Patti Smith was awarded the key to New York City today by outgoing Mayor Bill de Blasio. She gave a speech talking about what that honor meant to her and her history with the city. She and Lenny Kaye also performed “Ghost Dance.” Watch it happen below.
“I wish I could give New York City the key to me, because that’s how I feel about our city,” Smith said. “With all its challenges and difficulties, it remains—and I’m quite a traveler—the most diverse city in the world.” She added, “To receive this at 75, it makes me look even more forward to the next 25 years.”
“This is an extraordinary pleasure and honor for me, because for any of us who came of age in the 1970s and 1980s, there were many, many voices out there, many artists out there, many musicians out there, but there was only one Patti Smith,” Mayor de Blasio said. “To me, Patti Smith had an authenticity and has an authenticity that you just didn’t find, in my view, that many other places—an ability to cut through all the swirl around us and speak some more profound truths.”
Read Pitchfork’s March 2021 report, “Patti Smith Played a Show in Brooklyn—Here’s What That Looked Like.”