Speeches and events

imgresFor whatever reason we have gone to a few events this spring.  They were all fundraisers for non-profits always with a twist of honoring someone.  I admit I don’t love going to these events but after having been to a few in a short period of time it gives me the ability to think more about what I do and don’t like.   I don’t like that non-profits haven’t gotten better at being sustainable.  With the web, there is a lot of opportunity out there to bring a new type of revenue stream into the organization.  So they continue to have the same old event without any innovation. The table thing is never fun unless you personally invited everyone to sit at your table.  When you buy just two tickets you end up with random people.  Sometimes great and sometimes not so great.  The food is usually subpar and that is ridiculous in NYC.  It is super hard to cook for that many people but a few can and unless you have proven yourself, you should not be able to cater.  We went to Ciprianis for an event and the food was inedible.

The most important thing are the speeches.  A good speech makes you think.  A bad speech is the worst.  At PEN, an event that I have now gone to twice had the most incredible speakers.  Of course most of them are all masters of the English language in their daily life.  The other event we went to was honoring Dan Doctoroff.  Dan has quietly, I say quietly because he really isn’t known for what he has done for NYC on every street corner and it is impressive.  He gave a great speech.

Dan talked about how he came to NYC and was overwhelmed with how big it was.  It was unmanageable.  I remember that feeling when we first came to NYC to find a place to live.  The first day we took a bus up Madison Avenue from 23th to 79th.  Looking out the windows as we made our way uptown was overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time.  The architecture and vibe changed as we made our way up town which includes the size and scale of the buildings.  My mouth hung open.  I was going to live here.

Dan continued to talk about how NYC inspired him.  This city was all about innovation.  It is a city that is constantly moving forward with constant change and growth.  It lives in the future so we can continue to be leaders in the world.  That innovation is the essence of NYC.  Then he concluded with how NYC is a city that we hope the world can be.  We live in a city with every different walk of life represented and in general we pretty much get along.

When we were in Israel a few years ago I had this interesting engagement with a cab driver.  He wanted to know where I was from.  When I told him NYC he informed me that he knew where the Bronx was from the movies.  I told him I lived south of that.  NYC was a big place.  He then asked if I had kids.  He did too.  He wanted to know if I let my kids speak to or hang with other kids who were not Jewish.  I told him that my kids went to a school with a huge melting pot of people.  I then explained to him how in NYC we live among each other and our kids to go school together with people who are Black, Latino, Christian, Gay, Muslim etc. and nobody cared. He laughed.  When we departed I said to him this area of the world could learn a lesson from NYC.  He completely agreed.

I still don’t love the events but Dan’s speech really made me think back to our early days in this town. The journey we have taken. Both Dan and his wife Alisa have made a huge impact on NYC and it was inspiring to hear his own personal thoughts about his journey.