NEW YORK — A bike ride to Governors Island in honor Armenia’s 25th anniversary of Independence took place on September 17, in an event organized by St. Vartan Cathedral and the Development Department of the Diocese of the Armenian Church of America (Eastern).
Participants gathered with their bikes on the Cathedral plaza on a sunny Saturday morning to raise the Armenian and American flags and sing both countries’ national anthems, led by Very Rev. Mamigon Kiledjian, dean of St. Vartan Cathedral.
The group then cycled along the East River downtown towards Battery Park, where they boarded a ferry for a quick ride to the lush Governors Island, a 172-acre island in the heart of New York harbor.
Once on the island, participants, who wore shirts symbolic of Armenia, rode the route together alongside the Hudson River enjoying panoramic views of Manhattan, Jersey City and Brooklyn, as well as the Statue of Liberty.
“I look forward to this event every year because it provides me with the opportunity to combine the enjoyment of bicycling and being in the company of fellow Armenians,” said Alex Chirinian.
The enthusiasm for the bike ride and the broad range of participants added to the spirit of the event.
“The bike ride is a great opportunity to meet new people in the area and a wonderful way to celebrate and remember Armenian Independence,” said Peter Derderian.
Echoing his sentiments, fellow participant Allen Berber noted it was a “unique way to celebrate Armenian Independence and a new way to network and make new friends within our community.”
Donations given by participants were earmarked for the Diocesan Annual Appeal, which launched earlier this month and will follow through the end of the year. The yearly appeal supports the many ministries and programs the Diocese offers to its parishioners and members.
“What better way to support our Diocese at home and commemorate our homeland aboard than by Armenian camaraderie,” said Taleen Babayan, who leads the Diocesan Development Department. “I was happy to see so many people come out to cycle together in support of our nation and our Church.”
Added Chirinian, “The enrollment of many young people this year makes me to believe in the future success of the event.”