On the afternoon of January 15, the crew executed an emergency landing in the Hudson River and all 150 passengers on board the plane were rescued. The Key to the City is bestowed by the mayor upon distinguished persons and honored guests of the City of New York.
"New York is a city full of heroes: police officers, firefighters, emergency workers and everyday citizens who show their own brand of courage each day," said Mayor Bloomberg. "That's why I think New Yorkers have felt such a strong connection to the story of Flight 1549, not just because it happened right here at our doorstep, but because the ‘Fearless Five' - who managed to save every single passenger on that flight - lived up to an ideal that all of us in New York aspire to and many have often reached."
The mayor presented keys to Flight Attendant Doreen Walsh, Flight Attendant Sheila Dale, Flight Attendant Donna Dent, First Officer Jeffery Skiles, and Pilot Chesley B. Sullenberger.
In addition to the Key to the City, the mayor also presented Captain Sullenberg with a replacement copy of a library book lost on Flight 1549. The book is Just Culture: Balancing Safety and Accountability by Sidney Dekker. Also, the crew was treated to dinner at Blue Fin restaurant and to tickets to Chicago the musical, graciously donated by B.R. Guest Restaurants and the producers of Chicago.
The Key to the City is a replica of the key to an original door that remains in City Hall, but it no longer functions as a key. The keys are symbols that New York City's gates will always be open to the crew of Flight 1549. The Key to the City is over 5 inches long and made of gold-plated pewter. The last recipients of Keys to the City were the players, coaches, and owners of the New York Giants for their 2008 Super Bowl victory.