Our arrival in New York City seems an eternity ago… what an amazing and very full couple of days we have had. We arrived on Monday evening at our hotel, Pod 51, on East 51st Street and then bolted around the corner into 2nd Avenue for a quick Thai meal before bed. Tomorrow – Independence Day!
Happy 4th! Breakfast at Morning Star and then we were off to explore 5th Avenue and Central Park. We visited the Rockefeller Centre and St Patrick’s Church before pausing briefly to wonder at the armed guards and families seeking photos with them outside Trump Tower. Some couldn’t resist the urge to ‘make America great again’ and paid a visit. Others took the opportunity to browse the windows of Tiffany’s and Bergdorf Goodman.
We walked through Central Park to the Zoo and then caught the train to 161st Street – Yankee Stadium – for a baseball game! The Yankees took on the Toronto Blue Jays and it was a less than stellar performance for the home team with the Blue Jays winning 4-1. We followed the heaving crowd back to the subway and headed into Times Square. Eye-opening!! From there, we stopped briefly at the M & M store before walking back to the hotel. Our Independence Day ended as all good ones should – with fireworks on the East River. Standing near the United Nations Building, we had a great view of the spectacular Macy’s fireworks and we were only minutes from home!
An early morning saw us arrive at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum as it opened for the day. Several hours later, we all paused to draw breath. Such a life-changing event and one not necessarily in the lifetimes of all our students. Yang was born 12 September 2011 – the day after the attacks. The Museum is an extraordinary reminder of the shock, disbelief and overwhelming sadness that consumed the world that day. To hear the voice messages to loved ones from those in the South Tower moments before it collapsed, stops everyone in their tracks – nothing compares. Or to hear the survivors describe the heroism of the first responders who climbed the stairs knowing they may never make the return journey…everyone learns something about courage and about sacrifice. As we left the precinct, we paused by the Memorial Pools to reflect on the 3000 people who lost their lives that day in New York, at the Pentagon and on the deliberately crashed flight headed for Washington.
We walked from Trinity Church to Wall Street and then to the Staten Island Ferry to get a close-up of Lady Liberty! The trip across was breathtaking and reminded us why so many immigrants made the journey to America to find their freedom. Our One World Observatory visit was at 3pm – the day was bright and clear and the views Uptown, across to Brooklyn and Queens and across to New Jersey were spectacular. We needed to keep moving, however. Mark had to do his hair for the theatre!
Groundhog Day – the 1993 film starring Bill Murray – has been brought to the stage with music and lyrics by the incredibly talented Australian, Tim Minchin. It was, as DP will testify, an absolute hoot of a show. Andy Karl, perhaps known to you as Law & Order: SVU’s Mike Dodds, is an accomplished and successful musical performer and he was brilliant as Phil Connors, the weather man whose day in Punxsutawney just keeps on giving. We all had a great night on Broadway and it was a great way to finish our time in New York.