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I Heart NY

I was in New York City for the weekend – flew in on Wednesday night and returned Sunday night (well, actually morning but that’s another topic). I was lucky enough to be invited to attend the book launch for “The Big Moo” the book by Seth Godin and the “group of 33.”

Additionally, it was “marathon weekend” – the weekend of the New York City Marathon.

I had the opportunity to live in NYC just over 6 years ago. I lived there for 3 years… it’s where I started my career with Starbucks.

I moved there from Jacksonville, Florida… moving to the ‘big city’ I heard stories of the rudeness and the criminal danger.

Pre-move warnings included:

  • “Be careful about looking at your watch in public – especially if it’s a nice one… You’ll get mugged.”
  • “Don’t carry a wallet… it’ll just get stolen.”
  • “Don’t EVER look at a map when walking in the city! You’ll become an instant target for crime.”
  • “Don’t go near Central Park unless it’s broad daylight.”
  • “Avoid the subway… It’s VERY dangerous!”
  • Long story short… living in NYC was one of the best, most educational, most eye-opening experiences of my life. I’d highly recommend it to ANYONE thinking of moving there…

    Being in NYC this weekend reminded me of how genuinely friendly New Yorkers are.

    …And I don’t mean that they’re nice compared to expectations of rudeness. Compared to all the cities I’ve ever lived and visited – there is a genuine ‘watching out for each other’ that takes place in this tightly-packed city.

    (Yes, there are exceptions… there are rude folks… but I found them to be the minority).

    This weekend, on three different occasions, while riding the ‘dangerous’ subway I saw younger guys (who on first stereotyped glance could easily have been mis-labeled ‘punks’) politely stand up and kindly offer their subway seat to woman. I can’t think of the last time I saw any guy, in any city, do something gentlemanly. It was awesome.

    Some of the most magical moments living in NYC are the parades and grand gatherings… from the Puerto Rican day parade, the “Lighting of the Tree” in Rockefeller Plaza, the Thanksgiving Parade to the Marathon… NYC has crowd control down pat! Tens of thousands of people running or parading through the streets… and in another part of town, you’d never know the difference. And only hours later – it’s completely cleaned up – like it never took place.

    Short story long… I spent the day with friends on the Upper East Side, at 89th and 1st, cheering on tens of thousands of incredible people from all over the world with the moxie to run the 26-mile marathon.

    Most runners write their name on the front of their jersey – which is great… because as cheering spectator, you can yelp out personalized cheers of support…

    Keep it up, Tommy!

    Lookin’ Good Lois!

    You can do it, Miguel!

    In return for hearing their names runners would give you a thumbs up, pick up their step or just break a smile. And in that instant you knew you had made a meaningful connection at the 18th-mile…

    Pretty neat.

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