After arriving at Penn Station in NYC on the evening of Friday, August 15, 2014, after a cross-country journey from Portland, Oregon, Fulbright-MTP Participants spent the weekend in New York City.
In the words of Alyas Widita, a Fulbright Foreign Student from Indonesia:
The day was bright, the weather was nice — a beautiful day in New York greeted the Millennial Trains Project participants and staff the day after our 10-day train journey across the country arrived in New York City. It seemed like the momentum was just so perfect: MTP’s journey concluded with, what felt like, the most beautiful day in the year. Shimmering facades of New York’s skyscrapers as we approached the city further articulated the brightness and beauty of the day.
Ammar, fellow Fulbrighter from Yemen, suggested we visit the Statue of Liberty. At first, I was hesitant because I always thought that the statue was too touristy and we might have to spend half of our day in line waiting for the ferry. However, given the momentum I felt in having just completed a cross-country journey, complemented with the beauty of the day, I nodded to Ammar’s offer. Later, Lindsay Patross, MTP Community Director, and Silvia Tijo, fellow Fubrighter from Colombia, also said yes.
We went to the Statue by subway from Columbus Circle. The MTA subway line 1 conveniently connects the 59th St – Columbus Circle station to South Ferry station, the nearest station to the ferry terminal to the Statue of Liberty. As expected, by the time we approached the ferry departure points, the line was crowded with many people who had a similar thought as us: seize the beauty of the day and visit New York City’s landmark. However; as I had friends with me, waiting in line was not an issue. Plus, the location of the ferry terminal is surrounded with a gorgeous park, making the view of buildings behind clusters of trees and the atmosphere of the location a bit similar to my favorite place in the city, Bryant Park, adjacent to New York Public Library.
After about an hour and a half of waiting in line, we departed to the Statue of Liberty by ferry. As we turned our back to see the gorgeous arrangement of Manhattan skyline, I was amazed, again. I once joined a cruise tour with fellow Fulbrighters when I had the chance to participate in a Fulbright Pre-Academic program at St. John’s University, Manhattan Campus, in July 2013. I thought having the experience to witness Manhattan skyline from the cruise would not provide me with an awe again; however, I was definitely and entirely wrong. It was a joy to see the impulse of the big city from a distance.
As the ferry approached the Statue of Liberty and circled the island, the view of the statue was equally amazing as the Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Jersey City skyline. I felt the timeless grandeur of the statue and engineering achievement it proved during its time. A bit of a trivia, from my trip to NYC before I flew to Portland to board MTP, I have used every possible major transportation modes during this journey: train, plane, minivan, bicycle, and ferry.
After the Statue of Liberty trip, the highlighted event that marked the end of MTP’s on-train journey was held at WeWork, 222 Broadway St. At the event, I had the chance to meet with last year’s MTP participants. As I talked with them, I recognized that MTP’s journey really does provide lasting impacts that echo what Patrick Dowd, the Founder and CEO of Millennial Train (and Fulbright alum), said later in the morning during a joyous concluding breakfast: MTP will change the way we think, the way we speak, and the way we act. I will nurture these positive impacts and be part of Millennials’ drive to then change the world.