In 2006 the Nijkerk-Schenectady Counsel has invited a group of Nijkerkers to our sister city in the state of New York for a 10-day visit. So in 2006 30 Nijkerkers crossed the Atlantic Ocean.
During the visit in Schenectady they stayed with the host families. In this way it has been possible to get to know in a very special and direct way the life and habits of the Americans. In September, it’s time of the “Indian Summer”, where the trees in this wooded area show beautiful colours. Of course also excursions in the surroundings were made. The journey was started with a 3-day visit to the Big Apple, New York City.
Nijkerkers who have made this journey invariably came back with enthusiastic stories. Below is such a story.
Request for travellers to Schenectady
A small message in the newspaper.
Our reaction was: Do it!
After several meetings on how, what and where we were at Schiphol, heading for the USA
After a good journey we landed on Newark, west of New York. Here our leaders Peter de Vries and Jan van de Kuinder brought us to our hotel in a small bus, hostel Pynsylvania. This hotel was located in the heart of The Big Apple, under the shadow of the Empire State Building.
In New York City, we stayed for five days to visit this city. Sometimes with the group, sometimes individually.
A great city where a lot was to be seen and to be experienced. We had to make a choice from several places that could be visited. Including the area of the former World Trade Centre, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Central Park, Chinatown, Little Italy etc, etc.
|Departure from Schiphol||New York Impression|
The big city surprised us, with its tall buildings, the extremely busy traffic, more than 75% of the cars are yellow taxis, all was very crowded. The big differences between rich and poor. The mighty nice and quiet Central Park, the green heart in the middle of the bustling metropolis. A place where you can relax, after all the impressions of this city. It is so emotional to be on the site of the former WTC, the fire station with next to it the memorial of 343 victims.
Strolling in the vicinity of the WTC we met our mayor, Bartele Vries and his wife. It is a small world , even in New York City.
The view from the top of the Empire State Building. The boat trip to the Statue of Liberty. Chinatown, you imagine that you are in the mysterious Far East. There is much more to be seen.
The last evening in New York we all ate at a Chinese restaurant. Of course in Chinatown.
A whole experience, especially the trip. We went through Little Italy and there was a real Italian party going on in several streets. Her was this statue of an Italian saint, who, given money could perform miracles.
After five days New York, we went by train to Schenectady. We were lucky. The station was across the street . We could walk to the station. The train journey from New York to Schenectady took about 3 hours. In itself an experience.
A quite heavy conductor (a Nutty Professor type), warned everyone when it was time to leave the train! He knew this by looking on the cards, on which he had written a code. Those cards/tickets were placed above your seat.
Crossing through a beautiful landscape, divided into lakes, rivers, forests, villages and cities we reached Schenectady and we were met by some members of the American Schenectady Nijkerk Committee. A very warm reception. They surprised us with welcome boards. This was a very exceptional welcome because those were people you had never met before, and each welcomed the other as a good friend. This gave a very good feeling, a feeling that you were more than welcome.
The visit to Schenectady was a chain of events.
Such as visits to the City Hall of Schenectady and his Kennedy-like mayor, a cemetery with many Dutch names on the tombstones and a visit to the City Mission.(Home for the homeless and socially disadvantaged) Similarly visits to Moroni House (a large posh hotel) in the Shawangunk Mountains.
|This is New York||Schenectady, City Hall|
The next day in Albany, the capital of the State of New York, we visited the Capitol and made a Duck Tour (sort of car and ship) on the Hudson River. The highlight was a visit to the Half Moon (a rebuild of the original ship). In the Albany Pump House we enjoyed lunch, offered by The Holland Society of New York.
On the program there was a visit by bus to the Berkshires. We visited the Chesterwood (workshop of the sculptor of the Lincoln Statue), the Norman Rockwell Museum (the American Anton Piek, a well know Dutch painter) and Stockbridge.
We also had a bus ride to Lake Placid (Winter Olympics) in the Adirondack (a nature reserve as big as half the Netherlands) and went by cable way to the summit of Whiteface Mountain. The summit did honour his name because it was freezing cold! It became foggy and the temperature dropped to a few degrees above zero and in no time we were through!
In Schenectady the Annual Stockade Walk was organized. For everybody, not only for.
Coaches with horses and people in clothing of that period showed us how a few hundred years ago the streets looked like.
Between these events there were several BBQ’s, organised by the members of the American Schenectady Group. Overwhelming.
Such as a BBQ in “an old shed and square dancing.”
Our hosts had shown us the environment and various times we were invited to have dinner with them. We even have been with a Canadian canoe on the Mohawk River.
One evening our host family had invited three couples, friends of them. It was a wonderful evening, where we spoke of the differences between the USA and the Netherlands and discussed many other topics, including education, police and politics.
They gave us an unforgettable impression of hospitality and friendliness. We have found good friends.
Finally the people from Nijkerk offered the organisers of this highly successful visit to Schenectady a Farewell Dinner. The theme was “orange”. The sports the Dutch people excel in, were shown and the best event was a speech by a fake majesty, flanked by Willem Alexander and Maxima. This was an imitation of “Prinsjesdag” in Holland the opening of the parliament. Success guaranteed . Everyone was clothed in orange, etc. etc. Everybody was impressed.
|The tailpiece, Farewell Dinner|
The following day it was time to leave.
Leaving the people you had lived with for 8 days. For many of us this was an emotional farewell, with a teardrop. With the bus to Newark and the plane back home.
We cherish the memories and have regular e-mail contact with our host family.
Nico & Evelien