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America: Who We Are - New Boat Tour Launches


National Parks of NY Harbor Conservancy

For Immediate Release                                               Contact: Pattie Haubner
                                                                                               914 589-5635
                                                                                               Dana Nachbar
                                                                                               914 833-7093



National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy creates official National Park Service tour exploring the impact of immigration on NYC and USA

(New York, NY)--"America begins in New York, and New York, a city built and reinvigorated by immigrants - begins on its harbor," says author Sam Roberts in his introduction of America: Who We Are, a new boat tour produced by the National Parks of New York Harbor Conservancy in collaboration with the National Park Service and The New York Times Community Affairs Department.

Launched this week, the sightseeing cruise aboard NY Waterway Tours is an affordable 60-minute journey around New York Harbor featuring stunning views and an engaging audio commentary that explores the profound role immigrants have played - and still play - in shaping the city and our nation.  Tours embark daily at 11:30 AM and 2:30 PM from the Battery Maritime Building, Slip 5, to the left of the Staten Island Ferry Terminal, and run through the summer.   For information visit:  Tickets are available for purchase at, at Castle Clinton in Battery Park, or by calling 1-800-53-FERRY.
"America: Who We Are is inspiring, emotional and informative," said Harbor Conservancy President and Co-founder, Marie Salerno, who is spearheading a summer campaign encouraging residents and tourists to discover the treasures of New York Harbor through our national parks.

The tour's audio component hosts a cast of National Park Service Rangers, historians, journalists and immigrants - Italians, Jews, Russians, Asians and South Americans, among others, who share candid stories about the gateway to America and their version of the American Dream.

Sam Roberts, urban affairs correspondent for The New York Times wrote and narrates the tour.  His commentary is laced with sound bites from reporters and rangers who describe the changing face of the metro area's population and how each new wave of arrivals has added to America's melting pot; influencing culture, language, food and politics.  Tracing the common threads that tie today's immigrants to those who came before them, the tour highlights how Dutch settlers of New Amsterdam established our city's reputation for free enterprise and tolerance. Roberts also recounts how immigrants have regenerated the city, offering a model to meet one of our nation's chief 21st century challenges - managing diversity.

"Sound effects and literary readings enhance the tour program, enabling participants to relive the experience of those who entered the harbor and were greeted by the world's most compelling symbol of freedom and hope: the Statue of Liberty," says Salerno.

"You'll enjoy spectacular views that can't be experienced from land," said NY Waterways President, Arthur Imperatore.  "We leave plenty of time to take photos of emblematic sites such as Ellis Island, Castle Clinton, Governor's Island, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the lower east side - the stars of America's immigrant saga."

"New York is our nation's and perhaps the world's most international city, with more 200 languages spoken.  More than three million New Yorkers were born abroad, with 60 percent of New Yorkers foreign-born or the children of immigrants."  Mr. Roberts concludes, "America does begin in New York."

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