The delegation awoke to more uncharacteristically warm weather – despite it supposedly being winter here in New York, we have been treated to day after day of sunshine and temperatures as high as 18 degrees. After our morning briefing, we headed off towards midtown for our final meeting of the tour. High above Madison Avenue, we met with New Zealand Consular-General and Trade Commissioner for the Eastern USA, Beatrice Faumuina. As well as giving us an insight into her work in New York and some of her current projects, Beatrice spoke with us about her journey, some strategies for success and tips for personal and career development. The delegation left the meeting feeling inspired and ready to put what we’d learnt over the past three weeks into action once we get back to New Zealand. Our time with Beatrice was the perfect way to wrap up the meetings portion of the tour!
Following our meeting with Beatrice, we had a few hours of free time before our visit to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. The delegation split off, roaming the shops of Madison and Fifth Avenues to find clothing and footwear bargains. En route to the World Trade Centre a few of us ventured down Wall Street to find the infamous Charging Bull statue and pay the President a visit at Trump Tower. Sadly, President Trump must have been off in Florida for yet another taxpayer funded “break,” as there was no sighting!
After regrouping at the World Trade Centre, we slowly made our way through the National 9/11 Memorial. The footprints of the Twin Towers have been turned into two beautiful waterfalls, with the names of the victims inscribed around them. Despite being in the centre of New York the memorial is nearly silent; the only sound is that of the waterfalls. This was a very poignant experience for us, because although many of us were too young to fully remember September the 11th 2001, we definitely felt the repercussions of it for years to come. The National 9/11 Museum sits right next to the Memorial and this was our next stop. Chronologically, the museum details the catastrophe from the plan’s inception, that horrific day and the ongoing aftermath. The exhibits were informative but also very moving – one in particular, which featured stories of the victims, drew a few tears. Our time at the Memorial and Museum reminded us of the importance of the values of the United Nations and of the need to bring cultures and peoples together.
Our New York delegation dinner was at 12 Chairs, a boutique Mediterranean restaurant in the heart of the Soho District. We were joined by Ben Schaare, who we had met at the UN the day before. Over a huge spread of Mediterranean cuisine, we reflected on our experiences from the day and made plans for our upcoming free time. Our bellies full, we headed back to the hostel for a good night’s sleep before we were let loose on the Big Apple!
– Jayden van Leeuwen