Today is November 5th—the day after the World Series ended in New York City and the day before the beloved ticker-tape parade to celebrate the Yankees 27th world championship.
From the moment I hit the streets this morning until I returned to my hotel late this evening, I witnessed a New York City seldom ever seen by anyone … residents or tourists. However, this is the second time in my life that I’ve had the privilege to witness this rare occurrence!
To fully understand and appreciate today’s phenomenon, you need to know a few facts about this city:
- The demographics of NYC are evidence of a uniquely large and ethnically diverse metropolis.
- NYC is the largest city in the United States with a population uniquely defined by a long history of international immigration.
- New York City is home to more than 8 million people, accounting for about 40% of the population of New York State and a similar percentage of the New York metropolitan area, home to about 20 million.
- More than 170 languages are spoken in the city, and 36% of its population is foreign born.
In short, New York City is the greatest melting pot on the face of earth! Rather than describe to you what I saw today, allow me to tell you what I DIDN’T see today!
I saw absolutely no Chinese people. Not one. Nor did I see a single Albanian, Greek, or Romanian! There wasn’t a single Jewish person on the streets. No Japanese, no African American, no Polish or Italian. I saw no Puerto Ricans, Asians, or Irish. Not a single Russian, Greek, or German. I didn’t even see one single American!
No, today the city of New York is home to none of the above! Today, this colossal city is home to no one but Yankees! The city is filled with pride and allegiance to a baseball team! Even Met fans have taken the day off to salute their brother Yankees as they celebrate their 27th World Championship. Everyone in this city is in 27th Heaven!
However, it’s much more than a baseball team which has brought this massive population together as one! It’s the need for a mutual cause … a bond, if you will! Times are bad. Worse than many have ever seen before in their lives. Stress, despair, and loss of hope is rampant. People are searching for answers and hope. It just so happens that one of their local sports teams emerged at this time to offer a glimmer of hope in a very dark world. Today, and probably through the parade and the weekend to follow, people have forsaken all their hopelessness and feelings of loss to become an unofficial Yankee.
People are shaking the hands of strangers, hugging each other, dancing in the streets. There are no arguments, disagreements, or unsmiling faces.
I mentioned that I felt privileged to have witnessed this very unique situation in NYC twice in my life. The last time was shortly after the historic attack on the World Trade Center right here in the heart of the Financial District. I’ll spare you the grim details as most of us will never forget the pictures of shock, fear and devastation which occurred as a result of that 9-11 tragedy.
The emotions were obviously the opposite of what we see today. There was no joy, elation or celebration! But there was that unspoken, universal bond which brought this city together like never before in its history. Again, there were no nationalities that day, week, or month. At that time, EVERYONE was a NEW YORKER! In fact, that feeling was felt throughout the country and even the world. Everyone was a New Yorker for so many obvious reasons. And for those who witnessed this never-before-seen spectacle … it was not only indescribable but it was heartwarming to the point that defied description!
My question is this: WHY do we wait for a CAUSE? Why must there be a fantastic accomplishment or major disaster before we come together as human beings and treat others as we’d like to be treated, support one another, and care for those we live with day in and day out. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could experience those emotions every day in every way?
While that will never happen to the degree described above, WE could all put forth an effort to make things better than they are today! And if enough of us decided to do that, from coast to coast, this country would experience an obvious joy and healing that we so dearly need in these chaotic times. I’m willing to give it a shot … starting today! How about you?