A Very Unusual Fundraiser Update
$17,500 raised in the first week // one principal material update
Maximum New York raised $17,500 in the first week of its $150k fundraiser, and I couldn’t be more pleased with the well wishes, good spirit, and literal putting-of-money-where-ones-mouth-is than I am right now. People have an appetite for civic entrepreneurialism, and I’m confident it will only grow.
And now, some other news that is important for everyone involved with, and watching, Maximum New York: this week I was formally diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma, and I will begin chemotherapy shortly. The prognosis is good; I expect to be cured.
This is jarring, I know. There is no elegant way to announce a cancer diagnosis, but there is a New York way: getting straight to the heart of it, and then getting on with it!
So where do we go from here?
For the most part, where we were already going. Maximum New York continues, the fundraiser continues, writing and research continues, and even events continue. The only change that I am making in anticipation of my coming course of treatment is that, unfortunately, I will not be teaching cohort 8 of The Foundations of New York this fall1—but I will be teaching it in early 2024!
I hesitated briefly before deciding to break this news on the MNY Substack, rather than more personal channels. In the first instance, I didn’t want everyone to think I was dying; I am not! You can safely count on me and MNY for the future. But as a still early-stage venture, MNY is not yet separate from me. And because, as I continue to go about my work in the coming months, it is easier for everyone involved if they know. Especially since I will be wearing a beanie consistently for the first time in my life, which, if you know me, is quite the departure from my normal style.
Moments like these are clarifying. Even the psychologically strongest of us cannot avoid the mammalian flinch against mortality, and often people realize that they have not been living their life the way they would like.
This is no such moment for me.
In fact, I have received rare, visceral clarification of that which I already knew: I am doing exactly what I want to do, in service of values I cherish most, in my favorite place on Earth: New York City. If there are prayers to be said now, they are to its majesty:
[New York’s skyline] is to the nation what the white church spire is to the village—the visible symbol of aspiration and faith, the white plume saying that the way is up. — “Here is New York,” by E.B. White
I will not force myself beyond the line of appropriate exertion for the next few months, but prudence should permit most of my work to continue uninterrupted. My civic call to arms for all kind, smart, ambitious people remains clarion.
It’s quite possible that I would be able to teach it with no problems, but I am no fool. The probability of having to cancel too many classes, even just for precautionary reasons, means it is best to delay the class until early 2024. Students deserve the full MNY experience!