IF YOU WERE MAYOR… Socratic Conversation with Ron Gross – May 11 (NOTE – NEW LOCATION)

Please join us to celebrate our premier session at our new location!  


Socratic Conversation with Ron Gross

Monday, May 11, 6:00 – 7:45 pm


Conversations New York (CNY) Team Meeting

8:00 – 9:30 PM

RSVP to GrossAssoc@AOL.com 

and   http://www.meetup.com/Conversations-New-York/events/222205825/


Adelphi University’s Manhattan Center

75 Varick Street — Room 260-261 on the Second Floor
(75 Varick is between Watts and Grand Streets)

Subways: #1 to Canal, or  A, C. or E to Canal, exit next to the building.
J, N, Q, R, W, Z or #6 to Canal, are about 5 blocks southeast at Broadway and Canal.

Bus: M20 stops at the front door.

Note: This Center is state-of-the-art,
and excellent take-out food can be purchased at The Mill (www.TheMilltoGo.com) which is part of the same building,

and brought to the meeting.


  • What are your ideas for helping all of us New Yorkers to live together more happily, healthfully, safely, and enjoyably?
  • What bugs you about  the City, that you think could be improved?
  • What do you like about other cities you know, that could make New York better?
  • What changes would you like to see in  our cultural activities, streets, parks, schools and colleges, healthcare, local businesses, housing, environment, law enforcement, rules, regulations,  and priorities for spending public funds?

Let’s advance our ideas for improving our city,  in the run-up to the international Ideas City Festival at the New Museum and throughout the Bowery on  May 28-30 (www.ideas-city.org).  “If You  Were Mayor…” is a month-long, city-wide array of conversations which will complement the Idea City Festival’s wondrous offerings of ideas from throughout the world, with ideas from New Yorkers themselves.  We’re inspired by Mayor DeBlasio’s words:

‘If you give people a chance to offer their ideas,

                                     you’ll find an extraordinary number of New Yorkers

                                     who have positive, productive ideas.’”

Suggested Readings (optional):  If Mayors Ruled the World, by Benjamin Barber; Happy City by Charles Montgomery;Who’s Your City?  by Richard Florida; Urban Acupuncture: Celebrating Pinpricks of Change that Enrich City Life, by Jaime Lerner.

Conversations New York  (starts at 8:00 PM)


Our exciting Action Agenda will be  highlighted by:

  • planning for our 2nd Annual CONVERSATION DAY in Bryant Park on Sat., July 18thin collaboration with our trans-Atlantic partner Talk to Me London;
  • launching our Conversation-Friendly Restaurants Project to recognize eateries where we can hear each other talk;
  • considering  a Fall symposium on “Reclaiming Conversation” with Sherry Turkel of MIT;
  • impelling new city-wide/month-long gatherings on provocative topics in June and July;
  • expanding our website and presence on the Internet; and
  • honoring outstanding contributors with our prestigious Plato Awards (“…and this month’s award goes to….”)

SHARING OUR SPIRITUALITY: Conversations Throughout NYC in April


Conversations Throughout NYC in April


SPIRITUALITY will be the subject of conversations throughout New York City

during the month of April, as many of us observe Easter and Passover, in a

project sponsored by Conversations New York (CNY) and listed on its calendar at

http://www.conversationsnewyork.com and Meetup.com http://www.meetup.com/Conversations-New-York/ .


“Lively-minded New Yorkers will gather to share their ideas, experiences, and feelings

about this compellinig subject,” says Ron Gross, founder of CNY, who conducts Socratic

Conversations at Columbia University. “Spirituality is one of the most powerful forces in

our lives. Some people contend that it’s too hot a topic for conversation. But we believe

that thinking about it together, in a spirit of mutual respect, can help us understand

ourselves and each other more deeply.”


