A happy Christian and the Circle Line

The other morning I walked past a very expressive Christian man. He was causing no harm, simply standing happily next to his sign shouting every few moments “JESUS!“. As intended, it got me thinking…. about religion in the USA.

The First Amendment to the country’s Constitution prevents the Federal government from making any “law respecting an establishment of religion”, and guarantees the free exercise of religion.

A majority of Americans report that religion plays a “very important” role in their lives, a proportion unusual among developed nations, although similar to the other nations of the Americas.

76% of adult Americans identify themselves as Christians, with Protestant and Catholic denominations, accounting for 51% and 25% of the population respectively. Approximately 4% – 5% are aligned with Judaism, Buddhism, Islam, or Hinduism. And 15% of the adult population identifies as having no religious belief or affiliation.

Whilst religion isn’t personally displayed nearly as predominantly as i noticed in India (click here to see my posts about religion in India), it is a constant presence with countless churches, synagogues and mosques throughout the city. A search for “Religious Organizations” on NYC.com comes up with 6647 results! Despite this, i’ve noticed that Religion is far less openly talked about than it was when i was in India. It’s seems to be taboo with many appearing to feel slightly uncomfortable if it is brought up (Jewish jokes excluded – they’re quite common). I think this springs out of the intense self-consciousness about being politically correct. Whilst political correctness is no doubt important, it seems to stifle open and inquisitive conversation. For example, wouldn’t there be more religious tolerance if people felt more comfortable about discussing religion, not with the purpose to convert but rather, simply to share? If the facts, benefits and negatives of various religions were equally discussed within an inquisitive framework? Yes i am a young idealist i know and it is simply an observation, but maybe this lack of discussion is a key contributor to underlying tensions and built up intolerance. How can people respect a religion they know nothing about?

But enough of that! – and back to sensory overwhelming product of marketing masterminds – Time Square! Which i passed as i made my way to…..

Pier 83 – the Point of departure for the Circle Line Ferry. . I was setting off for a 3hr cruise! We pulled out, passing the iconic Intrepid Aircraft Carrier which is now a museum.

We floated on down past down-town Manhattan and the Financial district

cruising past the famous Ellis Island (the gateway for millions of immigrants to the United States)

and drawing up alongside the lovely, Lady Liberty.

we went past Brooklyn Heights – the area which i live close by to and i loved how strange the highway there looks, with one lane stacked upon the other

Turning my attention back to the other side, we were able to look ALLLL the way down Wall St, and admire the buildings. Much easier to do from a distance as opposed to looking straight up from beneath them!

We passed under the majestic Brooklyn Bridge

went alongside the United Nations

right up to the Queens Bridge

and a spot further

before we had to turn back due to some construction works – normally the cruise goes all the way around the island but we were warned when boarding that this wasn’t possible today. So we ventured back towards the setting sun

able to get a better look at what had previously passed. The photos below are of site very close to ground zero where the Twin Towers collapsed

we continued up up up the Hudson, going alongside the Upper West sides swanky apartments

getting as far as the General Grant National Memorial before turning back around

and heading into Pier 83, after a pleasant 3 hours on the water. Well worth the experience and wonderful to see it all from the outside looking in

With a spring in my step, i trotted through “Hell’s Kitchen” – not as nasty as it sounds – the area famous for it’s dense population of restaurants.

Making my way towards my subway stop,

along a path illuminated by the bright, hypnotic advertisments almost as much as by the streetlamps!



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3 responses to “A happy Christian and the Circle Line

  1. bagnidilucca

    The Circle Line is a great way to see NY.
    Just curious – are you writing your blog for a specific reason? I find it very interesting to read. I have been to a lot of the places you are talking about and I love the reminders.

    • Im so glad your enjoying it! I really just started the blog as a way to keep in touch with people about my whereabouts and it’s developed into a wonderful account of my travels which ill be able to keep forever – im hoping to make it into a nice coffee table book for me to keep at home 🙂

  2. bagnidilucca

    The coffee table book sounds like a greta idea. I started my blog to help people staying at our place in Bagni di Lucca find their way around, but it has developed a bit. I also find it a good way to remember the places we have been.

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