The Big Apple lured me from Cork

GARY Philpott moved to New York on April 19, 2011, at the age of 23.

“When I was 12, my family and I moved there and lived there for close to two years, before moving back home to Cork at the age of 14,” says Gary.

“Experiencing New York during those two years, I fell in love with the big city energy, the magic and the big lights.

“Our family moved back to Cork unexpectedly and even though I was super comfortable and happy to be home, I always dreamt of one day moving back by myself when I was old enough.

“Another factor in my decision to move was that I had graduated from college in 2008 during the height of the recession and a lot of friends and family were moving to Australia for work at that time.”

Gary was playing for Cork City FC and had just broken into the first team, while also working in a call centre to make money.

“Coincidentally, when Cork City FC went into liquidation in 2009, and my football career wasn’t going in the direction I had planned, I learned about a specific one year U.S visa for recent college graduates, so there was only one decision and place on my mind, and it was New York,” recalls Gary.

WHAT I LOVE ABOUT THE BIG APPLE

“The culture and the fast-paced lifestyle in New York is definitely a lot different than the smaller, closer-knit community aspect of Cork or Ireland,” says Gary.

“New York is this huge diverse melting pot of cultures and immigrants from every corner of the world. There’s eight million people living in this one city with hundreds of different languages that are spoken, which is exactly what fascinated me about it.

“I’ve learned and experienced so many new things about so many cultures, people’s backgrounds and upbringings, that has definitely opened my mind to so many things, which is what makes New York so special.

“Spending time with my kids and family, and playing or watching football definitely helps me unwind from the sometimes fast pace in New York.

A CHANGE IN CAREER

For the first eight years in New York, Gary had a career in finance, but during the pandemic, he reignited his love and passion for football. “I’m now coaching full time at two different youth academies while pursuing my professional coaching licenses and coaching education,” he said. “I also co-founded and run my own club, NY International FC, with a couple of my closest friends here, which has grown so much and has been a huge success over the last three years.

“I’ve also recently just joined and now play for semi-professional club Lansdowne Yonkers FC. They’re one of the most decorated and biggest teams in the US at that level and they have great Irish roots with great people which is a nice little taste of home for me.”

WHAT I MISS ABOUT CORK

“I definitely miss my friends and family back in Cork city, and the community and humour, and all the other small things, even something as simple as a a bag of crisps or a bottle of Lucozade that remind me of my home.

“There’s so many people here in New York and it’s so diverse and everyone is here to try and get ahead and make a better life for themselves, so I’d take the little bit of kindness and warmth and the time for people that Corkinians have. Oh, and I would love to bring some chippers to New York!

“Every time I come home the first thing I do is stop at the first shop and buy a load of the stuff I’ve missed over the years, or one of the food spots that I’ve been craving, but obviously spending time with my friends and family I’ve missed over the years is really important to me.”

HIGHLIGHTS OF MY TIME ABROAD

“There’s been so many memorable and incredible moments in my professional and personal life since I’ve lived in New York. I’ve met so many amazing people and done great things along the way over the last decade.

“But definitely watching my wife Andrea giving birth to my two children Ryder and Axel, and watching them grow, and parenting together through the years is by far the most memorable and beautiful moment for me.

“On November 9, I have my interview to become a US citizen which will be a major milestone and achievement for me in terms of what I’ve had to do and all the professional challenges and visas I’ve had to overcome to get to this point.

“Don’t worry, I will be a dual citizen and won’t be ever giving up or forgetting being Irish, and more importantly being from Cork.”

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