People misunderstand New Yorkers. Many visitors to Gotham are so overwhelmed by the city’s enormity they see only a cinematic blur of humanity. We natives and longtime residents look at New York differently. Here’s what I love about New York:
- Intelligence: New Yorkers are smart. Some are book smart and others are street smart. Some are artists and some are investment bankers. There are musicians, doctors, lawyers and writers. There’s every profession you can imagine. They come from all walks of life and with a full range of experiences. If you keep your eyes and ears open, there is always something new to learn.
- Energy: New York truly is the city that never sleeps. Traffic jams at 1 o’clock in the morning! Even after having lived in the city now for 61 years, I’m always filled with his sense of excited anticipation every time I return from a trip. As soon as I see the towering skyscrapers on the horizon, it’s a shot of adrenaline.
- Diversity: Black, white, red, yellow and brown. Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist. European, Asian, African, South American – all packed in the same subway car heading to and from work. It’s the most democratic place in the world. You are judged on your accomplishments and not on the color of your skin, your religion or the country you’re from.
- Neighborhoods: It may be a city of more than 8.3 million people but it’s really a city of small neighborhoods.
- Humanity: People say we are rude but that’s because they don’t understand us. We’re not rude, but we are impatient. We have things to do and places to go. But, if you need our help, we are there with a hand. Witness how we came together as a city after 9/11.
Several years ago, my wife and I were eating at a communal table at a restaurant. Sitting with us were three Asians who’d grown up in New York City. All three-attended prestigious Ivy League colleges and graduate schools and worked in different cities around the world. But they all returned to New York. I had to ask why.
You are some of the brightest, most talented and accomplished people I’ve ever met,” I said. “You can get a job in almost any company anywhere in the world. Why did you choose New York?
New York was the only place in the world where they felt free, they said. They were not judged by their ethnicity, their looks for anything other than their ability. That meant more to them than anything else in the world.