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Manhattan Hungarian Network Featured in NYC2012 Olympic Bid Newsletter - May 2004


2004-04-02
MANHATTAN HUNGARIAN NETWORK PROVIDES HOMETOWN CROWDS AND COMMUNITY

When the Manhattan Hungarian Network sent an e-mail looking for people to assist the Hungarian wrestling team during
the 2003 World Championships of Freestyle Wrestling in New
York City, Peter Felve?gi was one of the first to volunteer.
A Hungarian water polo national champion, he knew
some of the members of the Hungarian wrestling national
team and couldn’t wait to welcome them to the city.

The Manhattan Hungarian Network, a member of NYC2012’s The Nations of New York, was founded just a year ago by a group of young professionals living in the city. The 500 member organization provides a professional and social network for Hungarians living in the city and a way for visitors to connect with people from their own country.

“New York is a global city,” said Erzsebet Karkus, director
of the organization. “It attracts people from all over the
world in a way that other cities don’t.”

“Our goal,” said Elizabeth Vilmik, one of the founders
of the organization, “is to provide them with this whole community and network they can plug into.”

Felve?gi acted as translator and tour guide for the 15
Hungarian athletes and team officials for the duration of the
competition — translating for the president of the Hungarian
wrestling federation in his attache? meetings, and providing
everything from metro cards to phone cards for the rest of
the team. He showed them how to get to the Empire State
Building and the Statue of Liberty and brought them to the
best Chinese restaurant in Chinatown.“They loved it,” he said. “Here you see all kinds of nationalities and all kinds of people. This kind of diversity only exists in New York.”

Hosting major international events in New York, said
Karkus, draws on the city’s distinct advantages. “It’s an international city but it also has these very close
communities,” she said.

Though it may still be eight years away, the Manhattan
Hungarian Network can imagine having the biggest international
sports event in the city.

Athletes and tourists would “experience a level of comfort
they may not have in other places,” said Karkus. “You
can find people that speak your language, you can get
home-cooked style meals, or hang out amongst people that
know what you’re talking about.”

“You have this foreign place — a new place,” she said,
“yet something that will connect you to where you’re from.”
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