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On 9/11, Time Out NY's editors share why New York is the greatest city in the world

Written by
Sophie Harris

Today is a day of such significance and resonance for New Yorkers. It's now 13 years since the September 11 attacks, and each year we're able to pay our respects at memorial events in the city, like the Tribute in Light, and the Table of Silence Project. It can also be a time to recognize the kindness, generosity and resilience of New Yorkers. Time Out NY is so honored to be part of this city, and in that spirit, our editors share stories of times New York has inspired them; the everyday things that make New York City so wonderful. We'd love to hear your stories, too, so please go ahead and join us in the comments section.

RECOMMENDED: See more on on the 9/11 Memorial and Museum

New York, we love you

"I was recently moved by a small scene on the 1 train. There was a down-and-out guy sitting across from me, miserably picking through some bits of fried chicken in a styrofoam container. He was pretty dirty and muttering to himself, seemed unhappy and a bit unhinged. A woman got on at an Upper West Side stop (middle-class Columbia professor type) and sat next to him. She took out a homemade sandwich and started to eat it while he stared longingly. Rather than being repelled, she asked if he wanted some. He said yes and cracked a grin when she offered him half of it. They proceeded to eat amiably together, making remarks about the sandwich (hummus on wholewheat) and giggling. I think he was more grateful for the human connection—someone treating him as a fellow New Yorker rather than scum—than the offered food. It was really heartwarming. I really admired that woman and was a bit ashamed of my own neurotic stand-offishness."—Lisa

"This could only happen in New York: In 2007 I was at the now-shuttered Suede for my sister's bachelorette party. Amid revelry, shot-taking, and posing for pictures in front of an actual camera (not a camera phone), someone uttered, "Prince is here." I turned around and watched in awe as he danced by himself to every song the DJ played, in an alcove guarded by security while his then girlfriend lounged on couch beside him. It was one of the greatest things I've ever seen. And I swear he was wearing purple pants."—Leah

"My cousin lost his wallet while skateboarding. It had $2k worth of paychecks and a bit of cash, and he thought it was gone forever. Recently, he got an unmarked envelope in the mail with his wallet (and everything in it, totally untouched) with no note or return address. Thought it was cool that someone did him a favor with no expectation of anything in return."—Allie

"One Easter, I was on the subway at 6:30am on my way to visit my family. There were a whole bunch of old ladies in church hats on the train, on their way to whatever Easter things they were doing, and there was a probably-homeless guy with a big laundry cart full of all sorts of things. When he went to get out, his cart got stuck in the rut between the train and the platform, and he ended up holding the train up why he tried to dislodge it. Eventually, a cop came over and started yelling at him, and the guy started panicking, and still couldn’t move the thing, so the cop kicked it, and the stuff spilled everywhere. IMMEDIATELY, all the old ladies, practically in unison, started yelling at the cop, "How could you do that to someone!" and "You should be ashamed of yourself, young man!" and stuff like that. The cop apologized right away to the guy, and held the subway door open and kept apologizing while he collected all his stuff off the floor of the station and the train. Never underestimate the power of grandma guilt, even on the NYPD."—Ethan

"Last winter when I was heading home for the holidays, I decided to take the subway with my luggage—including a large suitcase and my snowboard—to the Bolt bus which leaves from the Penn Station area. When I was attempting to go down the second flight of stairs at the subway station near my home in Brooklyn, a man stopped to help me carry my things down to the train platform. We silently took the train together into Manhattan, and he surprised me by getting off at my transfer and offering again to help me take my things to my next train. I still do not know if we were going to the same area by coincidence or not, but he got on my second train with me and then got off at Penn Station and helped take my things up to the sidewalk. I was so grateful and shocked by the kindness of a complete stranger."—Tazi

"I was on the subway one time and this frat-looking guy was being a complete drunken buffoon. It was only about 6:30pm and he was so hammered he could barely speak, but that didn't stop him from slurring at everyone and confusedly drooling all over the poor woman sitting next to him. In short, everyone in that car just wanted the guy to leave. But when his stop came, he was too smashed to exit the train properly and fell half in and half out of the car, with one of his legs dangling between the train and the tracks. No one paused for a second – they all just ran (myself included) immediately to the door to help haul him to safety, everyone cooperating with each other even though literally the only thing we had in common was that we all hated this dude. When we'd finally got him to safety (on the other side of the door, thankfully), everyone sat back in their seats and just grinned at each other. Sure, the guy was a pain in the ass, but no one had thought twice about putting themselves in danger to help him. New Yorkers look after their own…even the dicks."—Nick

"My aunt was shopping at the Max Mara store on West Broadway, happily perusing a pair of boots that were very much on sale. The style name, she noticed, was 'Ladino.' My family's Sephardic, and Ladino is the (now practically, sadly, extinct) language of the Sephardic Jews. 'Look at that! It's called Ladino!' she said aloud to my uncle. A woman shopping nearby overheard and came over. 'I'm sorry, she said, did you say something about Ladino?' She and my aunt got to talking, and it turned out she was also Sephardic, from the same part of the Bronx that my family was from. More talk revealed that my aunt's mother (my grandmother) and this woman's mom were close friends—bridesmaids in each other's weddings, in fact. That kind of small-town coincidence shouldn't happen in New York but does all the time. My mom, aunt and this woman ended up going out to lunch together and reminiscing about the good old days in the Bronx."—Carla

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