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What do Pope Benedict, the Brooklyn Bridge, and the Month of September have in common? - They are all very special to German-Americans in New York!
On Monday evening, September 8th, Mayor Michael Bloomberg officially proclaimed the month of September to be "German-American Friendship Month" in the City of New York. In front of over 100 leaders of the German-American community, at a reception held at "Deutsches Haus at NYU," the Mayor talked about his own experiences with Germans, German-Americans and his further experiences learning the German language.
While the Mayor found out early into his student life that the German language was perhaps not one he was going to learn or master despite his attempts to do so, Mayor Bloomberg always felt close to the Germans. On Monday he told his audience about a fond encounter with a German nurse, while on vacation in Germany as a University Student. While he did not go into full detail, suffice it to say he managed to communicate just fine with said nurse through the use of his German dictionary!
Mayor Bloomberg expressed his joy for the fact that the German-American community is thriving in NYC. First, he pointed to the support the Pope received from the German-American community during his recent visit in April; the Mayor met many times with Pope Benedict during that visit. Mayor Bloomberg went on to comment that during his tenure as Mayor, he has provided the German-American Steuben Parade Committee with six proclamations to date for their work in promoting the friendship between America and Germany. The original proclamation was awarded for a single "German-American Day." That single day event eventually grew to a week long series of events, and it has now become an entire month of fun and cultural events all around the city!
Mayor Bloomberg even took the opportunity to highlight two events he would love to attend if he had the time: The German Pub Crawl on Saturday the 13th of September caught his interest, as well as the Oktoberfest at Shea Stadium on September 24th! His comments are especially pleasing in a melting pot like New York City, where every culture takes on American traditions, while at the same time infusing the American culture with a little of their own customs and rituals.
Steuben Parade Chairman Lars Halter pointed out, German-American Friendship Month has become the third highlight of the year for German-Americans in the NY Metropolitan area. It follows Pope Benedict's visit to New York in April, and the 125th anniversary in June of the building of the Brooklyn Bridge - which was built by German immigrant John August Roebling.
The events surrounding German-American Friendship Month during the month of September offer something for everybody, including lectures, a concert at Carnegie Hall, several movies, and the previously mentioned German Day at Shea Stadium and Pub Crawl next weekend. The month hits full steam on the third weekend of the month, when the 51st Annual German-American Steuben Parade makes its way up Fifth Avenue, between 63rd and 86th Streets. After the Parade, on the same day, Germans and Americans celebrate their friendship in New York 's biggest one day "Oktoberfest in Central Park."