Jerry Seinfeld Slams Comedy Club Owner Who Declared 'NYC Is Dead Forever'
By Meredith B. Kile
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for Netflix
New York City was one of the United States' first major coronavirus hot spots, and the pandemic's impact on the city will last for years to come. But die-hard New Yorkers know the city always bounces back.
Jerry Seinfeld took to the New York Times this week to share his thoughts on anyone who thinks differently. The Brooklyn-born comedian -- whose iconic sitcom made landmarks out of everyday NYC locales -- penned an op-ed titled "So You Think New York Is 'Dead,'" in response to growing online negativity about the beleagured Big Apple.
"You say New York will not bounce back this time," Seinfeld wrote to critics who worry about the city's ability to rebound from the devastating cultural and economic effects of the shutdown. “You will not bounce back... This stupid virus will give up eventually. The same way you have."
One example of such negativity came in a viral LinkedIn post, "NYC Is Dead Forever. Here's Why," written earlier this month by James Altucher, who co-owns a comedy club, Stand Up N.Y., on the Upper West Side, where stars like Seinfeld, Jim Gaffigan and Tracy Morgan have taken the stage within the last year.
Like all other venues, the club has struggled through the pandemic, resorting to outdoor shows to keep the laughs coming -- though Altucher admitted that he left the city in June, and is renting an apartment in Miami. "We have no idea when we will open. Nobody has any idea. And the longer we close, the less chance we will ever reopen profitably."
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"Broadway is closed until at least the Spring. Lincoln Center is closed. All the museums are closed. Forget about the tens of thousands of jobs lost in these cultural centers. Forget even about the millions of dollars of tourist and tourist-generated revenues lost by the closing of these centers... No matter what happened to me, NYC was a net I could fall back on and bounce back up. Now it's completely dead."
Seinfeld slammed Altucher's defeatist attitude and "abandoning" of the city he claims to love, writing, "The last thing we need in the thick of so many challenges is some putz on LinkedIn wailing and whimpering, ‘Everyone’s gone! I want 2019 back!' Oh, shut up.... In your enervated, pastel-filled new life in Florida. I hope you have a long, healthy run down there. I can’t think of a more fitting retribution for your fine article."
“He says everyone’s gone for good," the comedy legend continued. "How the hell do you know that? You moved to Miami. Yes, I also have a place out on Long Island. But I will never abandon New York City. Ever.”
"You found a place in Florida? Fine. We know the sharp focus and restless, resilient creative spirit that Florida is all about. You think Rome is going away too? London? Tokyo? The East Village? They’re not. They change. They mutate. They re-form. Because greatness is rare. And the true greatness that is New York City is beyond rare," he added.
As for Altucher's club, Seinfeld fired off, “I have been onstage at your comedy club Stand Up N.Y. quite a few times. It could use a little sprucing up, if you don’t mind my saying. I wouldn’t worry about it. You can do it from Miami.”