John Zorn

Downtown-music scenemaker, genius homebody

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What’s your favorite place or thing in New York?
John Zorn: I’ve lived here my whole life, so almost every single street corner is my favorite place. If you were to ask me, rather, “What are some of your favorite places in New York,” I might say the Temple of Dendur at the Met, the Shakespeare Garden and the Red panda habitat in Central Park, the East Village, Eisenberg’s Sandwich Shop, my study at home…

Who are your favorite New Yorkers?
John Zorn: I don’t play favorites with people. My basic philosophy is that the only way to make the world a better place is by bringing something beautiful to every single person you run into at every moment of the day, so how can you play favorites with somebody?

What’s the biggest thing that’s happened to the city in the last 13 years?
John Zorn: I’m not even going to talk about that.

What’s your personal favorite moment in New York? Where were you, and what was happening?
John Zorn: My apologies; all this “favorite, favorite, favorite” may have been relevant when I was much younger, but I really don’t think in those terms anymore.

What’s the future of New York?
John Zorn: Change. Everyone is complaining about the East Village—I love the East Village. I’ve been tromping around it since 1965 and it’s a beautiful place. Sure it’s changed. People sometimes have a very hard time accepting change. Remember what Heracleitus said: You can’t step in the same river twice.

If you could have a drink with anyone else on this list, who would it be?
John Zorn: I don’t drink, and I’m very shy about meeting people. I’d rather go home and work.

Complete the sentence: New York is…
John Zorn: …the place where Harry Smith said, “Make a person think that they think and they love you—make them think and they hate you.”

Next: Tim Gunn >


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