Maura Moynihan with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and Michael Bloomberg

Maura Moynihan, daughter of Senator Moynihan, with His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the Mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg at the future site of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Station in New York on September 25 2005. (Sonam Zoksang)

The Dalai Lama was presented with the key to New York by the city’s Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, on Sunday (25 November), who described the Tibetan religious leader as a ‘moral beacon to millions around the world, with a clear and constant voice for human rights’.

The presentation of the key to the city took place during a visit by the Dalai Lama to the future site of the Daniel Patrick Moynihan Station in New York to honor the late Senator, his commitment and dedication to the Tibetan cause and his vision for a revitalized transportation hub in the US city, which is home to a large Tibetan exile community.

Senator Moynihan, who was a personal friend of the Dalai Lama, died in 2003. The new station, on the site of the James A Farley Post Office on Eighth Avenue, across the street from the current Penn station, was a long-term project of the Senator, who envisaged it to be a gateway to the great American city which was also his childhood home.

Senator Moynihan was principally responsible for Section 355 of Public Law 102-22 that endorsed the Tibetan people’s recognition that their true representatives are ‘the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government in exile’. This strong expression of support for the political leadership of the Dalai Lama began a period of Congressional activism on behalf of Tibet. Moynihan had served in the administrations of four US presidents, including as ambassador to India, and spent four terms in the Senate representing New York.

The Dalai Lama said it was a “great honor” to attend the ceremony and to receive the key of New York, and gave a moving tribute to the work of Senator Moynihan and his daughter Maura for Tibet. The text of Mayor Bloomberg’s address is enclosed below.

The Dalai Lama is scheduled to visit Washington DC in November this year, where he is expected to meet the President and Secretary of State.

Address to the Dalai Lama by Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, on Sunday 25 November 2005:

Good morning. On behalf of all New Yorkers, it’s my honor to welcome his holiness the Dalai Lama to our city.

He is one of the great spiritual leaders of our time and a moral beacon to millions around the world and a clear and constant voice for human rights.

Tashi Delek.

Your Holiness, I know your English is better than my Tibetan.

In fact, your writings and statements have moved us all. Not only do they reflect a tremendous spiritual enlightenment, but they are a clarion call for the rights of the people of Tibet.

From the start, New York has been a place where people from all over the world have come to pursue their own dreams freely and peacefully.
And there perhaps is no stronger symbol of peace and compassion on our planet today than you.

You have been a close friend of our city and just as you were a close friend of one of our city’s great statesmen?the late Senator Pat Moynihan, who helped bring Tibet’s ongoing struggle to the forefront of our national consciousness.

Those were just some of the invaluable gifts he gave to us during his remarkable career of public service.

The Moynihan Station is now rising from the foundations of this post office and was his final gift.

When this transformation is complete, it will be a grand gateway to NYC for millions from around the world.

It will stand as a fitting tribute to Pat Moynihan as well as a bold monument to the international spirit that the Dalai Lama has dedicated his life to.

Your Holiness, in honor of your lifelong devotion to peace and justice around the world and your deep and lasting friendship with New Yorkers. I’m proud to present you with a key to our city.

And when this magnificent station opens, I hope that you will come back here to take the first train ride!