'Sweet Spot' With Mike Sugerman: 'Conversations New York' Brings People Together Just To Talk

May 10, 2018 - 7:44 pm

NEW YORK (WCBS 880) -- If talk is cheap, one group in New York is rich.

Conversations New York is trying to get people to talk to each other in the midst of a divided America, about a variety of sensitive subjects.

As WCBS 880's Mike Sugerman reported, it comes at a time when it feels like conversations between people are scarce.

“People come to talk about whatever is on their mind,” said Ron Gross, who started the group six years ago.

The group gathers on a regular basis around the city.

On a recent night, there were half a dozen controversial topics – free speech, race and equity, immigration, guns and responsibility, partisan divide and tone, and sexual assault and power relationships – with people on all sides of the issues,

They were just talking – not arguing or quarreling, but talking.

“How do we look at ourselves, and then how do we celebrate the differences?” said a man at the table meant for discussing race and equity.

“The people who are killing people don’t know right from wrong”, heard at the guns and responsibility table.

“Climate is too complex to pinpoint,” said a man at the table labeled partisan divide.

Dozens of people were divided at tables labeled with the different topics.

“We tend to perhaps gravitate toward people who think the way we think.” Said Marsha Fox, one of the people who came to see what this thing was all about – and see if she heard anything new.

“Yes, there were different points of view,” she said.

President Donald Trump had some support among those who came to talk. People who wanted to regulate guns more were heard, as well as some who didn’t at all. And climate change? Some believed it is caused by humans, some did not.

Those were just some of the discussions.

“We want to give people an opportunity to have a conversation where everybody around the table is committed to listening first before pushing their point of view,” said founder Gross.

And in 2018, even that is just worth talking about. ​