By: Nick Christy, Epsilon Alpha Chapter ’11, Region Consultant
Saturday, May 19, 2012
Hello once again from ABP Newark! After a very successful week and moments that have inspired us all, we had the opportunity to explore Newark’s neighbor to the north and a hot spot location on almost everyone’s bucket list: New York City.
We started out early this morning and were able to take NJ Transit Rail from Elizabeth into the city. Walking out from the terminal you are blinded with the excitement of a city that never sleeps. Our sites were set immediately set on one of the main focal points of the city: Times Square. For those who have never been, you’re immediately drawn to every single corner of this New York City landmark. With flashing signs, the New Year’s Ball high atop its perch, ABC’s Good Morning America, it is truly a place that dazzles the eyes and truly makes you embrace the New York spirit.
The group then split into two. Some went to explore Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. They were able to see and take pictures with some of their favorite celebrities carved into wax. From those pictures that I saw they looked absolutely life like. The other part of the group went over to the Rockefeller Center and NBC Studios. Unfortunately the studio tour was sold out for the day; however there was much to be had in terms of shopping (both the NBC store and the Nintendo Store across the plaza). We also were able to meet up with Beta Epsilon alum and NYMAAC (New York Metropolitan Area Alumni Chapter) founder Alex Spirer. Our two adventurous groups then came together to eat lunch at the Rockefeller Cafe located below the street level with an amazing view of where the skating rink sits in the winter.
After lunch we took a leisurely stroll down one of the most famous streets in the world: Fifth Avenue. Our wonderful tour guide Alex showed us her New York and taught us some interesting facts we were unaware of. We did have to make one very important pit stop before hand at the Lego Store so that Director of Leadership Advancement Krista Kay could get her Lego fix 🙂 Trekking onward we explored St. Patrick’s Cathedral which opened in 1879. It is truly an architectural landmark with gorgeous pillars and intricate stonework throughout. We were even treated to a wedding while we gazed at the cathedral and all its beauty. Next stop on the list was of course Tiffany & Company. Although we did not breakfast there, we were able to go in and see all of the incredibly intricate and beautiful (albeit very expensive) jewelry and other Tiffany works of art. Our last stop down Fifth Avenue took us to FAO Schwarz which brought out the child in all of us. There we were met by former Director of Alumni Relations and Publications, Beta Epsilon alum and NYMAAC member Andrew Berman.
The focus then turned to dinner. With so many great restaurants, which one were we to pick? We decided on John’s Pizza located in Time’s Square which came highly recommended. The group then split and “raced” to Time’s Square with one group taking the subway while the others walked to our next location. Surprisingly we almost made it there at the same time. John’s Pizza was definitely the perfect location for us. With authentic New York Style Pizza and a good Brotherly atmosphere it truly hit the spot. We ended the night in the city by visiting a treasure off the beaten path called the Highline Park. It was a truly unique space that took great use of an old rail line. It also offered great views of the sun setting on this magnificent city. After some last minute track hopping and a very skilled driver (Krista), we made it home to the Residence Inn. In a sad moment we said our goodbyes and made plans to see each other very soon. We had taken the meaning of Brother to a new level this week, and set forth to inspire the world. The ABP Newark Team members are by far some of the greatest Brothers I have ever known. They’re hard work this week has not only given the Newark community a mural but brought them closer together. “We must be the change we wish to see in the world” was always said aloud during the morning meetings at Spark academy. If that is any reflection on the Brother who have participated in ABP Newark, the world is truly going to be an amazing place very soon. None of this though would be possible without our own inspiration and fearless leader Krista Kay. She puts so much effort into creating these wonderful projects and truly understands the meaning of service through leadership and sets the bar very high for any Brother looking to match her. She is a true star in our great fraternity and hopefully she will be able to shine and continue to inspire for many years to come. ABP has truly opened my eyes to many things this week and it has truly been an honor to serve the fraternity that has given so much to me.
In closing it is not the words that we say but how we use those words to take action to make our community and the world a better place. It’s so easy to give back by participating in service projects education and non-education related. With regards to service projects that focus on Teach-For-America it’s important to remember that it’s not only providing a focus on TFA schools, but fulfilling the mission to eliminate inequalities in our schools regardless of whether they are or are not assisted by TFA. Each Brother has the ability to reach for the stars and change the world, so let’s go forth now and do so!