We all know that New York has a very diverse population. This fact becomes a reality when one walks down Fifth Avenue for several blocks and overhears bits of conversation – none of which are in English. We are definitely an exciting, cosmopolitan city.
Grand Central Station, New York City
Viewing this from a different perspective, let’s take a look at the parades that occur in Manhattan.
On Madison Avenue this past summer I observed a colorful Indian Parade (not to be confused with West Indian) – two weeks after that there was a Pakastani one. There are also a number of parades that come around yearly: everything from the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the Irish, to the Puerto Rican one for Latinos and the Columbus Day Parade celebrating the Italians.
New Yorkers love to stroll in Madison Square Park
The exhilarating mix of cultures we have in this city was brought home to me when I took note of the mix of people in the international ad agency where I work. Among others, there’s a graphic artist from the Dominican Republic and another from Mexico; four account executives from France and India; two interns from Hong Kong and four American copywriters from all over the United States.
This petri dish of cultures gives one insight into how the other half lives and, more important, a tolerance for different eating habits, styles of living and holiday celebrations. The head of my agency makes a point of observing the major events in these different countries. For example, we celebrate Bastille Day for the French, Diwali (the Indian Christmas), the Mexican Cinco de Mayo and so on.
Cinco de Mayo parade in New York City
This always leads to eating food from different cultures. For example, recently we ordered lunch from a local Indian restaurant that we ate sans knives, forks and spoons (not as difficult as it sounds). And we sampled La Galette des Rois (a round cake with a hidden charm inside) that is a French delicacy at Christmas.
Indian cuisine – an assortment of spices
What we can learn
The amazing thing about working cheek by jowl with people from different cultures is that everyone can work very well together. The common goal is the work itself. If a project has a deadline that has to be met and the client expects it at a certain date and time – everything else is secondary. This approach results in a unified environment where solutions to creative projects can be worked on with success.
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