Daily photographs by HANS VON RITTERN, with humorous, artistic and social commentary on life in the big city.

Posts tagged “India

Photo of the day: MEET 59 OF MY NEWEST FRIENDS FROM INDIA!

INDIA STUDENTS WITH AJAY BANSAL

MEET 59 OF MY NEWEST FRIENDS FROM INDIA! – Three years ago my friend Ajay Bansal took one of my NYC tours while I was working for a horrible private touring company which wasn’t very “receptive” to their guests. Ajay left that company and came to me privately to lead his student tours through New York and it has been a joyful relationship ever since. This spring 2013  tour was comprised of 52 gifted students (all boys) and 7 chaperones. Their eyes were filled with wonderment and eager with anticipation, hanging on my every word. As with most children abroad, their only concept of America and New York is through movies, videos and commercials.
Their naïveté is adorable – upon seeing the Empire State building the youngest ones asked “Ooooh, is that the World Trade Center?” “Where is the Liberty Statue?!” “Can you see movie stars on the street?” “Have you met the president?” “Do you live in a penthouse?” I simply fell in love with all of them. The age range was from 13 to 18, so the group ranged from total innocence to hip hop wanna-bees.  But one thing they all have in common is a stringent politeness. It took me a whole day to stop them from calling me “sir’ and we finally settled on “Mr. Hans”.
It was a full three day schedule including: the Empire State Building, bus tours, a harbor cruise to see Miss Liberty, The 9/11 Memorial, Wall Street, South Street Seaport, the United Nations, Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum (who knew they had a Bollywood exhibit?!), the Museum of Natural History (dinosaurs!) and of course M&M World in Times Square. It was a busy schedule. As we toured through the city several quotes come to mind:
“What are all those white boxes in the windows?” = air conditioners.
“The water coming from the sky is definitely making me wet.” = rain.
“Was King Kong really right here?” = no…that was a doll (the little boy seemed rather disappointed.).
“Is that Canada?” = no, it’s New Jersey.
“Will it snow today, please?” = no, it’s too warm.
“This food is most pleasing” = ‘delicious.’
We may laugh at some of these comments but they are terribly endearing. To have had the privilege to spend time with such innocent, polite and loving children made the tour such a joy.  All the sights excited them, I think the big ‘hits’ were the Liberty Statue and the wax museum. They were fascinated that are streets are filled with such diversity “in our country – everyone looks the same.” But above all that, they had only one consuming desire and that is – to shop! (Head phones seemed to be atop most of their lists.) So Best Buy was their main goal.
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Their next stop is on to Washington, D.C., and then on to Disney World. Not bad, huh? It was hard to say goodbye to them, but same time next year, I’ll have some little boy tug on my sleeve and say “Sir . . . how far is Best Buy from here…?” I look forward to that already.

Mr. Sunando Sen worked hard for 46 years and his reward: two candles and six roses.

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A woman accused of pushing a man to his death in front of a speeding subway train Thursday night, December 27th, in Queens has been charged with murder as a hate crime, New York Police Department spokesman spokesman Paul Browne. said Saturday.Police arrested Erica Menendez on Saturday after a passerby on a Brooklyn street noticed she resembled the woman seen in a surveillance video.Ms. Menendez told authorities she hates Hindus and Muslims, a spokeswoman for Queens District Attorney Richard A. Brown said.

The victim, Sunando Sen, was from India, but it isn’t clear whether he was Muslim or Hindu, it doesn’t matter.

The arrest capped a three-day search for a heavyset, 5-foot-5 Hispanic woman who was caught on camera escaping from a subway platform in Sunnyside, Queens, after she allegedly shoved a man into the path of an oncoming No. 7 train. It was the second such attack in New York City in less than a month.

The seemingly unprovoked attack, the second time this month that a man was thrown to his death on the subway tracks, stirred some of the deepest fears of New Yorkers.

“When a murder happens in New York, it can often be dismissed as being in someone else’s backyard,” said Gene Russianoff, staff lawyer for the Straphangers Campaign, a rider advocacy group. “The subway is everyone’s backyard.”

The police identified the victim as Sen of Queens, a 46-year-old immigrant who had been raised in India and who, after years of toil, had finally saved enough money to open a small copying business this year on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Ar Suman, one of four roommates who shared a small first-floor apartment with Sen in Elmhurst, said he was driving a client upstate when another roommate called and told him what had happened. Hoping the information was wrong, Suman raced back to the city, only to find that there was nothing he could do — Sen was dead.

“He was a very educated person and quite nice,” Suman said. “It is unbelievable. He never had a problem with anyone.”

Suman said Sen was proud when he had saved enough money to open the business, New Amsterdam Copy.

Since the shop opened, he had rarely taken a day off, Suman said.

“I asked him why do you work seven days a week?” Suman said. “He told me, ‘I cannot hire someone because business is not good.”‘

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Friday that according to witnesses’ accounts, there was no contact on the platform between the attacker and the victim immediately before the fatal shove. He said Sen was looking out over the tracks when his attacker approached him.

The attack occurred so quickly, with the train already barreling into the station, that the man had little time to react and bystanders had no time to try to help, said Paul J. Browne, the Police Department’s chief spokesman.

Sen was hit by the first car and his body was pinned under the second car before the 11-car train came to a stop.

Investigators released a grainy black-and-white video overnight showing a person they identified as the attacker fleeing the station and running along Queens Boulevard. She was described by the police as Hispanic, 5 feet 5 inches tall, in her early 20s and heavyset. She was reported to be wearing a blue, white and gray ski jacket and Nike sneakers — gray on top, red on bottom.

The subway station was closed overnight as officers from the Emergency Services Unit used specialized inflatable bags to lift the train and recover the victim’s remains. The No. 7 line had resumed normal service by the morning rush.

Sen’s roommates could not understand what might have led to the fatal encounter Thursday.

Suman said that as far as he knew, Sen did little more than work and come home. Both his parents were dead, they said, and he was not married and had no children.

Sen suffered a heart attack about nine months ago, Suman said, but did not slow down. The night stand in Sen’s bedroom had many bottles of prescription medicine. Across the room on his desk was a pile of medical bills.

His roommates said he liked watching funny clips on YouTube to unwind, enjoyed a cup of tea and would relax listening to classical Indian music.

“This guy is so quiet, so gentle, so nice,” said M.D. Khan, a taxi driver who also lives in the apartment. “It’s so broken, my heart.”