Newark Liberty’s Golden Moment

By Cheryl Albiez, Media Relations Staff

On Sunday, the United States women’s national soccer team captured a 2-0 victory in the 2019 World Cup in France.

A little more than 24 hours later, the Newark Liberty International Airport staff had transformed the tarmac into an impromptu welcome back party, complete with red carpet, water cannon salutes, congratulatory banners and plenty of VIPs and cheers. 


While “We Are The Champions” blared in the background, team co-captain Megan Rapinoe joined Port Authority Executive Director Rick Cotton, NJ Assembly Speaker Craig Coughlin and PA Chairman Kevin O’Toole on the tarmac


It was a triumphant event and showcase of American pride for the world champions. The celebration will continue in the coming days and weeks, and Newark Liberty was proud to have hosted the team’s first victory celebration on American soil. This morning, they were greeted by tens of thousands of fans during a ticker-tape parade up Broadway and celebration at City Hall.

But the challenge for Port Authority airport employees was pulling together an extraordinary event in extremely limited time. 

Various airport stakeholders had to be notified. Mass coordination between agencies needed to take place. Vast resources were deployed, with security plans drafted and set in motion. Banners had to be printed, ordered and hung in short order, and a press riser was delivered. Hundreds of bicycle racks had to be set up.  

And by 3 p.m. on July 8, everything was ready to welcome the team home.   

Media and guests arrived, and the team landed around 4:30 p.m. By 5 p.m. the plane doors had opened and the celebration began. After the team departed the airport grounds for New York, so did everyone else. Everyone, except the maintenance staff that was left to break down everything they had just spent hours setting up.


The pictures of the team’s arrival captured the joyous and proud moments.  Chanting, applause and lots of laughs and cheers were shared, and all was made possible by the airport staff who helped make it happen.    


Thank you to all the airport staff, with a special shout out to Newark Liberty International Airport maintenance and operations teams, Port Authority Police, Newark Liberty Security, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Transportation Security Administration, aircraft charter company ACC Aviation Group, and UPS, which handled the flight.

Congratulations again to the United States women’s national soccer team for taking home another proud win for the country.




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The PA’s Falcon Protection Strategy: Tag, You’re It

By Abigail Goldring, Media Relations Staff

We experience many annual traditions in our lifetimes – birthdays, anniversaries, holidays. The list goes on. The Port Authority has more than its share of memorable moments and milestones, and one of the most special is the naming and tagging each year of baby Peregrine falcons that nest near the Bayonne Bridge.

Recently, three newborns — Martha, Rosie and Juno, named to honor World War II heroes and the 75th anniversary of D-Day celebrated earlier this month — joined the Port Authority’s extended family.


(l-r) Chris Nadareski, NYC DEP; PA’s Richard Kerney, and city DEP’s Douglas Auer

“Martha was the first name of one of the first female war correspondents. Rosie the Riveter is a cultural icon who represents the women who worked in factories and shipyards during the war. And Juno is the name of one of the beaches used as a landing area during the invasion,” Staten Island Bridges (SIB) General Manager Olga Krueger explained.

The tagging process went like this: Rich Kerney, a SIB maintenance unit supervisor, and Chris Nadareski, a research scientist with the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), climbed up a 40-foot nesting tower in the Arthur Kill near the Bayonne Bridge.

Nadareski secured identification bands around the newborns’ tiny claws — much to the displeasure of their protective mother and father. The parents aggressively circled and clawed at him and Kerney throughout the process, out of concern for their babies, but soon enough Nadareski returned them safely to their care.

The Port Authority built the nesting tower in 1989 to provide shelter for the falcons, away from the bridge, to lay their eggs. For more than 30 years now, Nadareski has been tagging them to collect information on their migration patterns and health conditions. The hope is that this process will help this endangered species’ population continue to grow.


Photo Credit: NYC Department of Environmental Protection

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Port Authority Shows Its Pride

By Abigail Goldring, Media Relations Staff

New York City is at the epicenter of Pride Month 2019. It was selected to host the international celebration for LGBTQ+ rights, WorldPride, and it is home to the Stonewall Inn, where the modern LGBTQ+ civil rights movement is considered to have begun 50 years ago. Millions of travelers will be using the Port Authority’s airports, trains, bridges, and tunnels, and one group is leading the charge to make sure every single traveler feels welcome in the big city.

PA PRIDE, an Employee Resource Group (ERG) of the Port Authority, was formed to support the LGBTQ+ community and its allies both in the workplace and throughout the region. Additionally, they provide input for PA departments on best practices for creating safe and inclusive environments. PA PRIDE, which stands for People Respecting Individuality, Diversity & Equality, took off last year as the Port Authority sharpened its focus on ERGs and with the prospect of a historic Pride Month just around the corner.


(l-r) PA PRIDE Treasurer Chris Wolff, Secretary Kevin O’Driscoll, PA Chief of Human Capital Mary Lee Hannell (executive sponsor), President Alexander Barrett and Communications Chair Shannon Gates.

The timing seemed perfect, but the group’s leaders were unsure if their fellow employees would get involved.

“People came to that first meeting and seemed to think, what is this?” Kevin O’Driscoll, PA PRIDE secretary and a business manager in the Aviation Department, remembers. “It’s hard to define what the group is until you have your first event or meeting and people start making connections.”

Slowly but surely, the ERG started gaining momentum. PA PRIDE became a crucial sounding board during the development and adoption of the Port Authority’s Transgender Inclusion and Non-Discrimination Policy. PA PRIDE has also collaborated with the agency’s Office of Ethics and Compliance on an online training program scenario that involves someone who identifies as gay.

This month, PA PRIDE officially kicked off Pride Month at the Port Authority at an event bringing together more than 100 attendees from across the agency, including Executive Director Rick Cotton and Chief of Human Capital Mary Lee Hannell, who both offered opening remarks.

Hannell, PA PRIDE’s executive sponsor, advocates for the group in an official capacity. On a personal level, issues involving LGBTQ+ rights affect her very deeply.

“I’m so proud of the tremendous amount of work PA PRIDE has put into making this month the biggest celebration of Pride in the agency’s history,” she said. “Over my 30 years here, it’s been incredible to see the agency’s commitment to diversity and inclusion grow. This year’s Pride Month at the Port Authority is no doubt a major milestone.” 

O’Driscoll says that the Port Authority’s senior leaders were quick to embrace PA PRIDE’s ideas for Pride Month, which consisted of public displays of the agency’s commitment to the LGBTQ+ community. For the second year in a row, an exhibit at LaGuardia’s Terminal A educates passengers about the history of the LGBTQ+ movement in New York City, and “Gayviation,” a celebration of Aviation and LGBTQ+ Pride complete with a lip sync contest, is hosted at 4 World Trade Center.

Additionally, a new art installation “Live 4 Love” at the World Trade Center Oculus celebrates all types of love, and columns in the 9th Street PATH Station don vibrant rainbow colors. The Christopher Street PATH Station columns are wrapped as well.



9th Street PATH Station

June’s Pride events culminate at the historic Pride March down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan, where PA PRIDE is heading up a Port Authority delegation to walk with Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.

For PA PRIDE President Alexander Barrett, a senior economic analyst in the Aviation Department, the fact that the Port Authority is openly taking a stand on diversity and inclusion during Pride Month is extremely significant. “Visibility is important because it shows that our commitment to diversity is more than just a talking point,” he said. “It’s being put into action.”

Photo Credit: Krista Didzbalis & Jennifer Wilson


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