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'Stop talking about Jesus and dance': People at the portal want to connect, ideally with dogs

Transatlantic rock, paper, scissors didn’t quite pan out, sadly.

NOTHING IN LIFE is certain except death, taxes, and the sheer joy of waving at a stranger – or, even better, their dog – via a portal.

The livestream portal between Dublin and New York is back up and running after being temporarily closed yesterday following “inappropriate behaviour”.

People on both sides have made lewd gestures or flashed onlookers, while some individuals in Dublin held up photos of the 9/11 terror attacks and cheered.

The Journal visited the portal on North Earl Street this morning and lots of people were milling around, waving and taking selfies.

The Journal / YouTube

There were also a few failed attempts at transatlantic rock, paper, scissors – a slight lag in the feed made this somewhat tricky.

With the time difference, it was a bit quieter on the American side but several people still stopped by to wave, dance or extol the virtues of Jesus Christ. So, just a regular Tuesday morning.

When one man walked up to the portal in New York with intent in his eyes, and took something out of this bag, there was, briefly, great excitement among the Dublin crowd.

“He’s going to dance!”

“He’s going to sing!”

What’s he doing? What does the sign say?

People moved closer to the Dublin side of the portal, squinting in a bid to read his sign: ‘Christ is King’.

christ 'Christ is King', according to this man in New York Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

“Oh, it’s a Jesus thing,” one person reacted.

Another man added: 

Stop talking about Jesus and dance, it’s too early in the morning for preaching.

Tough crowd.

There were some boos, but one woman loudly agreed with the man’s assertion that Christ is King, saying “good on you”. 

Shortly afterwards a woman in New York held up her dog to say hello. This went down a storm, to be fair. 

“Yes! A dog!”

dog2 A woman lifting up her dog got the biggest cheer of the day Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

The man with the Jesus sign didn’t, in fact, dance (the portal has no sound so, in fairness, he couldn’t hear the suggestion), but he did recommend a Bible verse John 3:11.

‘What does that particular verse state?,’ I hear you ask.

“Very truly, I tell you, we speak of what we know and testify to what we have seen; yet you do not receive our testimony.”

So I shall now testify as to what I saw at the portal today. 

‘This is boring, give me the good stuff!’

Passerby Will McKee wasn’t impressed by the man holding up the religious sign.

“We saw this guy with the Jesus thing and thought, ‘it’s five something in the morning, like, you’re clearly on the way home from the pub’. This is boring, give me the good stuff.”

Will is originally from Belfast but now lives in Australia. He was in Malmö in Sweden for the Eurovision, before coming back to Ireland.

“We came to Dublin for the day to do some shopping,” he told The Journal.

1000010549 The universal language of the selfie Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

He had heard about the “inappropriate behaviour” which resulted in the portal being closed for a while yesterday, joking: “We’re here for all the gory stuff.”

Will said some messing around is to be expected, and encouraged.

“I would like to have a wee bit of banter back and forth, I hope some of the Americans give it back too… I’ll be well into the craic.”

He said he’d call back to the portal later today before getting the train home – it’ll be afternoon in New York by then and more people will likely interact with the installation.

1000010613 Lucia Kavanagh, Robyn Kinsella, Megan Doyle, Elen Toniste and Kittyona James Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

A group of teenage girls from Gorey who are in Dublin on a school trip today wanted to visit the portal after seeing it on TikTok. 

They were encouraging a man on the New York side to dance with them. 

“He looked like he wanted to dance,” Lucia Kavanagh told us. 

“But he wouldn’t dance for us,” Megan Doyle added. 

“It’s cool the way we can look into New York,” Lucia said. 

IMG_20240514_140613 Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

The girls said they enjoyed engaging with the portal, but Megan doesn’t think it’s in the best location.

“They shouldn’t have put it in Dublin though, I know it’s the city centre but there are a lot of problems,” she said, adding that there should be security to prevent any further issues closing it down again. 

Galway or Gorey would be better locations for it, the girls said. 

Fabiola from Italy, who is on holiday in Ireland, did dance. She moved in sync with a woman from New York for a few seconds. 

“It was beautiful, it was very sweet and wonderful,” she told The Journal

1000010531 Fabiola from Italy Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

Marie Whelan from Dublin was also enjoying the portal today. She said it’s a great idea, but isn’t impressed by some of the “disgraceful” behaviour yesterday.

When I heard about the 9/11 thing I just said, ‘that’s sick’.

Whelan said her son and his wife were on holiday in New York when 9/11 happened. That day they were debating when to go to the Twin Towers, eventually deciding to visit Radio City Music Hall first.

“Thank God they did,” she said, “I was in hospital at the time and watching it on the news. I couldn’t believe it.”

‘The novelty will probably wear off’ 

Aoife, who is from Meath but in Dublin for the day, said she wanted to visit the portal after seeing it on social media.

“I’d seen it on TikTok so thought I’d just stop by and see it,” she explained. 

Aoife said the behaviour yesterday was “not really a surprise”, adding “it’s probably a magnet for that sort of thing”. 

1000010621 Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

She said “the novelty will probably wear off” in a few weeks but it’s “a nice idea”. 

It’s so nice when you see people on the other side, and then they meet and can see each other. I think that’s really nice.

“I might pop back later when it’s busier.”

Three women from Wisconsin made the portal their first stop in Ireland.

1000010562 Eleanor Jablonic, Natalie Grady and Emily Kriner from Wisconsin Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

“We landed about an hour ago,” Eleanor Jablonic said.

“We’ve seen it all over the internet, on TikTok… It’s really cool that it’s 24 hours a day.”

‘It’s a brilliant way to connect people’ 

Rory Sterley, who is from South Africa, is in Dublin visiting relatives.

1000010585 (1) Rory Sterley was photobombed by a man in New York Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

“We saw [the portal] on social media and it was something that we had to come and see before we went back to our country. We don’t have anything like this in our country.

I think it’s awesome. I wish there was sound, but I think it’s a brilliant way of connecting with people – it’s beautiful.

Rory joked that he might fly to New York to wave to relatives from the other side of the portal.

“We’ll fly to New York just to see the portal and fly back again,” he laughed.

As for the bad behaviour yesterday, Rory said: “Unfortunately you’re always going to get clowns, wherever you are in the world.”

1000010595 Phil and Joe McTiernan Órla Ryan / The Journal Órla Ryan / The Journal / The Journal

Phil and Joe McTiernan from Sligo are in Dublin today to visit their two sons.

They were enjoying watching the portal this morning, with Phil saying: “There is enough doom and gloom in the world, it’s nice to watch people wave at each other and interact.”

As people beside us started to cheer when someone in New York waved, she added: “Listen to that, it’s lovely.”

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