On the first day of our expedition to New York the Etone contingent gathered in the car park at 3am. With blurry eyes and pre-breakfast smiles, there was sleepy enthusiasm as the group made the way on coach to Terminal 5 of Heathrow Airport. The drive was over quickly with the empty roads and arrived at our first destination.
Thankfully a fairly speedy check in process led us to the departure lounge. For some pupils it was their first time in an airport, which was a delight to see he wonder and excitement on their faces. We can only apologise for Mr Bowley’s instance to apply examples to the Business Studies world at every point (top marks for passion though Sir). It was also here where Team Dame Elizabeth Cadbury joined us for the ride.
After the boarding call for flight BA175 all pupils settled in for a safe and speedy journey. With highlights including entertainment from Barbie to Oppenheimer (with one pupil who shall go unnamed, watching both…TWICE), to enjoying snacks and sharing stories of what we hope to find in New York spirits were high.
After the arrival lounge, a quick bus ride took us to the Manhattan at Times Square. The beautiful hotel is nestled slightly off Times Square in a wonderfully picturesque part of the city. Pupils had the chance for a quick pit stop before the afternoons events.
A simple walk up 10 blocks (sounds less then it felt), we arrived at Summit 1, a building called the Vanderbilt, a 73 story skyscraper opened in 2020. As pupils made their way through the slightly scary tunnel and into the lift they did not quite realise the wonder that awaited them. For the views of the Empire State, the skyline and the entire city were…Astonishing. We have to say that no amount of words will do justice to how relaxing and awe inspiring the view was. Along with the view and photo opportunities pupils got to experience some relaxation methods including their balloon room, where the teachers were perhaps unfairly, the targets.
As we rounded out the day it was time to go to the TickTock diner for a traditional American cuisine experience. With foods from the staple burger and chips, to the Italian-American en parmigiana. The food was delicious and a nice end to the day.
With pupils all settled and tucked up in their beds, the teachers dispersed ready for Day 2.
On the second day of our New York adventure, our pupils got to explore some of the landmarks of American history. After breakfast at the hotel, we traveled on the subway for what would be their initiation as a New Yorker. We have to say that the way our pupils navigated through the process was impeccable.
Upon exit we arrived at Battery Park, the location of Castle Clinton and our ferry for a tour of Liberty Island and Ellis Island. The breeze from the Hudson was refreshing and the views – breathtaking. To see New York at is best, with the sun shining as we reflected on our time so far in the Big Apple.
Upon arrival at Liberty pupils had the chance to explore the island, history and of course take some iconic Statue of Liberty selfies. The statue itself was another breathtaking moment to see her in all her beauty, a symbol of strength and freedom not just for America but the world. One pupil even made the link to American vales and British values, summing up the similarities between the two nations.
The ferry then took us on where the pupils got a chance to see Ellis Island and reflect on how those immigrating to America would have felt, on a boat in a similar position. The gift of hope and a chance to build your own dream.
Upon arrival back to Battery Par, we enjoyed a lunch stop at a very speedy McDonalds, we arrived at the World Trade Centre. The views of the building were stunning as it rose into the sky, however what sat behind them was the destination for a very emotional and poignant visit. The 9/11 Memorial Museum was built following one of the most tragic events of the century. As impressive as the site was, it was hard to detach the feeling of sadness that echo’s around the area.
For many 9/11 was a day that would never be forgotten, as staff shared what they were doing on the day of it. For the pupils in our group, they of course were aware of the event but not perhaps the full gravity before the visit. The introduction all video in the centre looked to provide summary of the events on that fateful day. Pupils said after, they could not quite believe how big an event on that scale could be. Touring the exhibits was of course heartfelt and we are proud to say our pupils showed Etone Values being respectful and reflective throughout.
Finally, the day rounded off with a visit to the Hard Rock Cafe where we enjoyed an American feast before walking back through Time Square in all of it’s glory. With excitement in the air, the pupils departed for bed and to prepare for tomorrow with the all important shopping trip.
The day once again began with the sun shining down on the beautiful city of New York. As a special treat we made our way to Bubba Gump Shrimp, the restaurant inspired by the business from the classic Forrest Gump. Whilst shrimps were off the menu, the guys got the chance to dig into bacon, eggs and potatoes for a hearty American breakfast.
After filling ourselves up and exploring the restaurant, it was time to head in Central Park. Once again the full bursts of the city was prominent as we explored the surrounding area before our pupils had the special treat to – Ice Skate in park. With a range of confident skaters to first time novices, the highlight of course was Mr Bowley’s hilarious first steps on the ice.
After a stop off in Times Square for lunch, we headed over to 34th Street for the worlds biggest department store…Macy’s – Where we were literally shopping till we dropped. Souvenirs, presents and of course treats for ourselves were the order of the day. The magnitude of the store and surrounding areas really is something to behold.
Finally, our evening meal at Dallas Texas Barbecue was served with pupils tucking into delicious foods including corn bread. As our pupils departed to their rooms to pack ready for what the final day holds.
As we looked to enter our final day in New York City, our pupils had the chance to grab a Starbucks before heading out to walk the high-line. The route gave us a chance to walk along the historic tracks and view some truly great sights of the city.
Onward from there, a visit to the Grand Central Terminal allowed us to view the iconic location in full glory. Pupils taking the chance to complete some prime photo opportunities.
Finally there was time for one last shopping visit to Times New Square where Sephora, Urban Outfitters and Pele were the key targets. Of course with funds running low and energy used up, we returned to the hotel for final checks before the bus to the airport.
As time drew to an end on our New York adventure our pupils had the chance to reflect on key memories, highlights and the friendships forged through this cross trust collaboration.