During ‘the fall’ of October 2016, thirty one pupils and five members of staff travelled across the Atlantic Ocean on what was a truly ‘awesome’ cultural experience.
The flight was smooth and our party was looked after by some wonderful Delta Airlines staff (we even had a welcoming announcement from the pilot).
After the monotonous diligence of customs control, a meandering bus journey took us to the heart of Manhattan in downtown New York. A quick change in our Hotel on 7th Avenue and we were off up ninety six floors to the top of the Empire State building. The night view of New York was exhilarating as pupils and staff began to feel the buzz of the city.
Our first full day was planned around discovering the sites of New York. After a hearty breakfast in Grand Central station, the party travelled by tube to Battery Park. We purchased the necessary trinkets and gifts from the sellers and were ferried to Liberty Island to see the enigmatic Statue of Liberty. It was a beautiful, crisp, sunny afternoon as in small groups, we made our way around the island. Once back in Battery Park we met our guide for the evening. Anthony was a stylish New Yorker who spoke with a wealth of experience and knowledge of the city. We visited Wall Street and had time for reflection at ground zero. A bus tour then took us from the financial district to Tribeca, Little Italy, Soho and on to Times Square. After witnessing some lively, interactive street performers we enjoyed tea at the Hard Rock Caf .
The next day the group divided in two, as the dancers waltzed off to perform with specialists, including a professional dancer in a downtown dance studio for the day. The artists refuelled in Dunkin’ Donuts before appreciating the many pieces of public art on display en route to MOMA (the Museum of Modern Art) and the Guggenheim Museum. It was a fantastic experience to see so many famous artworks up close.
The whole group met up in Times Square for tea in Planet Hollywood.
Our final day in the ‘Big Apple’ saw a frenzy of purchases, as the dismal exchange rate of the pound to the dollar did nothing to hamper the spending power of the group. All pupils were clearly in their comfort zone as the bundles of ‘green’ were exchanged for an array of luxury items and gifts.
Before we knew it we were being whisked off by coach to the airport. During the overnight flight back to Manchester pupils were able to reflect on those instant memories, as thoughts started to shift to the excitement of seeing their friends and family to share what was a memorable experience for all.