Just returned from a whirlwind visit to New York. City, that is. My key purpose was to participate in the third quarter meetings for the Universal Accreditation Board, the body that oversees the Accreditation in Public Relations (APR) accreditation process.
Full disclosure: I am a UAB board member and am proud to say I earned the APR in 2004 under the current computer based exam process.
But back to New York. A lifelong Chicago guy, I’m used to big cities. But there’s something about New York that fascinates and intrigues me each time I visit.
It’s the juxtaposition of old and new and very rich and very poor, the always frantic pace of everyone and seemingly everything (especially taxis), the great cheap food sold on the streets, the views from Battery Park, the subways, the earthy smells, the polyglot of people, the enormity of it all. Yes, the city can be menacing to some. But I walked the urban canyons Downtown and felt a sense of, believe it or not, tranquility.
Earlier today, the President spoke at Federal Hall, just steps from the hotel I stayed at on William Street, steps from Wall (the street). On the narrow and crooked thoroughfares, barricades were put up and the presence of authority was everywhere. The President scolded Wall Street for the mess it created though its greed and told the bankers that taxpayers would not bail them out again. Later, he, well went to lunch. Just so happens he lunch date was Bill Clinton, and they dined at Il Milano, one of the storied Italian restaurants in the city.
Some may bash the appearance as a “PR photo op,” all for the sake of cameras. But sound public relations is based on reaching long-range strategic goals. The Obama administration took advantage of the historic venue — the place where Washington took the oath of office — to drive home a message to Wall Street. It was a strategic decision. As for the restaurant choice, that probably did more to add to the mystique of an already famous restaurant. I’m sure the food is good.
And, it all happened today in New York. Tomorrow, the corner of William and Wall will return to the bankers and foreign tourists who are just as fascinated as me about this place rarely sleeps and never ceases to amaze.