Reza's reception

Reza in Battery Park on September 11

I had wanted to stay away from downtown New York altogether during yesterday's celebrations of grief, but the mid-day arrival in Battery Park of my sorta pen-pal and a real hero, Reza, demanded an appearance in the area. I've been posting snippets of his story since February.

I arrived at the area where he was expected to be greeting people at about 12:20. Reza was there, as was David Hyslop and a group of about two dozen others, mostly Persians, I believe, like Reza himself, or of Persian descent.

I may have been foolish to have expected a more sizable crowd at what should have been the dramatic conclusion of his extraordinary odyssey around most of the globe. Reza is sweet, charmingly and fearlessly naïve, totally uninterested in fortune or fame, and his wonderful story has found listeners and readers all over the world for seven years.

But Reza comes from Iran, Reza does not profess any faith and Reza talks only of love and peace. Reza loves America, but apparently that just wasn’t enough for our attentions on September 11.

The Arizona Republic carried an article yesterday.

"It was so incredibly stirring with Reza marching down Broadway," said Hyslop. "He just broke down (in tears). He was a mess."

Baluchi said hundreds of people helped him along the way, adding, "American people are beautiful, and I love them."

Thursday, he placed flowers on a memorial wall in Battery Park and vowed to give his beloved bicycle - "It's all I have in the world" - to the New York Fire Department. He said he hopes to write a book on his adventures with a message to young people: "Where there's a will, there's a way."

Welcome to New York, Reza! We're very lucky to have you here.

the bike that went around the world for six years got a lift from L.A. in an RV

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Published on September 12, 2003 3:15 PM.

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