By Portfolio Editor Roz Hamlett
Denizens of the 18th floor of 4 World Trade Center of the Port Authority of New York & New Jersey are celebrating the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games in the same spirit of an idea that originates with the Olympic Charter itself: “blending sport with culture and education, Olympism seeks to create a way of life based on the joy found in effort and the educational value of good example.”
Before the start of the games last week in Brazil, Patty Clark, Senior Advisor on Aviation Policy, had an ‘aha’ moment: what better way for the Port Authority to reflect the symbolism of the Olympics than to showcase the agency’s diverse staff on the 18th floor, which houses both the Aviation Department and the Office of the Secretary. Her idea soon caught fire as numerous staff went to work to create the celebration.
“This has just been so much fun. Everyone wanted to be a part of the celebration,” said Nidia Abreu, who portrayed Carmen Miranda, the Brazilian samba singer and dancer, who appeared in Down Argentine Way, with Don Ameche and Betty Grable, in 1940. Nidia absolutely nailed the look of the Brazilian beauty, everything from the bangles she wore on her arms to fruits piled high on her head.
The Port Authority festivities included a Parade of Nations and an Olympic-style Village with prizes for the best decorated cubicle, international food and staff members like JoJo Quayson and Frances Croffie, who dressed in the traditional costumes of their native Ghana.
“What a great way to celebrate the Olympics,” said Pat Foye, Executive Director, “This type of activity allows the Port Authority to connect and participate in a broad and unique way with the spirit behind the Olympics.”
Cubicles were decorated with colorful objets d’art, artifacts, airplane models, tribal drums, symbolic rugs and textiles, dolls, and pretty much everything you’d find in an international marketplace. There were flags from enough different countries to resemble a schedule board of international flights out of the New York region to Brazil, Ghana, Japan, Armenia, and every country in between.
Which, as a point of fact, is true. Port Authority airports provide the most international non-stop destinations of any other airport system in the world, an incredibly diverse range of destinations that includes 115 international cities and the broadest number of regions. The airport system is the busiest system in the U.S., offering more non-flight stops to more cities aboard more airlines than anywhere in the world.
Many members of the U.S. Olympic Team flew nonstop to Brazil from Newark Liberty International Airport on United Airlines, which is serving as the official airline for Rio 2016.