New York City, September 2023


The City That Never Sleeps always has something happening. September is no exception. The first two weeks of the month provided a myriad of high-profile events in sports, entertainment, and fashion.

Let’s start with sports, and specifically tennis. The last Grand Slam tournament of the year, the US Open, was founded 142 years ago and has been hosted at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, New York, since 1978. It is one of the world’s most highly attended sporting events, with over 500,00 fans rushing to Flushing Meadows during the first week alone. When the final numbers are confirmed, the 2023 US Open will probably have surpassed the 2022 record attendance of 776,120.

The US Open was notably the first of the four Grand Slams to offer equal prize money to men and women competitors. This year, it is celebrating 50 years since it began offering equal pay. The 2023 Open prize money totals $65 million, representing an all-time high for the tournament. Both singles champions Coco Gauff and Novak Djokovic were no doubt overjoyed to win this prestigious tournament, the first Grand Slam singles title for Gauff and a record-breaking 24th for Djokovic. Adding to this joy will be the $3 million winner’s check for each of them, which is 15% higher than the prize for last year’s winners.

Supporting the substantial prize money are long-standing partnerships with brands such as JP Morgan, Rolex, American Express, and Grey Goose. One sponsor that stood out this year was IBM. USTA asked IBM to use its AI technology solution to provide spoken commentary for all the video highlights produced for every singles match played. For context, there are hundreds of matches played throughout the two weeks of the tournament, all spread across 22 different courts. Most of these matches are not broadcast on TV, so they do not have any commentary. The US Open’s use of AI is available on IBM’s website:

For fashion fanatics, New York Fashion Week takes place this month across Manhattan. A variety of runways, showrooms, parties, and talks will be scattered across the city. These events will provide leading fashion designers from all over the world with a platform to showcase their newest collections. The semi-annual series is one of the four major global fashion weeks and was the world’s first organized fashion week. The event was founded back in 1943 by Eleanor Lambert. Some events are by invitation only, but about 230,000 attendees are expected across 500 shows.

Amid these exciting events, which confirm the vivacious and dynamic nature of NYC, comes today’s sobering anniversary of the deeply tragic events that took place 22 years ago. NYC in September may be a very exciting time to visit the city, but it also reminds us that nothing is more precious and important than life itself.

Nirvanna Silva