New York’s Gift to the World #2: Courage

In Casablanca, a Nazi villian tests Humphrey Bogart’s neutrality by asking how he’d feel if the Germans entered New York. Unruffled, Bogie retorts, “There are certain parts of New York I’d advise you not to enter.” This line always gets enthusiastic cheers from New Yorkers. At the old Thalia, Upper West Side eggheads would whoop like street thugs. “In yo face, Major Strasser!”

New York has courage. We have to, because we live in a terrorist’s bullseye. In other cities, PTA meetings are about reading scores; here they’re often about evacuation plans. The CDC monitors New York drugstore sales of flu and diarrhea medicine, because a spike in those symptoms could be signs of a biological attack. Our water supply is tested regularly for poison. And yet we go on with everyday life, because to do otherwise is to let the terrorists win.

Not everybody appreciates this. Red Staters call us unpatriotic for being liberal. But our courage and our defiance in the face of danger are a true contribution to America and the world.

Every day, our thoughts turn at least once to the gaping hole at Ground Zero. But here in New York, we only use the word “crater” as a noun. “Crater” as a verb? Not in our vocabulary.

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