Asking New Yorkers for a farewell message for Oprah Winfrey opens a geyser of gratitude. They wanted to thank their media queen for exposing societal injustices, helping us to understand each other better and making the world a better place. Most people scoffed at the idea of giving advice to one of the world’s richest women, but eagerly shared their appreciation, and, selectively, what they might like as a final parting gift if they were lucky enough to be in her last audience.
Sleep in late! Get married and have some kids! You need to continue your legacy. If you’re giving away gifts, you could pay for my college!
— Sade Reed, 18, Harlem, communications student at Adelphi University
Thank you for setting the stage for Barack Obama in South Carolina. Thank you for introducing a new generation to reading and for putting Toni Morrison on the map for America. Keep developing story lines and producing movies! James Baldwin’s “Go Tell It on the Mountain” would be a great start. Now that you’re off the air, you can eat that French bread you’ve always wanted.
— Charmaine Rossman, “40ish,” Williamsburg, social services supervisor
You can handle and do anything: You taught me that we never get more than we can handle and no matter how difficult things are, there’s always a solution – even if it’s not the solution we chose. You’ve always been generous and don’t have to give me anything. If you can’t give me better health, just donate some money to an animal fund.
— Georgette Soto, 54, Hell’s Kitchen, retired ticket taker.
You’ll succeed in whatever you try. Best of luck! You deserve it: You really raised the bar for all talk show hosts and tackled a lot of difficult situations, teaching people to grow past their trauma. As African-Americans, we really needed your face. You’re five seconds away from canonization, so just lay back and reap your benefits! I would love one of those General Motors cars. Heck, I got a car – send me to Australia instead to do a walkabout!
— Bill Arrington, 58, Laurelton, Queens, contract analyst