By Tom Ehrich
Moving to New York City five years ago didn’t make me a “New Yorker,” of course.
Like most of my 8.2 million neighbors, I started somewhere else – another country, another state, another profession, another way of doing the basics, another sports loyalty. We might all dress in black, but we represent every tiny shade of humanity’s rainbow.
To me, “moving to New York” meant Manhattan, not the other four boroughs where 80% of the city’s population live. It also meant the Upper West Side, that long and narrow slice of land west of Central Park where “You’ve Got Mail” was filmed.
I have learned to treasure more of the city. Last year we moved to Hell’s Kitchen (where “West Side Story” was filmed). I love being even more deeply embedded in the everyday and workaday.
I have learned that money has no great allure for me. I’d like to get beyond paycheck-to-paycheck, but I have no desire to emulate the many for whom seven-figure salaries and $5 million apartments are life goals.
I have learned that racial, ethnic, sexual and religious diversity – so feared in the Indiana of my childhood — is actually a profound treasure. Singing in a Gospel Choir (half-black, half-white) has taught me new dimensions of church music. Collaborating with a Chinese developer on a new product is fun. I understand more about the great justice struggles going on in our fragmented society.
I have found a deeper faith here and a more tolerant faith. I appreciate the fiery authenticity of my preacher.
Yes, it is exhausting to live in Manhattan. But I love being on foot or hanging on to a subway pole. I love finding peace amid the noise. I love walking up Broadway with my wife. I love watching my sons grow up here.