Here at Untapped Cities, we have strong ties to both New York City and Paris. As the founder of Untapped Cities, I was born in New York but lived in Paris in 2010, and my husband Augustin Pasquet, who manages partnerships and advertising for Untapped Cities, moved to New York City from Paris in 2012. Many of our contributors live in Paris and for many years we ran a subsite, Untapped Paris as well. This year, part of our team spent all of April and May living and working in Paris, and a large portion of August.
There is a kinship between New York City and Paris – so different physically, even culturally, but similar in spirit. When I was married, I thought long and hard about whether to change my last name. In the end, I kept both, and I’m glad because today I also feel French. It is with sadness that I see what people are willing to do to the places that so many call home, places that have such rich history and culture, whether New York City or Paris, or elsewhere. But we cannot succumb to fear. Cities like New York City and Paris must continue to be melting pots, to welcome the world to its doorsteps and to invite them in – porte ouverte.
In Paris, after 9/11 a large American flag was unfolded on the terrace of Trocadero in front of the Eiffel Tower, and Paris marked the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 with a temporary memorial that looked like the original World Trade Center towers upon which were printed the words “The French Will Never Forget.”
Tonight, One World Trade Center pays tribute, lit with the colors of the French flag. The Empire State Building went dark (as opposed to the photos spread on social media showing the colors of France). Madison Square Garden observed a minute of silence before tonight’s game between the Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers and an impromptu gathering “New York is Paris” is taking place in Union Square. [Update, on Saturday the Washington Square Park arch was lit with the colors of France and the French flag. The George Washington Bridge lit up as it is only on holidays and significant events. Grand Central Terminal‘s tower was lit up as well].
Today we learned that friends we have worked with were just three minutes away from one of the shootings in Paris, heard the gunshots and were trapped in their office. Our thoughts and wishes are with Paris tonight, and with the French community both here in New York City and abroad.
[Update: While we have been fortunate not to lose anybody in our direct community, one degree away there have been startling numbers].