Though we are far from perfect in our relations with one another, I think New Yorkers, given our very diverse population, do pretty well at living together. For me, this is a real source of pride.
With intolerance prevailing in many parts of the world, you might even say that, by comparison, the city is a 320-square-mile haven of tolerance.
In New York, people from countries in conflict with neighboring countries live side by side in peace. Bosnians and Serbs and Albanians. Greeks and Turks. Indians and Pakistanis. Muslims and Jews. Protestants and Catholics.
National, tribal, religious, and racial antagonisms seem less important in a city of immense diversity.
We share the same streets and neighborhoods, crowd together in subway cars, relax in city parks, send our children to the same schools.
New Yorkers of all backgrounds share in the city's triumphs and in its tragedies.
At Pier 94, by the Hudson River, interpreters are present to help families of the World Trade Center victims. They converse with family members in Arabic, Hindi, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Korean, French, Chinese, Serbo-Croatian, Czech, German, and Polish.
In his Annual Message to Congress on Dec. 1, 1862, in the midst of Civil War, President Lincoln set forth his goal for the country: To be "the home of one national family."
New Yorkers are enthusiastic members of the national family envisioned by Lincoln. With ties extending to all countries of the world, we also feel very much a part of the global family.
How proud Walt Whitman would be of his immigrant city:
City of the world! (for all races are here,
All the lands of the earth make contributions here;)....