USA-English, Maths, MediaPosted on: February 13th 2016
As our theatre experience from the night before was still fresh in our mind, we took a walk to Ellen's Stardust Diner for our morning breakfast. Ellen's Stardust Diner is a retro 1950s theme restaurant located on Broadway and in the centre of the Theatre District in Manhattan. The Diner is regarded as one of the best theme restaurants in New York owing to its singing waitstaff.
We then took the Big Bus tour around Manhattan, enjoying the views of a snowy Central Park and listening to a commentary from the ice queen of a tour guide on the 'history' of the city. After taking the long route through Harlem, after passing Strawberry Fields and 55 Central Park West which was the hotel used in Ghostbusters as "Spook Central" where the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man met his gelatinous doom, we alighted at the famous Guggenheim museum of modern art. Safe to say, as a trip dominated by maths students, not many students 'got' the somewhat pretentious contents which included a series of clay figures and a giant egg, more akin to a Year 8 Art project than a world renowned museum!
After taking the Big Bus back to Times Square students were allowed to explore New York within a rectangle with "lovely vertices" as the snow continued to fall creating a picturesque winter wonderland. A group of students took the opportunity to visit Junior's - home of New York's best cheesecake. These students were therefore still full as we arrived at Bucca di Beppo for our evening meal accompanied by our surprise guest of honour.....Mr Hughill! Reunited with Sale Grammar's ex-French teacher we were reluctant to leave him for our nighttime bus tour but Miss De-Bouraah soon lifted our spirits. An amalgamation between Big Momma and Aretha Franklin, our hilarious tour guide treated us to outbursts of song (I Will Survive and YMCA) as well as sound life advice (to avoid $10 'oregano'). Harrison Hughes was disappointed to leave Miss De-Bouraah on the tour bus, as his affection for the older and fuller lady was clearly evident as he enticed her with his Anglo-Italian charm.
Another busy day complete and more activities await the students on Tuesday.
Students arrived at Manchester airport at 8.00am in an eclectic mix of fashion statements. Some had been very practical and had listened to the advice of the teachers by layering up with hats, gloves, scarves preparing for the sub zero New York temperatures. Others had attire more akin to holiday wear - hoodie, top, leggings, jeans - and very basic when considering the temperatures which we were going to encounter. Lamis, on the other hand, had decided to follow the New York dress-sense by glamming up in a faux-fur coat, high heels, large handbag and sunglasses positioned perfectly on her head! This won't be the last time your hear about Lamis!
The Delta flight was excellent and our students were able to sample the individual in-flight entertainment screens to pass away the 7h20 minute flight. Most chose to watch new release movies or current TV box sets. Delta had also sat the school party at the back of the plane, so the majority of the group were in close proximity to each other. Well done Mrs Boyle for organising the seats as this was part of the trips risk assessment which Delta took seriously - well you never hear about a plane reversing into a mountain do you? A few members of the public were scattered between us, but as always our students were very well behaved and a credit to their parents and our school. I negotiated with Mrs Sallabank to swap seats as I noticed she was sat near the black box. This is considered to be the safest seat on the plane; think about it - they always announce on the news that they've discovered the black box, so if I'm on top of it, then they'll find me too! At the time Mrs Sallabank was happy with the extra leg room at the front of the plane, although she later revealed that she didn't rate the inflight entertainment because her arms were too short to reach the touch screen entertainment screen!
So we landed in NYC and proceeded through security. Mrs Boyle and I headed the queue and were asked by a member of the US airport security staff organising the long filed line, expecting a simple response:
Security: "How many in your party?"
Mrs Boyle: "Er, 45!"
Security: (in your best American accent) "Gee, this may take a while!"
We were soon collecting our luggage and were met by our city guide and coach transfer. Within metres of walking towards the exit our students were able to experience the sub-zero temperatures for the first time. Unsurprisingly the hoodie, top and leggings combination didn't really give much protection to the ice cold climate!
A 35-minute journey, took us to the heart of Manhattan Island. Everywhere we looked, an enormous building shadowed the streets and avenues within the vast concrete jungle. Arriving at the Row Hotel we were met by the concierge, allowing students a quick 30-minute turn around before meeting back in the lobby for our 5pm meal at HB Burger. The walk to our restaurant took us past Times Square, which was a hive of activity, brightly adorned billboards, advertisements and thousands of people jostling for pictures within a small area of skyscraper buildings.
The meal and service at HB Burger was excellent. Our group sat altogether in an area away from the public and enjoyed each other's social company safe in the knowledge that we weren't disturbing anyone. Following the meal, we decided to have an hour seeing the shops and sites of Times Square. Times Square is a major commercial intersection in Midtown Manhattan. Times Square is sometimes referred to as The Crossroads of the World, and one of the world's busiest pedestrian intersections. It is also the hub of the Broadway Theatre District and a major centre of the worlds entertainment industry. Times Square is one of the world's most visited tourist attractions, drawing an estimated 50 million visitors annually and approximately 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily. Thanks Wikipedia! The biggest challenge for the students was keeping warm, which gave them the perfect excuse to wander into every shop to have a browse and readjust their body temperature.
Before too long the staff and students had walked bristly back to the hotel and checked back into their rooms for an early night. A 10.00am meet after breakfast awaits the students before a sightseeing tour on a hop-on-hop off around Manhattan on Valentines Day.