Greetings from the Big Apple

As you read this, I’ll be sitting on a convenient step gazing up and down the hallowed brick and mortar canyons of Manhattan. I say “hallowed” because, at least for me, this awesome high-rise scenario has somehow always seemed a wee bit more than the sum of all its cement and steel. Call me deluded if you will, but I sense a very real, powerful metaphysical charge of energy the moment I step off the Staten Island ferry. Like, 10,000 volts right down the spinal column.

I simply love Manhattan!

And let me remind you, as I have on several occasions in the past, I’m not generally fond of cities. In fact, I usually try to avoid hem. Off hand, I can only name three urban centers that I find appealing: Seattle, New Orleans and Manhattan — and perhaps, on second thought, San Francisco. (Perhaps.) I don’t care for Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., or Dallas. I absolutely detest Los Angeles.

Yet I simply adore Manhattan. Though my travels haven’t taken me to other world-class cities — Rome, Paris, Hong Kong — I feel certain New York is the greatest city on the planet. (In fact, there’s some justification for calling Manhattan the “Capital of the World” since the U.N. headquarters is located there.)

Given such bizarre sentiments, my more conservative friends might smugly ask why I’m not living there. “If you’re so fond of such urban squalor, what the hell you doin’ in a fresh-air suburb like Enumclaw?”

Well, it’s because I’m an old man and old people, whether men or women, can’t function very well in New York unless they’re rich or at least have a lot of money behind them. (A few square blocks of Fifth Avenue have more millionaires and billionaires then any other chunk of real estate you can name, including the most exclusive enclaves of Saudi Arabia.) However, if you’re young and in hot pursuit of a dream, Manhattan is an excellent place to be. It’s a place where dreams come true.

And where else but the Museum of National History can you find an entire city block of meticulously assembled dinosaur bones? And, with the exception of the Louve, where else but the Metropolitan Museum of Art can you find such an extensive collection of Western art? And where else but Broadway can you find such a selection of live theater? And even though nearly every capital city on the planet — Paris, London, Hong Kong — has a stock exchange, there’s general agreement among all of them that Wall Street is the most important money-wchanging center because it best reflects the world’s economic pulse at any particular moment.

Manhattan has the damnedest collection of religions, creeds, races, languages, cultures and sexual persuasions you’ll find anywhere in America. Yet, for the most part, everyone miraculously gets along. (New York has one of the lowest per capita crime rates in the country.) Alas, Manhattan is the White Nationalist’s worse nightmare because, horrors of horrors, whites are no longer the “dominate” race since they compose about 45 percent of Gotham’s population.

At any rate, this is where I find myself on this pleasant summer afternoon: sitting on the steps outside St. Patrick’s Cathedral gazing across Fifth Avenue into Rockefeller Center. It’s a good place to be.




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Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.
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