New York City
‘Abdu’l-Bahá arrived in New York City on the S.S. Cedric on April 11, 1912.A crowd of people waited on the docks for Him for hours, and He arranged to meet them at the home of Edward Kinney later in the day. The tugboat that met the Cedric carried a number of reporters who spoke with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the deck of that ship. Among them was Wendell Philips Dodge, who recorded these impressions:
‘Abdu’l-Bahá would spend more time in New York City than any other single location during His sojourn in America, a total of 85 days, between trips to other localities across the nation. Many memorable and significant events, both public and private, took place in New York, including among them: an address at the Church of the Ascension, His first public address in America; a meeting with the poor at the Bowery Mission; appearances at the Lake Mohonk Peace Conference; a nationally publicized interview with Kate Carew; the taking of audio and video recordings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá; several encounters with influential and well-known personalities of the day; and numerous varied meetings of personal significance to a wide range of people.
His face was light itself… He is a man of medium height, though at first sight he seemed to be taller… As he paced the deck, talking to reporters, he appeared alert and active in every movement, his head thrown back and splendidly poised upon his broad shoulders most of the time… When the ship was abreast the Statue of Liberty, standing erect and facing it, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá held his arms wide apart in salutation and said, ‘There is the New World’s symbol of liberty and freedom. After being forty years a prisoner, I can tell you freedom is not a matter of place. It is a condition… When one is released from the prison of self, that is indeed a release.’
‘Abdu’l-Bahá departed from New York City for the last time on December 5, 1912 on the S.S. Celtic, sailing once more for Europe and finally Palestine, after many tearful farewells with followers and admirers over the last weeks and days.
Read more about ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s time in New York, including a virtual tour and maps and directions to places visited by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.