Throughout the month, individuals, organizations and institutions will explore the subject

from diverse perspectives, ranging from the personal to the political, from the literary to the



Why not host such a conversation yourself – with whomever you like, wherever and

whenever you like — to explore SPIRITUALITY from your perspective. It’s a great way to

nurture rapport and understanding!

Among the topics to be discussed at these conversations will be:

What does spirituality mean, to you?

How do you appraise the impact of Spirituality on our society and culture?

Do you feel that religious convictions bring us together or pull us apart?

How have your spiritual principles and practices changed in the course of your life?

Could religious and spiritual leaders and institutions do more to build a better world?


Offerings will be listed on the CNY calendar at http://www.conversationsnewyork.com. They

will take place in a myriad of public venues, ranging from the Jung Society, the New York

Society for Ethical Culture, and Columbia University, as well as at warmly welcoming cafes

and restaurants, to the atriums of business buildings like CitiGroup, IBM, and SONY.


Suggested Basic Reading: An excellent article on Spirituality on Wikipedia includes

definitions, historical development, major traditions, contemporary schools, scientific

responses, and further readings.


Conversations New York (www.conversationsnewyork.com) is a community of

volunteers devoted to enhancing the quality of life in NYC by promoting more and better

conversations. CNY’s projects have included the first national conference on THE

POWER OF CONVERSATION at Columbia University, the first CONVERSATION DAY

in Bryant Park, and promoting 1,000 conversation per year on its on-line calendar.

You are warmly invited to two events at Columbia University – Mar 2 and Mar 5

You are warmly invited to two events at Columbia University:


Founding Director


Robert N. Butler Columbia Aging Center

Robert N. Butler Professor, Mailman School of Public Health

Monday, March 2, 2015, 7-9 PM

Gottesman Libraries, Teachers College

525 West 120th Street, Room 305, Russell Hall

RSVP to grossassoc@aol.com and to CNY Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Conversations-New-York/events/220860597/

Please bring a photo ID for admittance to the building.

Ursula M. Staudinger is one of the pioneers in the empirical study of Wisdom, starting with work on the Berlin Wisdom Project at the Max Planck Institute in the 1980s.



WISDOM: What Does It Take to Become Wiser?

Socratic Conversation with Ron Gross

Thursday, March 5, 4:00-5:15 pm

Teachers College, Columbia University

Gottesman Library, Room 305 Russell

(Starbucks Coffee etc. available for purchase on your way to the Meeting Room if you wish.)

525 West 120th St.

Including Book Display

RSVP to grossassoc@aol.com and RSVP to CNY Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Conversations-New-York/events/220625509/

Please bring photo ID required for entrance to building.

Continuing our season theme of WISDOM, this session will extend our inquiries into the practical steps each of us can take to become wiser – informed by the presentation on this subject by Prof. Ursula Staudinger earlier in the week, on Monday, March 2, 7:00 pm.  What does it take to make wiser decisions in our personal and family relationships, our learning and professional lives, and our health and well-being?

Joys and Power of Conversation: CNY monthly meeting – Feb 16


How to Enjoy & Benefit from Talking Together

Socratic Conversation with Ron Gross and CNY Conversational Activists


Monday, February 16, 2015

6:00 PM to 9:00 PM


Bread & Butter

419 Park Avenue South, (Corner of 29th St and Park Ave), New York, NY (edit map)


Strictly limited seating.  Please RSVP to Ron Gross at grossassoc@aol.com 

and to CNY Meetup http://www.meetup.com/Conversations-New-York/events/220292106/  THANKS.


6:00 – 6:30 – Meet-and-Greet and Socializing.
6:30 sharp – 7:30 – Participatory Conversation on “The Joy and Power of Conversation”
7:30 – 7:45 – Break
7:45 – 8:30 — CNY Planning and Team-Building Monthly “Huddle”
8:30 – 9:00 — Skill-Sharing


Talking together in new ways can fill our lives with greater enjoyment, friendship, and learning. Please come to share YOUR experiences and insights – and join our thriving campaign to transform NYC through more and better conversations!


