Students from Years 10 to 13 recently returned from a visit to New York and Washington. Read Reeve's review and highlights of this fantastic trip.
On the 23rd October, students from Years 10-13 touched down in one of the world’s most famous, and historic cities: New York. A first visit for many of us, the so called ‘Big Apple’ had a lot to live up to - creating an atmosphere of excitement, and anticipation, as we crossed the bridge leading into its heart: ‘in its first wild promise of all the mystery and beauty in the world’ (to quote F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby).
Later that night, after first settling in, we set off for Times Square, cameras at the ready, and wrapped in layer upon layer to oppose the bitter cold. Nowhere fully encapsulates the city better than Times Square. We were in awe of its bright lights and neon signs; after a small photoshoot we headed back to the hotel.
Day two was our first true look at New York, seeing the serene nature of Central Park on a cold but sunny day is a memory that will last a lifetime. Our visit to Central Park was part of our Great Gatsby themed guided walking tour, a part of the trip very much appreciated by the English Literature students. The rest of the day involved an insight into how the US TV channel NBC operates from the Rockerfeller Center and an exploration of Midtown Manhattan. Following a meal at a typical family-run Italian restaurant, we visited the Empire State Building. This was one of the most memorable parts of the trip for everyone, the beauty of New York at night is difficult to capture on camera.
On day three some students opted to take part in a jogging tour of the newly constructed High Line Park, before the whole group took the subway to the 9/11 Memorial Museum. Seeing the artefacts and hearing the stories behind the event, in the place it happened, is one of the most educational experiences we’ve ever had. Following a trip on the Staten Island Ferry, passing the Statue of Liberty, the group headed to watch Kinky Boots on Broadway. As a first experience of Broadway, ‘Kinky Boots’ was an excellent spectacle.
On our final day in New York, we strolled across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge before seeing a new side to the city while travelling through, and dining in, Chinatown. This was our last experience of New York on the trip, as shortly after we departed for Washington D.C.
Arriving in Washington D.C., we promptly stretched our legs and laid eyes on our hotel. The Hilton Garden Inn, a larger hotel than the Holiday Inn we stayed at in New York. Compared to New York, the Washington leg of the trip showed us the more factual and political side of the United States; where New York had given us comic book stores and culture, Washington offered us the wonderful Folger Shakespeare Library and the famous Capitol Building. I noticed that Washington D.C. was, surprisingly, a lot calmer than I expected from the capital city of the world’s only superpower. The skies shone a picturesque blue and the grass was a vibrant green. Washington proved a different type of beauty to New York.
On the first day, we visited a few museums and became acquainted with US history. We learnt about the history of the nation. The Air and Space Museum was fascinating, as we learnt about the history of flight in the country it was born in. After visiting the museum, we also visited the Folger Shakespeare Library, again a part of the itinerary that proved informative to the English Literature students. The day ended with a much-needed shopping trip to the mall!
Our final full day in D.C. was filled with more museums, including the impressive journalism museum, the ‘Newseum’, which had not long opened. This visit enabled us to see various interesting pieces of history, such as parts of the Berlin Wall. Later that evening, some students opted to take part in a scenic night walk of the monuments and memorials.
The trip ended by being quite informative and educational, teaching us about the history of America and its culture, along with other useful experiences that only a trip like this could teach us.
By Reeve Taylor – Lower Sixth Form Student