But the moment your plane angles in for a landing and you glimpse the island of Manhattan, you realize you were wrong, New York will always exceed your expectations.
This was my city for the first few years after college. Ten minutes after receiving my diploma, the truck carrying my few worldly possessions headed south from Bennington to The City. I couldn’t imagine moving anywhere else.
I bought used furniture and wheeled it up Third Avenue on a dolly. I figured out how to take the subway to my new job at the Financial Times of London without looking too much like a tourist. I even summoned the courage to order a sandwich in a New York deli where you have to make up your mind in a New York minute just exactly what you’re having lest you get overrun by the waiting customers in line behind you.
Once I’d settled into a routine of working and living as a New Yorker, I began to notice this was a place of thinking big. Otherwise, structures like the Empire State Building would never have been built here. I could see the spectacular skyscraper from my bedroom window—a towering reminder to lift my thoughts and raise my sites. And it worked. I did achieve big things while I lived in New York and that set the standard high for the rest of my life.
Now, when I come back for a visit, or, like this week, for a business venture, it still seems a daunting place at first. The pace is fast, the stakes are high, the expectation is that if you’re here, you’re ready to be here, and ready to prove it.
So this week, I’ll join the rest of America’s Publishing Industry at Book Expo America—the biggest trade show in the business. I’ll be meeting with my fantastic publishers, signing the Advance Reader Copies of my new book, connecting, sharing, listening, learning, always learning, from colleagues of all kinds. It’ll be huge, daunting and exhausting. It’ll be exhilirating, thrilling, inspiring. It’ll be an audition, a test, a proving ground. I’m excited. I’m ready. After all, “If I can make here, I’ll make it anywhere . . . it’s up to you, New York, New York!”
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