“Conversation is free – but it’s invaluable,” says Ron Gross, founder of Conversations New Yorkwhich last year held the first Conversation Day on 42nd Street, with partners in London, Paris, and Tokyo


Great talk deepens our humanity – and strengthens our communities. Gathering in a circle to make meaning, has empowered our species in every era and culture. We have never needed it more than today!


At this participatory event, you’ll learn how you can join the movement to turn away from our devices and towards each other – for delight, understanding, and social progress.


Ron Gross, founder of CNY, chairs the University Seminar on Innovation at Columbia University. His internationally best-selling books include The Lifelong Learner, Socrates’ WayPeak LearningIndividualism, and The New Professionals.

LOVE! Conversations Throughout NYC in February

LOVE! Conversations Throughout NYC in February

LOVE is the subject of conversations throughout NYC during the month of February, leading up to Valentine’s Day on Saturday the 14th and continuing throughout February, in a project sponsored by Conversations New York (CNY) and listed on its calendar at www.conversationsnewyork.com.

Lively-minded New Yorkers are gathering to share their ideas, experiences, and feelings,” says Ron Gross, founder of CNY, who conducts Socratic Conversations at Columbia University. “They are going deeper than the Hallmark hoopla and heart-shaped boxes of candy!”

Throughout the month, individuals, organizations and institutions are exploring the subject from diverse perspectives, ranging from the personal to the political, from the literary to the scientific.

Why not host one yourself – with whomever you like, wherever and whenever you like — to explore LOVE from your perspective. It’s a great way to nurture rapport and understanding!

Many of the Conversations are listed on the CNY calendar– including ones at the C.G. Jung Center on 2/3, at the NY Society for Ethical Culture on 2/4, at the Royalton Hotel on 2/7, at Panera Bread in Queens on 2/2, 2/9, and 2/11, at Senior Planet on 2/11, at Café Philo on 2/19, etc. On Valentine’s Day itself, Love will be discussed in the Times Square area amidst the hundreds of couples who will be there popping the question, getting married, or renewing their vows. Discussions of the CUNY TV series Love is being conducted at Whole Foods on Greenwich Street. Concluding the month’s events will be conversations on February 28th at the LGBT Expo at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center.

Conversations are taking place in a myriad of public venues, ranging from welcoming cafes and restaurants, to the atriums of business buildings like CitiGroup, IBM, and SONY.

Among the topics being discussed at these conversations are:

What does love mean, to you?

Is love different for men and for women, for gay and straight folks, and for others?

Does the meaning of love change as we get older?

What have you learned about loving wisely and well?

What the relationship between love and sexuality?

Is love “natural” – or is it “socially-constructed”?

How is love effected by its political, social, and economic environment?

Conversations New York (www.conversationsnewyork.com) is a community of volunteers which has promoted more and better conversations among New Yorkers by such activities as Conversation Day in Bryant Park last summer, and a national symposium on The Power of Conversation at Columbia University.

The “Talk-About” — a new opportunity for conversations for theater-going New Yorkers

The “Talk-About” — a new opportunity for conversations for theater-going New Yorkers

Here’s something you might want to try, to enhance an upcoming night at the theater: we call it the “Talk About”!

This new kind of New York Conversation “opened” Off-Broadway at the SOHO Theater recently.    After a performance of Ingenious Nature,* eight playgoers gethered to share their reactions to the provocative work over drinks downstairs in the theater’s bar.

“It was great fun to hear what other people saw in it,” said Julie Epstein.  Another participant, Frank Purcell, said: “I found it  fascinating and illuminating”.   “Everyone’s looking for love, or sex, occasionally even both,” said a third discussant.  “It was fascinating to hear about some ways that the science of evolutionary psychology can help us find either– or even both!”

