When friends of mine come to visit, they’re just baffled as to how we can live here. If you’re visiting New York, all you see is the busyness, but anyone who lives here knows it’s pretty easy to find quiet enclaves. I live just a few blocks from Broadway in SoHo, but I’m on a quiet little street, and I’ve got my quiet little roof garden. Ideally, you have the best of both worlds: you can walk out your front door and be immersed in the chaos, or you can go up on your roof and have a blueberry smoothie while birds are chirping.
New York is a big, gritty city, but it’s also the easiest place in the world to eat well. Within a 10-minute walk of my studio, there are probably 20 vegetarian restaurants. My favorite is still one of the oldest vegetarian restaurants in New York: Angelica Kitchen, on 12th Street. I’ve probably eaten there 2,000 times in my life. I like the fact that it’s been around for so long; it doesn’t take credit cards and there’s still always a line out the door.
I’ve been here for so long, too: shopping at the same deli for 21 years, going to the same laundromat for 19 years…and I like that. The first time I went out to a nightclub in New York was to the Mudd Club in 1981 to see this punk-rock band Fear. I’ve been going out pretty regularly in TriBeCa since then, which does remind me a little bit of that quote from Anchorman when Will Ferrell says, "We’ve been coming to the same party for 12 years now—and in no way is that depressing."
It’s hard to say this without sounding immodest, but almost every remarkable musical movement of the last 100 years started here. Hip-hop certainly started here. Punk rock essentially started here with the New York Dolls, and house music with Frankie Knuckles (before he moved to Chicago). Indie rock even started here with Television at Max’s Kansas City and CBGB. Iconic musicians, writers, photographers, sculptors—everyone comes from here. It’s almost an embarrassment of riches. If there were another city with one-tenth of what New York has, it would be considered a cultural mecca. Sometimes it can be a little daunting; it’s hard for me to rest on my laurels as a musician, since I live in the same town that George Gershwin and Lou Reed come from, and where David Bowie has chosen to live—right across the street from me.
Moby’s latest album, Wait for Me, was released in June. For more information, visit moby.com.