Back when I had a personal blog I always did something to mark September 11th. Now of course I have a food blog and so I thought I just wouldn’t post today, but then I started thinking about what I love most about this country and this amazing city that I get to call home. Without a doubt, one of the things that I love most about this country and most especially about New York City is our spirit of resilience.
Here’s my Facebook status today:
Eleven years ago our hearts didn’t just break, they shredded, but we’re still here. We mourn the loss of lives and we never forget, but we forge on.
Eleven years later Americans still feel the grief, but in that time we’ve also laughed and loved. There have been breakups and makeups and weddings and babies. We’ve cheered and danced and sulked and cried. New jobs, trips abroad, sillyness and seriousness; they’ve all gone on in the past eleven years. Of course we’ve had some great eats too.
Soon after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina in 2005 I was in the car with my dad. He was listening to the sports radio and they were discussing the fate of the New Orleans Saints. Soon in to the conversation one of the sportscasters interrupted and said something to the effect of, “I just want to remind everyone listening that we are devastated by wha’s happened in New Orleans. Please don’t think for one minute that we’re not taking that seriously. we very much understand that there are many more important things going on in New Orleans right now, but we’re talking about sports because that’s what we do here.”
Life goes on. It has to.
On sports radio they talk about sports and on food blogs we talk about food. With that in mind and with faith that my readers are smart enough to know that I am not trying to make light of the sanctity of this day, I present to you one of my favorite New York stories.
If you ask most New Yorkers what love most about this city the answer is almost always, “The people.” Diversity is something we almost take for granted here because it’s not just that we have so much of it, it’s that we see it all day every day all around us and we celebrate it, especially when it comes to food. Every non-Jew in this city has an opionion on the best deli and orders their bagel with a “shmear.” We expect our pastas to have only the best “mozzarel” and “rigut” and fragrant Halal carts which are all over the city are considered to be a treasure for giving New Yorkers access to a quick delicious and affordable lunch.
Two years ago, on Halloween day, I was running an errand. As I passed the kosher deli on my block I took notice of an African American women waiting outside because she had with her a stroller in which the most adorable toddler was dressed as a pea. Basically the baby was zipped in to a green pod with two large “peas” stuck to her and her face sticking out as the top pea. I thought that would be my big dose of cuteness for the day, but there was more.
The woman’s husband came out of the deli with their two sons, probably 5 and 7, dressed up in matching tuxedos like mini James Bonds. It’s not uncommon here for kids to go trick or treating in area stores and both boys were grinning from ear to ear. As they came running to meet their mother and baby sister, their mother asked, “What’d you get?” The older boy replied, “We got candy,” and then with a contagious amount of joy and excitement he held up a small plastic bag and enthusiastically added, “And kosher pickles!”
That my friends, is a New York story. I love this city. I love this country. Never forget.