Fellas…back from ‘Merica. Alright, it’s been a while since I returned and thank God (or who- or whatever) that I’m not there anymore given the election outcome. I know that it is a little uncool to say, but that is what I expected after what I have seen and experienced over there. But first things first: The photograph above shows the south facade of the One World Trade Center, just a few steps away from the 9/11 memorial site, which everyone should visit when in NYC. It’s not perfectly symmetric…but maybe that’s precisely the one thing I like about it…nothing is symmetric I guess…from the distribution of income to…say…every human being’s face. So let’s celebrate that!
I was based in the financial district of lower Manhattan and, although it was convenient as I wasn’t there for private reasons, boy was that a bad decision. I’m not really fascinated by New York south of midtown (or other parts for that matter). However, I’m somewhat fascinated by the people. Whether it’s the irish waiter in an Irish Pub who gave me a Guinness glass for free (thanks mate!), a young band with a very eclectic guitar sound which I found myself listening to at Union Square (City of the Sun, check them out here), a particularly weird “musician” singing about “the A train”, or the people I met during a trip to Fire Island on one of the days off from the conferences. Anyhow, not seeing the sun (except as a reflection in some skyscraper window) is just too much for this Austrian econ-nerd. So I got out of the city as often as I could…to Hyde Park on Hudson for instance, about 2 hours by train north from NYC – along the scenic Hudson river – to see the FDR National Historic Site…told ya: I’m a nerd sometimes. And guess what…I ran into Austrians in FDR’s house…globalization is really weird. That was a truly amazing visit because I benefited so much from their online archive of documents and speeches from FDR’s time as president of the US. So finally being there was…mindblowing. If you are close, I highly recommend going there, stroll the grounds, walk the parks, hike the woods and dive into world history. There is never a mistake in doing these things.
Finally, I want to thank Yakup, Ishaq and Azlan for their company during the time in New York, hope we can stay in touch and don’t forget about the seminars you need to organize so I can come to your beautiful countries and dive a little ;-). Thanks to the irish waiter (let’s call him….Patrick!) for the free Guinness glass, City of the Sun for their wonderful guitar sound and all the nice and helpful people (yes, they exist in NYC) for helping a stranger get on trains and ferries and generally finding back on his way when he got lost. But you guys really need to update your airports, all of them. As always, enjoy what you are doing or stop it…Tata!