People often wonder what makes New York tick. Are there keys to the city’s success? Is there something magical about the city? How about how it works? Can New York’s engine teach you and me something?
One of New York morning newspapers dedicated their lead article to answering the heart of the question. What makes New York tick is the new immigrants, especially the ones from South Asia. They have brought a new vitality and energy to several city boroughs. They have restored service to the convenience kiosks that serve newspapers, snacks, and a quick chat to residents and tourists alike. They have introduced new food, stores, and ideas to a city always looking for a fresh approach. In short the strangers in our midst have nurtured and fed the best New York has to offer its’ citizens. In many ways Roosevelt Avenue with the Indian restaurants, products, and produce is now considered as much of the “real” New York as Spanish Harlem.
If there is anything unusual about the story, it lies in the description of the people involved. If I tried to describe the usual member of the community involved, it would go something like this. “He won't call attention to what he does with loud speeches or gaudy parades. He won't brush aside the bruised and the hurt and he won't disregard the small and insignificant, but he'll steadily and firmly set things right.” (Isaiah 42.2, 3) You would never notice him unless you appreciated his service and kindness. You would never consider him greedy, especially given his competitive prices and extended hours. You would tend to overlook the obvious, unless you appreciated someone who did his or her job without asking for any gratitude.
I am describing the people that make New York tick, yet my description is a prophet’s description of God’s man or woman. It is interesting how the description is playing out in the world we know. Today I will be an active part of this minority in the community. Today I will reach out and make a difference.
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