The first NYU freshman moonlight cruise set sail around the New York harbor on Sunday. The sold-out event was part of the Welcome Week activities organized by the First Year Residential Experience.
The event, attended by approximately 1,000 freshmen, was organized by Weinstein Residence Hall director Josh Hartman and FYRE assistant director Rachel Alldis, in conjunction with the Office of Residential Life and Housing Services.
“We thought that this would be a great event since it will be a lot of fun and will also give students the opportunity to see NYC from the water at night,” Hartman said. “NYU has hosted several events with Spirit Cruises … and they have consistently provided a great experience for our students, faculty and staff.”
About one quarter of the freshman class boarded two ships from Chelsea Piers for a night of dancing, music and socializing. The cruise gave freshman students a chance to experience the city in a unique way and see it from a different perspective.
“The cruise seemed like a great experience and delivered on its promise,” said Harsh Daga, a Stern freshman.
After departure, the ships made their way to the Hudson River, the East River and the New York Harbor. Racha El-Khalil, a CAS freshman, said she enjoyed admiring the city from afar.
“You hear about seeing all these different buildings and monuments, but you never know how amazing it is until you see it yourself,” El-Khalil said.
The vessels for the voyage were the Spirit of New York and the smaller Spirit of New Jersey. Both featured dance floors, dining halls and outdoor deck areas.
Organizers attributed the event’s success to promotion efforts in social media, including Facebook and Twitter. The Office of Residential Life and Housing Services staff also sent emails to all 4,400 first-year residential students to spread the word.
“The email had a video that was done by students,” said Tom Ellett, senior associate vice president for Student Affairs. “I think that students helped sell this event.”
Though the large turnout lead to some chaos when students were boarding the ships, LSP freshman Kevin Zhang said the overall experience was great.
Kate Baier, senior director of Residential Life, said this cruise gave students the opportunity to develop an extensive network of friends.
“Our office has always placed a premium on leveraging our location, New York City, to provide students exciting opportunities for social engagement, personal development and intellectual exploration,” Baier said.
Gallatin freshman Sanjana Umarale said though boarding the ships was difficult, the cruise was smooth sailing once students left the docks.
“The cruise was fantastic,” Umarale said. “It was an awesome way to end Welcome Week. The food was great and dancing with the other kids in my class was really a good time.”
A version of this article appeared in the Sept. 4 print edition. Additional reporting by Marilyn La Jeunesse, Eliana Maya Saks and Terri Burns. Tatiana Baez is university deputy editor. Email her at email@example.com.
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