New York Artist Clayton Patterson Responds to Taylor Swift's "Welcome To New York"

by Gabby Bess

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?

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