Nothing "Is What It Is"

Question: Which will come first, the completion of the Second Avenue Subway or the next Mets World Series victory?

Christine Quinn:  Well I can’t actually answer that question honestly because my father is 84, and he remembers the day his mother sent him and his brother out of the apartment to go watch the men who were going to build them a new subway.  And he has claimed he is not going to die until he gets to ride the Second Avenue Subway.  So, I might, you know, I have a slightly skewed allegiance as it relates to the finishing of the Second Avenue Subway. 

Question: What idea has most inspired you?

Christine Quinn:  You know, when I was a kid, I read every biography in my school library about a political leader or a famous woman.  And the idea in all of those books were that you could change things was that, you know, everyone uses this phrase nowadays, “it is what it is.”  I hate that phrase.  Nothing "is what it is." Things can always change to what we want them to be and to be better.  And as a kid that’s the idea I got out of those books.  That people can change things and people can make situations that aren’t good, better.  And to me that is the only real idea that matters.

Question: Who is the greatest or most inspiring New Yorker of all time? 

Christine Quinn: Probably the greatest or most inspiring New Yorker of all time would be Franklin Delano Roosevelt.  His wife a close second.

Recorded on October 28, 2010
Interviewed by Andrew Dermont

Directed & Produced by Jonathan Fowler

Speaker Quinn is most inspired by the idea that individuals can make a difference.

A dark matter hurricane is crashing into Earth

Giving our solar system a "slap in the face"

Surprising Science
  • A stream of galactic debris is hurtling at us, pulling dark matter along with it
  • It's traveling so quickly it's been described as a hurricane of dark matter
  • Scientists are excited to set their particle detectors at the onslffaught
Keep reading Show less

Too much sleep results in cognitive decline, researchers find

We know the dangers of too little sleep. Now for the other side of the story.

Photo: Vladislav Muslakvo / Unsplash
Surprising Science
  • Western University researchers found that sleeping over eight hours per night results in cognitive decline.
  • Oversleepers suffer similar difficulties on certain cognitive tests as those who sleep under seven hours.
  • Not all the news is bad: One night of oversleeping results in a cognitive boost.
Keep reading Show less

California wildfires death toll climbs to 50

Firefighters in California are still struggling to contain several wildfires nearly one week after they broke out.

(Photo by Elijah Nouvelage/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Hundreds of people are still missing after three wildfires spread across Northern and Southern California last week.
  • 48 of the 50 deaths occurred after the Camp Fire blazed through the town of Paradise, north of Sacramento.
  • On Tuesday night, a fourth wildfire broke out, though it's mostly contained.
Keep reading Show less