After months of waiting, Friday 15th February 2019 had finally arrived and we departed Manchester on a short domestic flight to Heathrow, after a quick breakfast it was time to take a transatlantic flight to JFK. We arrived at our hotel situated in the up and coming area of ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ and after a speedy check-in we took a short stroll to Times Square which even in the daylight made a lasting impression on the students. It was then back to the hotel for an early night in preparation for Saturday.
Our first venture on the subway went without any hitches as we headed down to Battery Park and then a cold but sunny ferry ride to Liberty Island and an obligatory photo shoot. A guided tour through the financial district followed, the mood then took on a poignant turn when visiting the 9/11 memorial. The two huge pools at the base of the former twin towers gave pause for reflection. There have been many developments in this area since our last visit and it was exciting to see the One World Trade Centre and the $4 billion Oculus station house, designed by Santiago Calatrava, which consists of white ribs that interlock high above the ground, a real treat for our would be architects and engineers. We made our way to Brooklyn Bridge, the Supreme Court building and then the tour concluded with a thrilling visit to China Town, where we were treated to the colourful Chinese New Year celebrations. The day ended with a walk through Little Italy.
On Sunday we were welcomed by Applebee’s for breakfast and students found it difficult to choose from the many typically American dishes on offer, needless to say the portions were large. A stroll past Columbus Circle, the Dakota building and through Central Park to the John Lennon memorial brought us to the AMNH. The Rockefeller Centre was our main afternoon visit which ended with a ride to the Top of the Rock where we were greeted by one of the most impressive views of the city, the sun obviously helped. Students were then given the opportunity to do a little shopping before heading back to get ready for the evening, which comprised of another photo opportunity at Grand Central and dinner at Ruby Tuesdays on Times Square.
The world famous Macy’s via the iconic Flatiron building awaited us the next morning, Monday had been set aside as the main shopping day for students so that they could take advantage of the bargains available on Presidents’ Day and they certainly did. It was then back to the hotel to get ready for our final evening in New York. Naturally, the students chose to spend their final night in Times Square.
After checking out of the hotel we made our way to the UN via Grand Central, we had the opportunity to sit in the General Assembly and in the chambers of ECOSOC, the guided tour was fascinating and enlightening. A number of students left with the hope that they would one day be able to contribute to the work of this organisation and certainly left with a better understanding of the impact the UN has on the principles of law and order, peace and fairness. One last shopping opportunity followed and it was time to meet the coach for our late night flight back home.
Throughout the visit, students from a range of subjects widened their knowledge and also developed their ability and confidence to navigate a vibrant and bustling city with an average step count of 22,000 per day. Many have already started to plan their next NY visit. If you would like to see more photographs, please take a look at @Marys2Manhattan.