Watch Patti Smith Receive the Key to New York City

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Submitted by karajayne on Wed, 12/29/2021 - 12:42

Watch Patti Smith Receive the Key to New York City

Posted 29 Dec 2021
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Mayor Bill de Blasio & Patti Smith. Image via Twitter.

Legendary punk-poet, Patti Smith has received the key to New York City ahead of her 75th birthday this week (Dec 30). 

The honour was bestowed upon her by outgoing mayor Bill de Blasio, who poignantly noted how the 1970s’ punk movement had shaped both himself, the city and the world at large, praising Smith for her undeniable “authenticity that you just don’t find [in] that many other places” and her “ability to cut through all the swirl around us and speak some more profound truths.”

“Some have called Patti Smith the godmother of punk,” de Blasio said, “[and] I think it’s a fair phrase because she inspired so many people, helped shape a whole artistic movement, and in many ways a political movement as well.”

“Her work as a musician, as a singer, as a lyricist, as an activist – so many elements influenced so many people and showed people a way. And when we honour people, I particularly think about the pathfinders – the people who show the way to so many others. There’s a lot of artists out there who realise what they could do and what they could say because they heard the works of Patti Smith.”

You can watch de Blasio’s press conference with Smith in full below. 

After receiving the award, Smith reflected on how the city she adopted as a home over five decades ago has, in turn, shaped her own creative evolution, after moving “a rural, rural area of South Jersey” in 1967 with “just a few dollars in my pocket, nowhere to stay [and] no real prospects.” 

 “I wish I could give New York City the key to me,” she joked, “because that’s how I feel about our city. With all its challenges and difficulties, it remains – and I’m quite a traveller – the most diverse city, to me, in the world.”


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