On Friday morning, as we prepared to leave New York, we had to check our thinking… had we really only been in this extraordinary city for two days? What an adventure!
After an uneventful, but nonetheless exceptionally long, flight we arrived at our hotel – Pod 51 – at about 7pm on Tuesday evening. We settled in and then headed to a great Thai restaurant on 2nd Avenue. A reasonably early night was required – tomorrow was a big day.
And a happy 4th July it was. A big American breakfast at the Morning Star was followed by a very necessary long walk (!!) up 5th Avenue to the Rockefeller Centre, past Trump Tower, Tiffany’s and Bergdorf-Goodman to Central Park. We enjoyed our leisurely stroll through this most amazing park, past the Zoo and to The Met. We then caught the train to Yankee Stadium where a sell-out crowd enjoyed a 6-2 win to the Yankees against the Braves. Home via Grand Central Station, the Chrysler Building and the UN. We found a great Mexican restaurant around the corner and then headed to the East River for the Macy’s spectacular fireworks display. A great way to end a fabulous Independence Day.
An early start on Thursday, saw us at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum as it opened for the day. The Museum is an extraordinary reminder of the impact that day had on the world… an impact felt to this very day. The overwhelming sense of disbelief, shock and sadness resonates at every turn – from the voice messages to loved ones from those in the South Tower before it collapsed , to the baby clothes recovered from the wreckage that crushed a section of the Pentagon, to the charred boarding pass of one of the terrorists, to the twisted remains of Ladder 13… no-one leaves untouched by the devastation, the courage of first responders and the sacrifices made by so many on that day. As we left the precinct, we paused by the Memorial Pools to reflect on the 3000 lives lost that day in New York, at the Pentagon and on the deliberately crashed flight headed for Washington. A single rose placed in an etched name on the south pool reminded us that families are still grieving, still questioning, always remembering.
We walked from Trinity Church, down Wall Street to the Staten Island Ferry to get our close-up of the Statue of Liberty. A quick round-trip and then we were on the E Train to the Museum of Modern Art. With the hours in the day dwindling and our Broadway show starting at 7pm, we only had an hour in this glorious art space. Everyone was tasked with returning with one artwork that they could share and discuss its impact. Such a memorable experience!
We managed a quick trip back to the hotel to freshen up before heading to the Al Herschfeld Theatre for Kinky Boots – what a show… brilliant and thoroughly enjoyed by all. We decided we could manage the walk home via the chaotic and eye-opening Times Square… and ended the day with a very, very late dinner of New York pizza!! A huge day…
As the Summer Challenge gang head to Boston and the NSLC crew travel to Washington. The next stage of the east coast US Study Tour begins.