Friday, January 16, 2009

New York City

by Dick Mac

A few years ago someone said: "You're a New Yorker, Dick Mac," and it was a New Yorker who said it to me. I was thrilled to hear it! It's an honor to be considered a New Yorker by a New Yorker, because I am not from New York City.

I do not deny my roots as a Bostonian, nor do I reject any of the cultural imperatives that make me distinctly a New York transplant. Simply put though: I get it. I get New York City. I get the self-aggrandizement that New Yorkers seem to have been born with. I get the 'scene' and the thrill of it all. New York City is the center of the Universe. There are probably more songs written about New York than Paris; and that's saying something!

New Yorkers are a proud lot.

Madison Square Garden, although it is a grossly unpleasant place to see any kind of event, is cherished all over the world as a shrine to sport and entertainment. Radio City Music Hall, a venue that deserves the esteem in which it is held, is a jewel. The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a spectacular museum with an amazing collection. The Empire State building, like Madison Square Garden, does not necessarily merit the esteem in which it is held, but is likely the most famous skyscraper in the world. The Museum of Modern Art has, arguably, the most comprehensive collection of modern art in the world. Grand Central Station, Tammany Hall, Broadway, Central Park, Rudy Giuliani, the George Washington Bridge, the Rockefeller Family and Rockefeller Center, the Yankees, Times Square, Coney Island, the Statue of Liberty, and other cultural and political institutions are bigger and more famous because they are in New York.

And New Yorkers are a proud lot.

The events of September 11, 2001, brought the whole world together; and the destruction of the World Trade Center towers will likely stand as the universal symbol of terrorism for many years to come.

New Yorkers were amazing in the days, weeks, and months following that incident, and the entire world looked proudly on New Yorkers for their toughness, resilience, and fortitude. Sure, there were blowhards like Giuliani and George Bush who attached themselves to the incident, and built international careers on the episode; but, all-in-all, the images that humans recall of that event are firefighters, cops, construction workers, regular Joes, you and me, covered in grime and sweat, wet with tears and laughter, digging out from the rubble and emotional wreckage of 9/11.

New Yorkers are a proud lot, and they have earned their pride.

Yesterday afternoon, a jet took-off from LaGuardia airport in Queens, flew through a flock of geese, lost power in both engines and had to make an emergency landing. The pilot managed to get the jet over to the Hudson River and ditched.

Miraculously, nobody died. Everyone on board survived. Some broken and bruised, but alive. They got out of the airplane within 90 seconds and were huddling on the wings and in rafts in the frigid river. Drowning seemed to be the next likely scenario. Within minutes, however, ferry skippers and other boatmen maneuvered their vessels around the site and began rescuing the passengers.

New Yorkers did it again! Known for their self-centeredness and huge egos, New Yorkers stepped-up to the plate the moment they were needed.

New Yorkers are a proud lot, and I love New York!

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