own fan base. Artists, singers, writers, dancers .... NYC was a Mecca.

Now.... now they dont want anything new. In order to do anything in NYC you need to have a name made for yourself already.

Want to know why all the small businesses are failing? Aside from rising rent prices, the people who were their clients, the starving artists and writers and dancers, are no longer a part of the NYC population.

Karen Kohlhaas: Taylor Mac instead of Taylor Swift!


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By Alex King

New York City is killing its grassroots culture, Taylor Swift crowned as face of corporate NYC | in: huck magazine, London, December 22, 2014 | Rebel photographer and artist Clayton Patterson is leading the charge to fight cultural cleansing and revitalise the Big Apple's underground art scene.

Clayton Patterson has tirelessly documented the creative chaos of the Lower East Side since the late 1970s. As an artist, photographer, filmmaker, community activist and popular historian he’s watched the neighbourhood morph and change – from artistic melting pot to bougie brunch spot – and is a vocal critic of the direction New York City has taken in recent years. He’s angry with a city administration that seems determined to wipe out the city’s grassroots culture and is spitting fire at Taylor Swift’s recent coronation as the city’s ‘welcome ambassador’.

In what Clayton sees as one of the biggest insults to the city’s artists, corporate tourism group NYC & Company recently launched a video campaign that includes Swift (who grew up in Wyomissing, Pennsylvania and Nashville, Tennessee) giving lessons on New York vocabulary. "Taylor Swift is a global icon," he says, exasperated. "Taylor Swift, in no way or form, represents New York."

On his annual tour to the Wildstyle Tattoo fair in Austria, he was unsurprised to discover that Taylor Swift is almost universally recognised in Europe. "Now they see New York as Taylor Swift, so that then sells it as a tourist commodity, but it also depreciates the value," he explains. "You see we exported the jobs, now we import the talent. I don’t give a shit if it’s pop, if it’s Madonna or Lady Gaga or Jay-Z or whoever, at least they’re from the city. They have talent. So why would you import it?"

While promoting their Taylor Swift tourist video, authorities moved to remove Jim ‘Mosaic Man’ Power’s colourful street mosaics at Astor Place to make way for a bland redesign. Clayton is determined to build an alliance to fight the corporate whitewashing of the city’s culture and revitalise the grassroots art scene. The first step is to whip up support for his campaign to unseat Taylor Swift.

Clayton has produced a viral video response (above) to the Taylor Swift promo, with his own footage (from the 2008 documentary about his life and work Captured) inter-spliced between Taylor’s mindless drivel, including police fighting protestors, eccentrics of the underground art scene and GG Allin running through the streets smeared in shit.

While he despairs at how the culture is being cleansed on all levels, he still believes in the transformative power of art: "I look at art as something that can be a real concrete thing. And then eventually you can get beyond that and you can make it political, which can have an action and a reaction. Then you can have a larger concept where you’re making social change."

Clayton’s latest action in the counter-propaganda campaign is a fiery opinion piece in The Villager, calling the appointment of Taylor Swift a "stunning example of corporate capitalism dominating our democracy and freedom", and ends with the cry, "Wake up, N.Y.C.!"

Follow and support Clayton’s campaign to take back NYC’s grassroots culture.

ABOUT HUCK: Refusing to be civilised since 2006. Huck celebrates radical culture – people and movements that paddle against the flow. Inspired by DIY principles and rooted in the rebellious heritage of surf and skate, Huck roams the globe to document grassroots counterculture as it unfolds, seeking out freethinkers who are a wellspring of new thoughts and ideas.

Since launching in 2006, Huck magazine has tracked down extraordinary doers and invited them to share what they’ve learnt along their journey. Our cover stars aren’t celebrities; they’re hands-on co-curators who take a DIY approach to their collaboration with the mag. From Dave Eggers and Miranda July to Mark Gonzales and Kim Gordon, Huck’s guest-editors reveal their own web of influences in the magazine’s pages by celebrating the people and moments that have inspired them along the way.

As the 50th issue of the London-based bi-monthly approaches, Huck sits at the centre of a switched-on community who crave original content and quality journalism in print, on video and online. At 71a, our gallery in London, stories spring to life as film screenings, exhibitions, parties and events. And while the print magazine hits newsstands worldwide every two months – packed with exclusive interviews, original reportage and award-winning photojournalism that packs a visual punch – the journey never ends, continuing as it does with daily content online.

