New Yorkers and those that ‘heart’ it from afar are less than impressed with news that Pennsylvania-born, Nashville-bred singer and ex-girlfriend to the curly-haired Harry Styles of One Direction fame, Taylor Swift, has been named New York City’s Global Welcome Ambassador.
Buzzfeed even went so far as to list 28 people more qualified to be a New York ambassador than Ms Swift, including “that guy who sits in Washington Square Park covered in pigeons”.
It’s not that she’s new to New York that has people up in arms, it’s her cliché, saccharine version of the city (including Ms Swift telling people what a stoop and a bodega is – as if we haven’t watched enough Seinfeld and Sex in the City to have figured it out for ourselves).
The official marketing and tourism organisation for the city, NYC & Company, yesterday announced Ms Swift’s role in their new global tourism campaign, Welcome To New York, named after Ms Swift’s song of the same name.
“The new Welcome To New York song is a perfect anthem for New York City and captures the energy and spirit of our world-class destination,” NYC & Company chairman Emily Rafferty said.
The city’s Village Voice called the song bull----, celebrating a “generic, flat and lifeless” New York.
It’s hard to find the right person to represent a city that has almost as many definitions as it does people. And the city has been the muse and the undoing of many a great musician. Think Sinatra, Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, The Beastie Boys, Dylan, Springsteen and more recently Jay-Z and Alicia Keys with their Empire State of Mind.
Now I don’t know my Taylor Swift from my Taylor Lautner (whom she apparently dated), but I know that at some point for most travellers to the Big Apple, NYC is a sugary pop song cliché. C'mon, we have to admit that deep inside, there's a bit of T-Swift in us all. She's that little voice that gets excited in Times Square and giggles on the subway.
And even if there's not, it's nice to know that if the city can welcome a blonde once-country, now-pop singer with equal parts of love and sarcasm, then an Aussie who is still slightly Seinfeld obsessed will be welcome too.
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