New York

One extraordinary experience that was part of the World Tour was that each time a governmental or official national entity failed to understand or underestimated the importance of the N7W campaign, miraculously, individuals stepped up and gave us whatever they where able to contribute in a most philanthropic way! So did Living Liberty, Jennifer Stewart, the performance artist who portrays the Statue of Liberty. She donated her full day to the N7W event, starting at 7 am in the freezing cold outside for a television segment—wearing basically just the thin draped cloth that dresses the real Statue! She was not only perfectly made up as a living Statue of Liberty, but also lives the spirit of that monument in an extraordinary way, especially with children. Circle Line, which runs the ferry boats to Liberty Island, also generously waived the fares for the children and the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Battery Park offered their ballroom for the N7W press conference for free. Also, I have to mention that never before in 35 years of travelling to the USA was I welcomed by immigration and customs officers in such a friendly way. The people in the subway or on the streets in NY are exceptionally friendly and helpful (I also pleasantly appreciated that the fake and meaningless saying of “how are you” in elevators in NY has gone. A sign that the first contact between people has become more sincere and honest).

However, the overall impression after returning to the Northern-Western world was like a welcome back to the greedy part of the world, where rich people stockpile millions in their bank accounts and investments funds, but don’t have a dime to spare! After a Latin American tour, where the New7Wonders team was welcomed with overwhelming generosity, we had to pay for the coffee we served the media in the U.S. and for the transportation and lunches for the children attending our press conference. Nothing goes without money in the cynical North-Western world.

Not only the mentality was a big contrast, but also the temperatures changed from 37°C in Yucatan/Mexico to -27°C (including the wind chill) in New York. It was a tremendous change, a difference of 64°C!

During our event day, Wednesday, March 7, it snowed right from dawn throughout the whole day – with an hour break at noon, just enough to give the children and our airship the crucial opportunity to go out and perform! The enthusiastic kids, from Perth Amboy and Brooklyn, wrote a big VOTE (wearing bright red and blue caps) in the snow in front of the Statue of Liberty as our majestic New7Wonders airship, or blimp as it is called in the USA, was circling the torch of Lady Liberty. All helicopters and civil airplanes remained grounded as John F. Kennedy tower granted us a special flying permit. Again, an extraordinary sign of trust and goodwill from the US authorities. On this occasion, I would like to thank also our American co-pilot, Nick Mazzocchi, who managed the numerous permits and communications with the various radar and tower controls in an exemplary way.

I might well say that this airship flight was not a wonder, it was a miracle!

In many ways, our experience, in terms of human relations, celebrated what Americans are known for in the best of ways: friendly, relaxed and enthusiastic. As was Cynthia Garrett, the very charming Superintendent of the Statue of Liberty Monument of the U.S. National Park Service, as she celebrated the official “NEW 7 WONDERS OF THE WORLD DAY” with us as officially proclaimed by Michael Bloomberg, Mayor of the City of New York.