Giving thanks for a New York City that comes together
New Yorkers have been pretty beaten down the last two years: The pandemic, rising crime, disorder. People are running for their lives, literally, to Florida.
Yes, the grind of being a New Yorker isn’t easy and you often forget we still live in an amazing city. For all its faults, the best of the best from all over the world still want to live and work here.
I just had one of those experiences that reminded me why New Yorkers are the best of the best — a reason to give thanks this Thanksgiving.
A few weeks ago, as I left a coffee shop in Midtown on my way to work, I removed a very sentimental ring given to me by my recently deceased father so I could lather my hands with Purell disinfectant.
Holding the ring, a cup of coffee, and the sanitizer was a balancing act. But New Yorkers are supposed to be good at multitasking, right? Not me. The ring slipped right out of my hands. In slow motion I saw a family heirloom disappear into the black hole of a sidewalk grate.
My heart sank and panic set in. I was kneeling on the grate — frantic — trying to see if I could even see the ring or lift the metal. As I was growing more hysterical, a few people gathered around me to ask what was wrong.
A mother with a thick Eastern European accent watching me meltdown said she would stay with me until things got sorted out; a teller at a nearby bank who quickly gave me the information for her building’s superintendent who might know who to call to get the grate removed; the super who rolled his eyes in a very New York way when I told him my story but said I need to call Con Ed; and finally, a Con Ed worker named Fred who showed about 30 minutes later pulled open the grate and lowered a ladder down about 40 feet deep, holding it steady as his partner went on the mission.
About sixty seconds came the words: “I got it!”
I’m crying. And the Con Ed guys are bear hugging me. And the mother and the bank teller, now outside to witness a small slice of New York life, also start to cry.
I reached into my purse, pulled out some cash and told Fred “please, please take this.”
“No, we can’t take it. This is our job. We just really wanted you to have your ring today,” he said.
I know this sounds trite — but it was New York’s “gorgeous mosaic” at work. That’s the term former mayor David Dinkins used so eloquently to describe the strength of our diversity.
We’re still a city where strangers are willing to lend out a helping hand to those in need. It’s why New York City will survive.
Jackie DeAngelis is a financial correspondent for Fox Business Network.
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