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So began my Dec. 15, 2010, column, which I penned a few months prior to the publication date. We were en route to New York City because, quite frankly, I think New York City is one of the most spectacular places on the planet come autumn. I think the same thing in winter. And during the other two seasons. I’m not alone, mind you. In 2012, a record-setting 52 million people from all over the world visited New York City regardless of (or in many cases, because of) the season. That was an increase of more than 2 percent from the year before. The Big Apple is on target to beat that number in 2013.
“New York City around the holidays is, bar none, the most magical place on the planet,” I wrote in that same 2010 issue. “The sky’s a romantic blue-gray, which accents the warm glow of the yellow streetlights and the decorated storefronts. Blankets of snow make Central Park look celestial, and the folks strolling the avenues in their trendy winter fashions make winter’s cold look cool. This is all a part of my daughters’ — and my own — education. New York City in the winter is an intellectual and cultural experience unlike any other they’ll receive in school; in any school, anywhere in the world. And I know this for a fact; I’ve been around.”
The staff of American Way shares this sentiment. Some of us are former New York residents, all of us are frequent visitors, and none of us could resist the opportunity to theme the Dec. 15, 2013, issue after one of the most magnanimous places on the planet. We tapped some of our best writers and photographers to cover NYC in a fresh and rewarding way. Frequent contributor Michael Ventre introduces us to the man responsible for those stimulating and storied Macy’s holiday-window displays. Joe Lapointe, a former sportswriter for The New York Times, takes a look at the stadium boom in New York, highlighted by Super Bowl XLVIII at MetLife Stadium, the first Super Bowl to be held at an outdoor stadium in a cold-weather area. New York–based Mike Dunphy shows visitors and residents alike that there’s much more to New York City than Manhattan. And how does a balloon artist living in NYC ply his trade? Writer Marygrace Taylor puts some air in that story.
Yet the most interesting — and, presumably, controversial — article in this issue is our cover story on outgoing New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. It’s admittedly a bit of a departure for this magazine to feature a politico on the cover, even one who’s a registered Independent. In fact, as I’ve been told, we’ve published only two politically affiliated covers in recent decades, and they both appeared within a month of each other. Bill Maher was the cover model for the Aug. 15, 2004, issue, followed by Bill O’Reilly a month later. Both covers received so many strongly worded letters from the left and the right (can you guess which side wrote in for which subject?) that the editorial staff at that time decided that perhaps we should steer clear of politics; as an airline, we literally bring people together, and we certainly don’t want to create more divisiveness.
But the reason we are doing so now is pretty simple: In short, New York is one of the most important travel markets in the world and a critical part of our business as a global airline. What happens in New York is of great interest to our customers. And arguably, nobody has more greatly influenced the evolution of New York City over the past decade than Mayor Michael Bloomberg, resulting in many triumphs and much progress but also controversy. And now he is leaving office. So, we have chosen to write about him. American Way contributor Ethan Rouen, a grizzled former New York Daily News crime reporter, spent some time with the mayor and shows you the mentality of the man and the legacy he hopes to leave behind. Rouen dutifully explores the points of view of fans and detractors alike, thereby making this a balanced report.
“Perhaps the only sight prettier than New York City in the winter is New York City in the winter by air,” I concluded in that Dec. 15, 2010, issue, going on, as I did, to plug our cover story on New York written by Donald Trump himself (before he had overtly political aspirations). “A fresh snowfall takes the anxiety of encountering all that concrete and steel out of the Big Apple.” I adhere to my maxim on Dec. 15, 2013, and I sincerely hope you enjoy the first New York-focused issue of American Way.