During October half term, 24 excited students and 5 staff set off on what was going to be an experience of a life time – a visit to The Big Apple, America’s New York City!
Students were amazed when they stepped foot in Times Square for the first time, with the sky scrapers and neon lights fighting through the night skies. Macy’s, one of the largest department stores in the world, provided much needed refuge from the rain and students quickly discovered the delights on NYC shopping as they swapped their dollars for Michael Kors handbags, Converse trainers and Mac Makeup! Bubba Gump’s Shrimp Co. in Time’s Square was the dinner stop for the night, and all were pleased to rest their feet after what had been a fantastic, but long first day.
Day 2’s itinerary was packed full, so it was an early start. We headed over to The Natural History Museum, filming location for Night at the Museum, and home to Dinosaur bones, an enormous planetarium, artefacts from Native America and more! Central Park was our next stop, and the students loved watching the ice skaters on the famous Wollman Rink, featured in many films like Home Alone! The Boating Lake, Alice in Wonderland statue, carousel, horse drawn carriages and Central Park Zoo were some of the other sites we were able to visit. The day also offered a walk down the famous 5th Ave to the Rockefeller Centre, where students were excited to see film crews setting up their lighting and cameras ready for the forthcoming US Presidential Election TV coverage. And then it was onto Times Square, for some time in the giant Hershey’s chocolate store, before we headed over to Sbarro’s for a delicious Italian buffet.
It was perhaps the most exciting evening of the trip as students had opted to watch either a Broadway Show, Matilda, or to drive out of state to New Jersey to watch an NHL Ice Hockey game between The New Jersey Devils and The Chicago Blackhawks.
The musical adaptation of Roald Dahl’s famous Matilda was playing at Broadway’s renowned Shubert Theatre starring some of New York’s most talented musical performers. Mr Marsh, Miss Pollett and Mr Mitchell headed down with 16 of our students who chose the bright lights of Broadway as their evening’s entertainment.
“The show was amazing! We loved the theatre and couldn’t believe that we were watching a performance on Broadway!” Rachel Houghton, Year 12.
For the remaining 8 students, along with Mrs Lavis and Mr McLaughlin, it was off to New Jersey, the next state across from New York, to watch one of America’s most popular sports – the fast paced, skilful and sometimes rather aggressive Ice Hockey! Students were surrounded by giant foam fingers, die-hard fans proudly wearing their team’s jersey, hotdogs, banners and team mascots. “I couldn’t believe how big the arena was! And the game was so exciting – it was so fast and tough! I loved the atmosphere in the crowd; it was exactly what I imagined an American sports event to be like!” Adam Al-Sharifi, Year 11
Day 3 was perhaps the day we were all looking forward to the most, as we would be visiting some of NYC’s most iconic sites. The New York City Subway is world famous, and no trip to the Big Apple would have been complete without riding the notorious underground trains. We took the red line downtown from 42nd Street to The World Trade Centre, and the trip in itself was an experience. The 9/11 Memorial at the site of the Twin Towers was a moving experience for staff and students, and every single person in the group showed their upmost respect whilst exploring this beautiful remembrance site. We learnt how the youngest victim of the 9/11 attack was just 2 years old; we learnt how thousands of firefighters, policemen and medics lost their lives in attempt to save others; we learnt how there was only one single tree which survived the explosions, and this tree was now a protected national treasure, as it symbolised hope and regeneration.
After such a pensive and moving morning, some light relief was needed, so we headed over to Wall Street and to visit the famous Wall Street Bronze Bull, a symbol of financial power and prosperity. Rumour has it, that if you are to touch the bull, you gain financial good luck, so all made sure they got their turn with the 11 feet tall statue bull!
Just a short walk from Wall Street led us to Battery Park, and there she was, the iconic NYC landmark ‘Lady Liberty’, proudly watching over the city from her island on the Hudson River. A ferry took us across the Hudson and we were soon able to see the famous statue up-close...and we also got the most breath-taking view of the NYC skyline. “The Statue of Liberty was really cool! It was huge and the boat gave us a great view of the city.” Charlie Baker, Year 12
Our final attraction for today was one of New York’s most recognisable skyscrapers – The Empire State Building. The 102 story building stands 450 meters above the ground and gives amazing views of the city below. Beth expressed: “To experience the sights at night gives a different perspective of the city, as The Big Apple appears to the viewer as a vast sprawling of millions of tiny lightbulbs. It was a great way to end the last evening in New York.”
But... the trip was not over yet, as we still had a morning left to explore 5th Ave’s shops, Bloomingdales and Dylan’s Candy Bar. For those who had some dollars left, this was their last chance to purchase goods to remind them of their trip, although some of 5th Ave’s stores were slightly out of all our budgets: Tiffany’s, Dior and Cartier to name but a few!
Mrs Lavis, Mr Mitchell, Mr Marsh, Mr McLaughlin and Miss Pollett would like to thank every single student who came on the trip. Behaviour was fantastic, you were all great company and you were absolute troopers – despite the enormous amount of walking, you kept going with smiles on your faces and we really enjoying experiencing New York City with you!
“The sights are unbelievable! You don’t have enough eyes! The attractions are great and it is a once in a lifetime experience. You would never get a better offer.” Amelia Sokolowska, Year 10
“I loved the buzz of the city and exploring the sights. We were nearly swept off our feet by how much walking we did but it worth it for such a great time. Thanks again to the teachers.” Roza Mrozowska, Year 10
If you are interested in next year’s trip – New York 2017 – please see Mr Mitchell.