An eventful trip to the Big Apple
During half term the Sixth Form English and Drama students departed for the bright lights of New York City. We had been looking forward to the trip for many weeks: a visit promising action packed days seeing famous landmarks and Broadway shows. However, with Hurricane Sandy hitting at the start of the trip, it became far more eventful than planned!
On the first day of half term we packed our bags and flew into JFK. We went straight to top of the Empire State Building, taking in breathtaking views across NYC. However, little did we know that this first day would be the only one that went exactly as planned!
The next day was action-packed with a trip to the Statue of Liberty and the Ellis Island Immigration Museum, although many students made the culturally enhancing decision to spend the majority of the time in the museum cafe stocking up on burgers and hotdogs (the fuel of the trip!).
As we left Ellis Island we had our first group drama: suddenly realising that not all the pupils were on the ferry. But the group was thankfully soon reunited. In the evening we were treated to the first Broadway performance of the trip: Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The acting was excellent and everyone enjoyed the many twists in the plot. While we watched the play there was drama outside as the hurricane hit the New York coast. Places we had been in the morning began to flood.
The next day Hurricane Sandy continued to make its way through New York. In the morning Mr Green informed the group we had "A big day planned…we are staying in the hostel!" In times like these, team bonding occurs. The time flew by as we watched "The Day After Tomorrow" (it seemed like an appropriate film!). During the hurricane we had feared that we would struggle to get meals but luckily Domino's still delivers in hurricanes!
As the hostel was situated just off Times Square, an area very close to the evacuation zone, we prepared for the potential devastation and trauma the hurricane could wreak – but instead all we saw was torrential drizzle! However, the day after the hurricane we walked round the city to take in the chaos it had caused. We saw fallen trees, crushed cars, a crane dangling from a skyscraper and entire avenues deserted. Despite everything in New York being closed we still found this day fascinating. We got a unique look at a New York that was not bustling. The city that never sleeps was snoozing. We saw the stock market where every share read "0.00" as it had closed for the first time since 9/11.
As the trip progressed we had more and more fun and the activities got better and better. We went to MOMA and saw inspiration artwork like The Scream. We went to the Met and saw even more art and historical artifacts. We had a drama workshop with a cast member from Chicago. We saw two further Broadway productions. Chaplin, a relatively new Broadway show with singing, dancing, roller-skating and even occasional tightrope walking. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing Chicago; you could not fail to be impressed by the dancing, singing and acting. Throughout the trip we enjoyed dining in various restaurants. Bubba Gump, Carnegie's and The Hard Rock Cafe were group favourites but without Domino's hurricane deliveries, we may not have survived!
As the hurricane caused huge flight disruption our trip became greatly extended. It was not exactly a disappointment to be stuck in NYC. The teachers worked hard to make sure we always had activities to do and accommodation. The pupils who were on the trip would like to thank Mr Green, Miss Cullen and Miss Bellamy who did a fantastic job keeping spirits up and organising activities that we all loved. Luckily we were moved to The Bedford Hotel from our hostel, a move that no one objected to!
Being situated just off Fifth Avenue, one of the many perks of the trip was shopping. Everyone returned with heavier suitcases as the group spent many evenings wandering along Fifth Avenue or around Times Square. We took shopping trips to Macy's and Bloomingdales too. Many pupils used retail therapy to recover from the trauma of the hurricane!
Despite the numerous obstacles that kept changing our plans, the New York trip was a huge success. We always had something amazing to do despite the difficult circumstances. There was never a dull moment and we all agreed it was the best school trip ever.
We are all very aware however that we were very fortunate to get back safely. A huge number of homes were still without power when we left, many had been flooded and over seventy people died in the US as a result of the hurricane.