A trip to the Big Apple

NYC1

During Easter, 43 students flew to New York to spend 4 days in the Big Apple, soaking up all the sights and experience life as a New Yorker. On the 1st April, 43 students set off on a once in a lifetime trip to New York City. The coach set off from school at 6:30am to reach Heathrow by 1pm. After some healthy retail therapy, lunch and an encounter with Warwick Davis, we were ready to board the plane. We flew with Virgin Atlantic from Heathrow airport on an eight hour flight and landed at JFK. Year 10 student, Charlotte Rossall reports on her trip over the pond.

DAY 1 in NYC

Morningstar Café

Every morning we woke up really early as we had lots of activities and sightseeing to do. Early the next morning, it was time for a brisk walk to a local diner down 'the block' for breakfast, traditional American combination of bacon, pancakes and maple syrup! It was really nice and the portions were huge!

Liberty & Ellis Islands

First we went to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, to see one of the most famous and iconic sights of the Big Apple. The towering sight of Lady Liberty had us all in awe – and made for some amazing photo opportunities! After an audio tour and walk around Liberty Island, we embarked on another ferry to visit Ellis Island and the museum, where we learnt about the immigrants entering New York.

9/11 Museum and Memorial

Due to the terrorist attacks on the USA in 2001 the security is very strict in New York. A very emotional visit was to Ground Zero. We all separated and found learning about what had happened very interesting. This also proved to be extremely powerful, putting into perspective how much attacks like this affect people, as we learnt the individual stories of those who lost their lives in the tragedy. There was a huge mosaic that read “No day shall erase you from the memory of time”. One of the rooms had pictures of all who had lost their lives; this is a shocking 3000 people. Outside the museum were the two fountain memorials, placed in the foundations of the old twin towers. It was truly breath taking to see the names of all the victims placed around the sides of the foundations.

Overlooking the memorials is the One World Trade Centre, our next stop. Built in 2013, it is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere and has amazing 360° views of New York. We saw all of the sky scrapers and landmarks from our position.

Times Square & Broadway Show

A quick ride on the subway, and we were standing in Times Square, with bright lights and billboards surrounding us and street artists lining the streets. The atmosphere was amazing and really showed the culture and diversity of New York City. It was soon time to go and see “School of Rock” on Broadway. The musical was amazing and full of talent; all the children played their instruments live, showing incredible skills on the drums, guitar, bass and more! The show was an incredible experience and extremely entertaining.

Planet Hollywood

Once the show had ended, we made our way to Planet Hollywood for tea. There were costumes from The Titanic, The Hunger Games and Forest Gump. The food was lovely, with a choice of chicken strips, macaroni cheese or a hamburger, which showed the true American feel of the restaurant. That drew a conclusion to the action packed first day and our inital experience of the big city.

 

DAY 2 in NYC

St Patrick’s Cathedral

The next day started similarly, a trip to the Morningstar Diner and a brisk walk to our next destination. The first place that we entered was St Patrick’s Cathedral, the largest Catholic Cathedral in the USA. The cathedral was opened in 1879 and is located in the middle of the city, with skyscrapers towering over it. The stonework and stained glass, as well as the sheer size of the cathedral is incredible and the building has an aura of calmness and serenity.

 

Central Park

The next stop was a walk down 5th Avenue. We were able to window shop, and stare at the amazing (and expensive!) clothes, shoes and jewellery. After our walk down the famous avenue, we made our way to Central Park. The weather was amazing and allowed for us to bask in the sun. We played frisbee, rounders and tennis in the park as we stayed there for hours, enjoying the general atmosphere of the park. The difference between the bustling city and the park is very strange as suddenly skyscrapers are replaced with trees and concrete is replaced by grass.

The UN building

After lunch we made our way to the UN for our guided tour which was extremely interesting. We saw the Security Council and the General Assembly – learning about discussions and treaties past and present. There are many interesting pieces of art inside and outside of the building from different countries such as Italy, China and Luxembourg.

Shopping!

The last stop of the day was Woodbury Common, for shopping. We spent hours browsing and buying many different things, from jewellery to cosmetics. After ‘shopping till we dropped’ we got on the coach for the ride back to the hotel, with entertainment from the teachers!

DAY 3 in NYC

Grand Central Station

Our last day in New York was kicked off with a visit to Grand Central Station, the scene for many iconic movies and TV shows, such as Gossip Girl. The terminal was like a human anthill, with many bustling commuters going about their journeys. There was also a market and many different shops included in the huge station.

 

NBC Studio Tour & the Rockefeller Centre

For our final tourist stop of the trip, we made our way to Rockefeller Plaza, for the NBC Studio Tour and Top of the Rock. We went up 266 metres into an open air viewing point. Unfortunately it was freezing cold and we couldn't see anything because of clouds! However, it was a great experience.

Also in the Rockefeller Centre we had a tour of the NBC studios, from where they film American chat shows. The studio tour was amazing. We visited the set of Saturday Night Live, the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and many more. We learnt about the different processes needed for making TV shows and then we made our own chat shows!

On behalf of all the students who went, we would like to say a huge thank you to all of the staff that helped on the trip, especially Mrs Kalinski who organised the whole trip. It was an experience that none of us will ever forget.

 

@SaintAidansCEHS

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