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Posted on: February 13th 2016


An Englishman in New York Day 3

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.
Whilst Wikipedia will be factual, a delightful overdose of showbiz would be more appropriate. Singing waiters mesmerised everyone with songs from hit shows such as Little Shop of Horrors, Wicked and Disney's Frozen. Miss Penny "loved every moment" even if it did come a close second to the Math(s) museum.

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.


An Englishman in New York Day 2
Our students are fantastic! -12 temperatures and not one moan or groan as we embarked on a 7-mile walk around New York City. We decided to change the plans on Valentine's Day as we couldn't imagine sitting on an open top bus tour for 3 hours and we also had to stimulate the students minds before visiting the Museum of Mathematics! Yes, that isn't a typing error, there is a museum dedicated to Math(s)! Unsurprisingly, the Museum of Math(s) is the only museum in the world solely dedicated  to Math(s).
However, before this, we took a long walk down 5th Avenue toward the Worlds Biggest Department Store - Macy's. En-route, many of the students had decided to upgrade their hats and gloves with purchases from the many street sellers. Lamis still wore her sunglasses and continued to fit into the New York fashion scene with her glamorous attire. Most other students resembled teddy-bears as their copious layers created a more cuddly appearance.
Within seconds of arriving at Macy's, we noticed the iconic Empire State Building towering above us splitting the clear blue sky like Mr Heslop standing in a crowd of people.
Lunchtime soon came and went, as we continued our walk towards the Flatiron Building and the Museum of Math(s). The Maths department couldn't contain their excitement when entering the museum. A plethora of different interactive mathematical and scientific puzzles intrigued our group and even the English and Media students found some entertainment and competition with the tasks available to them.
On leaving the museum, Charlotte Fitzgerald become group leader and directed the group North on 5th Avenue towards 42nd Street and to the New York Public Library. The New York Public Library (NYPL) is the second largest public library in the United States and fourth largest in the world. The NYPL is used in the opening scene of Ghostbusters, as Venkman, Stanz and Spenglar encounter their first spirit and race out of the library in fear after trying to communicate with the ghost!
An early meal at Planet Hollywood in Times Square prepared the students for a 20 minute walk to the Broadway Theatre to watch Fiddler on the Roof. The story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family's lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, as I'm sure most parents can empathises, who wish to marry for first love - each one's choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith - and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village. The singing, music and in particular the male dancing was phenomenal. Much of the production and theatre razzmatazz was experienced in the first half of the show as the second half centred on a more serious storyline.
A tiresome day enabled our students to wander back to the hotel and get a good nights sleep before Monday's itinerary awaits.

Day 1

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.

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