A ‘Swift’ Kick in the Pants to the New NYC Ambassador No One Wanted

Posted on: November 14th, 2014 at 9:28 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

She gives strangers in Central Park obscene amounts of money to spend at Chipotle. She pulls her entire catalog off Spotify. She doesn’t sweat when she goes to the gym. She’s a celebrity heartbreaker who now serves as the poster child to welcome the masses with open arms to New York. Everyone seems to have an opinion about Taylor Swift and her recent PR campaign, which conveniently coincided with the release of her fifth album 1989.

If Swift is now the spokesperson for the city’s tourism, then her recent single, “Welcome to New York” is undoubtedly the sugar-soaked pop anthem to back her up. The song plays out like a kid from the suburbs on a school field trip to see their first show on Broadway. Complete with lunch at McDonalds.

There’s no question New York has a remarkable way of making you fall in love with it, whether it be your first time in Times Square, or your tenth time holed up in a cozy Chinatown bar. Everyone has their reasons for wanting to be here. But “Welcome to New York” falls flat in its generic repetition, flashy, optimistic lifestyle, uninspired synthesizing, and false advertising. The song ultimately lacks depth, which is certainly a characteristic that New York prides itself on. How the Taylor Swift of 2014 is able to dish inspiration on the struggles of “making it” in New York is laughable. Had she written this eight years ago, it might have been a different story.

Her hackneyed lyrics compare the joys and pitfalls of New York to those felt in the world of dating. Even if you can get past that, the never-ending chorus bores its way into your head and doesn’t leave until you’ve been wiped of all rationality. This isn’t a song that makes you want to love New York. This is a song that makes you want to drink a Diet Coke. Both her campaign and song fails to ignite a fire for a city so diverse, a city that doesn’t stop fighting when it believes in something – and that’s just scratching the surface. It succeeds, however, in the way it uses the pop star.

Because what Taylor Swift really is, is the ambassador of the one percenters.

For a successful campaign, it’s imperative to bury the mom-and-pop shops, jack up rents in the name of selling out, build luxuries only attainable by those worthy enough (and make the rest use “poor doors“), squeeze out every drop of history until all storefronts are chains, but most importantly, turn a blind eye to it all and chalk it up to an “ever-changing”city that “you wouldn’t change anything, anything.” Swift’s Mary Sunshine demeanor and awkward girl-next-door dancing suggest you shake it off and settle into complacency. Sure, New York is getting fancier, and at the expensive of many livelihoods, but embrace it! It might be a little hard, but there are bright lights and kaleidoscopes! It’s like a rave but worse, because the vomit is on the sidewalks now, not in a warehouse.

Welcome to New York, we’re erasing character with wealth. Welcome to New York, Hell Square’s been waiting for you to dance to this beat forever more!

Recent Stories

Levain Bakery to Open First Downtown Location on Lafayette Street Next Week

In a first, Levain Bakery is headed downtown. News that we first reported in March 2019. Now, more than a year after breaking the news, the sweets shops confirms that next Wednesday (February 26) is the opening date at 340 Lafayette Street (at Bleecker Street). Teaser signage in the window had promised this debut as […]

Hoy Wong Restaurant Fades After 42 Years on Mott Street

A Chinatown stalwart is now retired. The Hoy Wong restaurant at 81 Mott Street closed down last weekend. A handwritten sign on the front door explains that the lease was up, and ownership elected to retire instead of renew. The eatery spent 42 years in the neighborhood and a popular pit-stop for locals and tourists. […]

Scarr’s Pizza is Planning a Second Location at a Midtown Food Hall

Out of nowhere, news that Scarr’s Pizza is expanding to include a second city location this spring. Eater had the scoop yesterday, citing the website of the architecture firm Le Whit, which lists the pizzeria as client. The new location is similarly small – 250 square-feet, but “reiterating the restaurant’s current branding” with its “retro […]

Talkin’ ’bout My Generation: Memories of Bill Graham and the Fillmore East

While working on our story about the new “Bill Graham and The Rock & Roll Revolution” exhibit at the New-York Historical Society, this reporter started collecting personal stories and memories of Graham’s legendary music venue, the Fillmore East. Located on Second Avenue and East 6th Street, the building began life in 1926 as The Commodore, […]

Chatham Square Library Closed for ‘Building Repairs’ Until Next Month

The Chatham Square Library is currently down for maintenance. The so-called “building repairs and improvements” are scheduled to last through February 29, with the library itself to reopen the following Monday (March 2). Until then, borrowers can return books and periodicals to the Seward Park branch just down East Broadway. The Chatham Square branch of […]