|Posted by Nikki Yeager on March 3, 2011 at 10:38 AM|
The other day I had a work breakfast for REBNY (Real Estate Board of NY) and of all the strange things to make me stop and think, this breakfast was one of them.
I got there a few minutes early and met up with a few other people from our company. Clad in business casual slacks and sweaters, we made our way to the ballroom of the Roosevelt Hotel. Amidst the many department store suits and middle aged men, we found our white-linen covered table and sat down to a much fancier breakfast than any of us girls were ready for. While waiters brought out silver carafes of coffee and plates full of breakfast food, we half-heartedly listened to the first 2 speakers.
Then came a third - one of the NY government guys from the Communications dept. He was clearly politicking his little heard out for the current Bloomberg administration (something that elicited quite a few eye rolls), but he was doing a fine job of renewing my enthusiasm for NYC. Something I don’t usually need help with but lately Brooklyn’s been wearing me down.
As a city we have the 2nd largest amount of investments in Tech startups, we had a record breaking 48.7 million tourists visit in 2010 alone, our unemployment rate is a good amount lower than the national average and we have one of the most comprehensive train systems in America. Then he went on to say we’re on the cutting edge of new technologies, are dedicating a huge amount of resources to balance our budget instead of waste mass amounts of money, we’re donating money to the arts. Our streets are clean, crime is down, murders are almost nonexistent. According to this man, New York is better than it’s ever been.
While all these positive facts were being stated, the native New Yorkers scoffed and rolled their eyes, “New York better than it’s ever been? You’ve gotta be kiddin’ me.”
But you know what? It is. And I say that proudly as a New Yorker, well aware of my transplant status and well aware I’m not the most knowledgeable person in the world. Which reminds me of a little quote by E.B. White:
“There are roughly three New Yorks. There is, first, the New York of the man or woman who was born there, who takes the city for granted and accepts its size, its turbulence as natural and inevitable. Second, there is the New York of the commuter--the city that is devoured by locusts each day and spat out each night. Third, there is New York of the person who was born somewhere else and came to New York in quest of something. Of these trembling cities the greatest is the last--the city of final destination, the city that is a goal. It is the third city that accounts for New York's high strung disposition, its poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements. Commuters give the city its tidal restlessness, natives give it solidity and continuity, but the settlers give it passion. “
And it’s true. Those of us who move here from other places have an undying love for the city, we make the New York that brims with passion and overachievement. If for no other reason than to prove we were right in moving here. To prove we too, can make it in such a place. We’re not too weak or two dumb despite our small town backgrounds, funny southern accents or excessive Midwestern conversation.
When that man was shouting out to the old fashioned ballroom full of real estate management companies, he was talking to us, the transplants. The people who felt his fiery passion. The people who agreed, NYC is better than it’s ever been. Better than anywhere I’ve ever been.
And in that REBNY breakfast I felt a new surge of pride for my home, something that sneaks up on you odd places like hotel ballrooms and dirty streets. Something that never gets old.