Author-Actress Fran Lebowitz discusses living in New York City during the COVID-19 pandemic

Author-Actress Fran Lebowitz at the 2021 Las Vegas Book Festival. (Jason Rzucidlo/AmericaJR)

Las Vegas — Author and actor Fran Lebowitz was the featured speaker at the 20th annual Las Vegas Book Festival on Saturday, Oct 23.

The 70-year-old made a stop in Las Vegas just a few days before her birthday. She is known for her social commentary on American life from a New York City perspective.

Lebowitz played Justice Janice Goldberg on the NBC legal drama “Law and Order” and on “Law and Order: Criminal Intent.” She can currently be seen on the Netflix limited documentary series “Pretend it’s a City.”

The author-actress was interviewed by Dayvid Figler, a local attorney and columnist for the Nevada Independent. About 700 people were on hand to watch and listen to the discussion in person.

One of Figler’s first questions he proposed to Lebowitz was about her experience living in New York City during the Coronavirus pandemic. What was it like?

“Every single part of New York was dangerous,” she told the crowd. “Everyone who didn’t live in New York hated New York. Really? Don’t you have an Olive Garden where you live? Then, the pandemic came and no one left their apartments except me. I went to Times Square. After a week I decided I’m gonna walk around. It wasn’t interesting, it was too sad. The New York Public Library is the thing I was most surprised by. This was like four in the afternoon. I couldn’t believe it was closed. Macy’s was closed. I don’t care.

“I’m not a fan of noise but there has to be something between you can’t hear your own footsteps and you can’t hear anything else. New York was like that for quite a while. I walked around all of the time. Now, it’s opened up some. There was a brief three-week period where I didn’t wear my mask at all because I’ve had both vaccines–Now I’ve had three. I would have one everyday if they would bottle this stuff, I would drink it. There was that moment before the Delta virus. That’s the right thing to do…we should name all of these viruses after airlines. Start with Delta, then United and Southwest.”

Lebowitz also talked about her previous job as a taxi driver.

“I was a cab driver in New York In the 1970s,” the author-actress said. “There’s a heavy toll on the cab drivers in New York during the pandemic. Selling medallions was a scam putting them in debt. The cab drivers in New York are exploited people who should be rescued.”

She also discussed the news media and how powerful newspapers, TV stations and magazines are when it comes to authors and their book sales.

The New York Times is not that powerful anymore which is a bad thing for news. They can’t kill a book with one bad review.”

Later on, Lebowitz took questions from audience members. She was asked about her thoughts on cryptocurrency.

“Someone explained Bitcoin to me. I realized cryptocurrency is the Algebra of my old age.”

When asked about her favorite place in Las Vegas, she replied: “I can’t say that I do maybe eventually I will.”

Lebowitz’s 9th grade science teacher was in attendance at the Book Festival. She described her as “a good student.” Then, the author-actress answered: “I was a horrible student. Junior high was the last place I graduated from.”

She was also asked about the upcoming New York City mayoral election.

“Everyone hates DeBlasio. Eric Adams is going to make you long for DeBlasio. We had rank choice voting for the first time. No one understood it. If these people want it, no. There were 20 candidates. That’s how we ended up with Donald Trump as President. If you are in New York City, the democratic candidate, you’re going to be the mayor. I always vote. I really don’t like him and believe a word he says. Why does California have such bad governors all of the time? This Newsom clown is who you have for governor?”

Look for Fran Lebowitz in the Netflix limited documentary series “Pretend it’s a City.” Follow her at:

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