Niall O'Dowd: 30 years in America, for better or worse
By 1985 I had tired of the West Coast and moved to New York with the idea of starting Irish America magazine. This time we had $40,000 so there was no stopping me now.
The years since have been great to me, starting with Irish Voice, which I founded in 1987. The highlight of all was a March night in 1996 when President Bill Clinton came as our special guest to our Top 100 Irish Americans event at the Plaza Hotel.
Backstage with the President waiting to walk out on stage was an incredible moment, and one I will never forget. My mother was present which made it even more special for me.
The wall of sound that hit us when he walked out made me realize just for a split second what it must be like to be the most powerful man on earth.
There have been wonderful moments since too. The involvement in helping bring about the American role in Northern Ireland and the IRA ceasefire in 1994 are particular highlights.
It would never have been possible without the staff, readers and advertisers and supporters of my publications and now our Web site IrishCentral.com for helping make it all happen.
It seems like three years, not 30, since I first set foot here. I still wake every morning and thank my lucky stars I did.