Convenor Ron Gross of CNY explains that “the  ‘Talk-About’  is a new wrinkle on the ‘Talk-Backs‘  that have become a familiar feature of New York theater, especially Off-Broadway”. “Such a conversation  enhances the experience of a night at the theater, by enriching your own experience as you share it with others.  You get to  review  the show from other peoples’ perspectives.”

So how about trying it on YOUR next night at the theater?   You can announce it on our calendar like this sample listing which appeared on Feb. 1st:

Discuss ‘All’s the Rage’  (title of your conversation)

Will you be attending  the show “All’s the Rage”, playing at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater on Saturday evening, Feb. 2nd?  We’d love to share reactions afterwards.   If you’re interested in joining us for a brief conversation about  this provocative play, meet us in the lobby as it lets out and we’ll adjourn to a suitable venue  in the building  or on the same block.  One of us will be wearing a yellow beret.

Sue Salko and Ron Gross

OR: Just type up half-a-dozen invitations** and leave a blank space for the location;  get to the theater  half-an-hour early to scout out a bar, pizza place, or other convenient venue; then keep your eye peeled during intermission for audience members who look like they might be interested!

* Ingenious Nature was a theatrical mix-tape, written and performed by Baba Brinkman, the Canadian rap artist, writer, and creator of  The Rap Guide to Evolution (2011 Drama Desk Award Nominee).

** Suggested text: 

Dear Fellow Theater-Goer:

Would you like to talk about the show afterwards?  We’d love to share reactions!  We’ll meet after the show let’s out, at NAME & ADDRESS.   (These “Talk Abouts” are promoted by Conversations New York — http://www.conversationsnewyork.com.)

 (Signed)  YOUR NAME

What Phil O’Brien is Saying About Conversations New York!

Phil O’Brien, a distinguished entrepreneur, catalyst, and “connector” (www.philobrien.com) who is visiting New York to explore new projects,  joined our Steering Committee on January 4th and shared his characteristically high-spirited responses:

CNY Penn Meetup 5I recently had the pleasure of attending a planning session of a new group,  Conversations New York session, at Penn Station (in a table at the back of TGI Fridays). It was a diverse group (as would be expected from the melting pot of New York) – all committed to getting the art of conversation going in New York. They have a lovely statement that outlines their aims:-
Hundreds of New Yorkers coming together in small groups of neighbors
and fellow citizens to discuss topics of intensive interest…
Hosted at no cost and at convenient locations and times…
Aided by simple guiding principles…
Inspired by the city’s grand tradition of robust conversation…
Our vision is to inspire, organize, publicize, facilitate and celebrate
a renaissance of healthy dialogue in New York City.
At that small table were people dedicated to Socratic Learning, getting fellowship for seniors in the population through conversation, diversifying the conversations of blind people from just always talking about fund raising, simply getting people to “Talk to me”, encouraging the immigrant population of the Upper West Side to start conversations again in the Hungarian Pastry Shops and generally stop technology separating us.
I’m hoping that in my time in New York to help the group with its aims. They are already excellent catalysts for the conversations of New York. On their site – there is a calendar of monthly events, and they track the activities of over 50 groups creating conversations in New York. If you are in New York – please take a look at the calendar and join the conversation!
As I said in my last post “I’d like to help you explore through conversations with strangers your undiscovered genius, maybe add fire to your “mild rage” or give you a whole new perspective. I believe this could change you, the people you meet and maybe the world for better – and help us all rediscover our art!” These guys are doing a great job at this.
The group is truly committed to open, diverse conversations. Ron Gross, the inspiring Chairman of the group, expressed it well: “We work hard at making sure conversations are open to all – we know how easy it is for birds of a feather to flock together. We need different perspectives.”
Watch this space for more words and pictures on the Conversations of New York…
CNY Penn Meetup 2
CNY Penn Meetup 1
CNY Penn Meetup 4
CNY Penn Meetup 12
CNY Penn Meetup 13
CNY Penn Meetup 7