” Look at this crowd which the houses of an immense city barely manage to host; most of them are people who live far from their homeland. Some of them have been driven by ambition, others by the obligations of a public function, others by an ambassadorship, others by the luxurious quest for a suitable place because it is full of vices, others by the desire for liberal studies, others by the spectacles. Some have been attracted by friendship. others by their desire to find a space whereupon to express their capacities. Some have come to put their beauty on sale, other their eloquence. Every sort of individual has rushed to this city that pays for vices and virtues at a high price. Call them, and ask each one: ” Where do you come from?” You will see that most have abandoned their fatherland to come to Rome, the biggest and the most beautiful city of the world, which however is not theirs”. Seneca magnificently captures the enchantments of Rome caput mundi. Rome is like a great bazaar of existential opportunities: pleasures, work, business, precious friendships, everything that a needs, curious and enterprising humanity can desire, Rome can offer….Many were slaves or ex-slaves who obtained their citizenship. The ethnic mix determined a multicultural environment in which religion was the most important and most visible element. The travelers, the migrants, the uprooted brought with them their gods, and the whole city was dotted with new cults.
This text is one of many in the Roman forum exhibition, Rome caput mundi. Just replace Rome with New York in the text and you shifted 2000 years in time in a perfect match.