Join us as we keep exploring. Keep paddling. Just keep paddling. …


"A phantasmagoria of cultural relevance: excited, relentless, insightful. It’s easy to see they care and dial in the details, and all good things are in the details." – Thomas Campbell, Artist

"Among snowboarders and skateboarders and others, to ‘huck’ is to throw oneself into a jump without inhibition (the term was inspired by the wild spirit of Huckleberry Finn). But in the British magazine of the same name, the boarding subcultures are but entry points for articles about music, politics and places all over the world." – The New York Times

"Huck proves there is a future for magazines as beautiful, tactile objects made to be read then kept." – Jeremy Leslie, Magculture

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Where are our politicians on Taylor Swift?! | in: THE VILLAGER on December 4, 2014 | I have been impressed by the number of passionate and intelligent responses I have been getting from the Taylor Swift column in the comment section, as well as in e-mails and phone calls. Responses from around the globe. No question, many people are offended by the fact that New York City cannot find a New York City talent to represent New York City.

What surprised me the most was learning how much young, creative talent has left the city. Yes, we know about the mass exodus from Manhattan to Brooklyn. And yes, the adventurous ones are heading to places like Detroit and Cleveland. Many have been lured to cheaper rent and paying opportunities in L.A. But others have headed for Prague, Barcelona, Berlin, parts of Italy. It seems London has become too expensive as the same type of gentrification is happening there.

Have our political leaders forgotten the fact that most of the creative genius that came out of N.Y.C. was connected to cheap rent and the chance to live an inexpensive lifestyle? And it was out of Downtown Manhattan that so many of our great cultural leaders came.

What do our fearless politicians say about this brain drain and the fact that N.Y.C. has chosen Taylor Swift as our cultural ambassador because we cannot find a N.Y.C. talent to represent N.Y.C.? We want to hear from Silver, Mendez, Chin, Squadron, Glick, Velazquez, Maloney, Nadler, Hoylman, Kavanagh, Johnson, Brewer, Gottfried.

Our politicians love to give speeches. So here is an opportunity for them to let us know what they think. Or are they really as corrupt and bought-off as our local Columbia-trained medical doctor Dr. Ores says? Dr. Dave’s prescription: "Let’s stop calling them ‘politicians’."

Politicians are employees of large corporations and super-wealthy donors…American and foreign. Sadly, many people agree with this observation. But let’s be fair and give them an opportunity to respond to the question of why Taylor Swift? And why cannot N.Y.C. find a N.Y.C. talent?

People are angry about how so many local businesses have been forced to close, and how people are losing their homes; about the rent being "too damn high," the oversaturation of bars, and the loss of community services; the loss of community, the proliferation of corporate cookie-cutter businesses, the exporting of jobs, the loss of creative opportunities.

But this importing of talent in a city that used to be thought the cultural center of the world is way too much. We have to import talent? Yes, let’s hear from our politicians — or are they too deep into the pockets of Wall St. and the multinational corporations?


Quilas 43p: No one cares about this the way no one cares about the jingle for some other product. It's a real non-starter.

lane: Great article. Hits every single point on what is being destroyed as uber-wealth decimates the unique qualities that make New york, New York.

Joyce Mendelsohn: Clayton is not only the sanest voice of the Lower East Side/East Village, but the conscience of NYC. How can we stop, or at least slow down the take-over by vast national and global wealth? Can we rely on our electeds? Where are their voices?

BTW: City Lore, 58 E. First St., will be presenting a film about Clayton on Wed. 12/10, 7:00 p.m. ($10. donation)

richard kopperdahl: Clayton has a point. He's had his building in the lower east side since the days when most of the area was redlined by money interests and you could homestead or buy abandoned buildings throughout the area. That was not some wonderful time with low rents and happy artists finding space to do their art. What Clayton fails to mention was the reason for the affordable rents: high crime and rampant poverty of the ethnic population; open drug markets, turf wars, insurance fires causing major conflagrations every week. I know how it was when artists braved the neighborhood to set-up shop, I lived on the top floor of a drug-infested tenement and heard thieves roam the rooftops and fire escapes every night. Nobody with any sense entered Tompkins Square after dusk. The price for cheap-affordable rent was constant fear. Do we want that back in the name of Art?

Jeff Wright: Regarding Clayton's scathing condemnation of the city's choice for spokesperson, I agree. What an insulting travesty. What happened? Did Derek Jeter turn down the job? Since we're living in a commercial world where "hipsters" congregate at Starbucks and where obnoxious revelers pack the bars to watch professional sports — where Macy's is happy to fly corporate balloons like the Pillsbury doughboy and the Afflak duck — why not a completely capitalistic spokesperson for New York like the Geico gecko? Why not make Ronald McDonald the mascot for New York —he's more representative than Taylor Swift. If we want a spokesperson who matters — who might actually speak to the needs of New Yorkers — I vote for Anonymous


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