Everything started back in 1993, when I – Dirk Stratmann, manager of FDNY travel company – came to New York City for the very first time. I came accompanied by 3 firemen from Bocholt, Germany to take part in a race for international firemen.
Due to several misunderstandings in the hostel we were going to stay in, we did not have a place to stay. A mate from a fire department in NYC learned about it and invited us to stay at the fire station in Harlem, where we were just as welcome as any other mates. We even helped out during a few missions.
We even got to see the floors of the World Trade Center, which got attacked only 4 weeks before, in march 1993.
In these days we spent in Harlem, we developed a very great friendship between us and the fire mates from FDNY, which led to the fact that we came back to visit almost once a year. The FDNY mates visited us in Germany as well.
We met more firemen every single year, which made it possible for us to visit the most uncommon places usual tourists do not get to see.
People around our hometown heard about our constant visits in NYC and asked if it was possible for us to take them to the great city the next time we would travel there.
Soon we flew back to the states with people from Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
11th September '01
The day the World Trade Center got attacked and the following months were very emotional for us.
Only a couple of months before the attack, we took part in the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in the city.
We were aware of the fact that many friends of ours – firemen and civilians – were about to lose their lives and that the fire department would be busy for the next couple of days, so I called a close friend of mine some days after the attack. I learned that a lot of mates did not survive the attack, many of them left wives and children behind.
And because we wanted to help out as well, we – the fire department from Bocholt, Germany – decided to start a fund-raiser. We set up a charity stand at our annual fair in Bocholt, many volunteers supported us and we raised about 10,000$ in only one weekend.
The very next weekend I flew back to NYC with a friend, to deliver the money, with a strange feeling, because we were not sure what the city would look like after the attack.
As usual we spent the days in a fire department, we heard of many deaths during our stay, so we attended a lot of funerals for firemen, which we wore our uniforms for.
After this very emotional week, we flew back with the feeling, that we at least did a little bit to help. Considering how sad the occasion was, it strengthened the friendship between the NYC and the German firemen.
After the attack, the FDNY got more famous in Germany, which caused the NYC trips to become more popular instantly.
2003 I finally founded the NYC travel organization, since we even had people from Austria and Switzerland joining us.
What started with a lot of improvising considering transportation, program and sightseeing , now is a simple concept professionally organized by us and a travel agency.
Now after more than 10 years, we've already taken 1000 firemen/-women and more than 300 civilians to NYC with us, some of them came with us up to 4 times already.
Our trips are based on experience, that's why we attach great importance to individual and personal supervision. Due to this our groups are never bigger than 12-15 people, so our tour guides can respond to more questions.
The tour guides always stay in the same hotel as our participants, so that even after the daily program we get the chance to hang out in a bar together or be available for any matters.
Our desire is to give you a memorable trip to New York City