New York receives its first Vaishnava Sannyasi
On the nineteenth of September, the Jaladuta sailed into New York Harbor and docked at a Brooklyn pier, at Seventeenth Street. Bhaktivedanta Swami saw the awesome Manhattan skyline, the Empire State Building, and like millions of visitors and immigrants in the past, the Statue of Liberty. He was dressed appropriately as a resident of Vrindavana. He wore kanthi-mala (neck beads) and a simple cotton dhoti, and he carried japa-mala (chanting beads) and an old chadar, or shawl. His complexion was golden, his head shaven, sikha in the back, his forehead decorated with the whitish Vaishnava tilaka. He wore pointed white rubber slippers, not uncommon for sadhus in India. But who in New York had ever seen or dreamed of anyone appearing like this Vaishnava? He was possibly the first Vaishnava sannyasi to arrive in New York with uncompromised appearance. Of course, New Yorkers have an expertise in not giving much attention to any kind of strange new arrival.
Reference: Excerpts from Acharya book with illustration by Bhaktisiddhanta Dasa