The New York Diaries - by Saskia Wadsworth-Smith.
50 Year 11 Dover Grammar Girls loose in New York City!
Oh my, was it an early start, clocks were set for 6am, mainly for last minute packing. Is it just me or do you always forget something when going abroad, yet you only seem to remember once you’re on the plane?
Anyway, I arrived bright and early for 8:15 on the coach, it was great to take your seat with all of your friends. I was so excited, the cameras and video recorders had all began capturing funny moments and we weren’t even at the airport yet. But it didn’t last for long, I forgot something, my inhaler for my asthma. OK, out of everyone on the coach you could see me, banging on the window trying to get Mums attention so she could run home and get it for me before we left. What a great start we were having, we were supposed to leave the school on the coach at 8:30, but were 10 minutes behind because of the inhaler tragedy, sorry mum =S.
A long time later, we were sitting on the plane, Zoom airlines. The name of the plane just got us more excited and it didn’t help the poor people sitting next to us. In fact, I felt incredibly sorry for them, imagine being stuck on a plane for 7 hours, in the middle of a bunch of screaming schoolgirls. Heaven, right? Hmm maybe not.
Anyway, after hours of movies and plane food which was, err, scrumptious? We arrived in JFK. All of us were tired but far to excited to sleep on the plane so everyone was feeling good. I for one, was not very happy when I discovered that my bright pink suitcase had been treated so badly, that it was now black. =( After my strop I was soon over excited again as we had met our tour guide. Our best friend, companion, and lifeline for our stay in New York, Mitch.
He was such a star, your typical American! He loved our names, my best friend Alison became known as Ali McBeel and myself Sasco! Anyway, we took a coach into Manhattan, this must have been around 18:30. It was breathtaking! Anything you could possibly imagine to be there was there. The coach took us to the Empire State building, which we did not expect to be doing straight away. After riding in the stomach lurching lifts we reached the top, well, as near to the top you can get. It was amazing, there really isn’t a word to describe it. Well, I suppose windy and cold for two. But the views were just outstanding.
It really is the city that never sleeps, you could see all the multi-coloured lights of New York City and Brooklyn Bridge, it was just simply overwhelming. You have to experience it yourself to really understand what I’m talking about. So it was time to get some American food and return to the hotel in New Jersey to have a truly deserved good nights sleep. Mitch kept us awake on the trip to the restaurant entertaining us with some stories of what has happened to himself and his friends in New York. He had us in stitches! After our pizza and the array of ice cream choices. Seriously, there were so many we could have spent hours choosing but eventually I went for the rainbow sherbet, delicious! And it looked so colourful!
Well, it was time to get back on the coach and to the hotel. By this time, we had all fallen asleep only to be woken by the teachers giving us a poke or two once we were there. We didn’t really have time to familiarize ourselves with the hotel room, we just drifted into a deep sleep.
Again it was an early morning, up bright and early for 7. I shared the room with my best friend Ali and two of my other friends Loren and Chelsy. I think we were the only room to organise a shower timetable that actually worked! Whoop go us!! So we were the first down for breakfast in the morning. What a breakfast it was. Waffles with syrup and the nicest biggest shiniest apples I have ever seen. =O
After we had finished we jumped on to the coach all equipped for the day ahead of us. The coach left New Jersey and we headed into New York. We cold not stop taking pictures of all the lovely buildings and the yellow taxis that our cameras had nearly run out of charge by the time we had arrived at Central Park. We went to Strawberry fields and saw the “Imagine” sign on the floor where John Lennon had lost his life. It was incredible. Central Park is so green and beautiful! We even sat on the fountain that was filmed in the credits for Friends!! Wow, that’s actually pretty cool lol.
After our trip to Central Park we were whisked away once more, but this time to Ground Zero. It was really touching and made you think about all the lives that were lost that day. The memorial plaques were beautiful and emotional. Each and everyone of us all had a tear in our eye. I was however, surprised at all of the construction that was now taking place on the site. Anyway, after that, we went for lunch in this place across the road. I wanted a salad so I decided to join the never ending queue. I have never had to order a salad feeling as distressed as I did. You had to know exactly what you wanted there and then within 30 seconds. I never thought I would be in such a panic over a salad before. Well, I guess there’s a first time for everything. And to be fair, the salad was delicious! Anyway after this our teachers decided that as we are typical girls, we could not leave New York without having the full shopping experience. So we decided to spend the rest of the day in Macys! It is incredibly big! We got lost about 100 times. But the amount of money I spent… Well I don’t think my Mum would approve of how much exactly but lets just say a lot =). How could you not though, its Macys, the biggest store in the world. Whatever you wanted was there! The prices weren’t that bad either. Okay enough excuses, I just love to shop, like any other girl =D.
Anyway after a few hours in the lovely Macys-which wasn’t enough-we had a coach to catch. Before we knew it we were on Broadway. The bright lights and advertisements for the array of different musicals were uncountable. There were so many musicals we wanted to see, the most popular amongst us all was “Legally Blonde, The Musical”, we couldn’t believe it. Our favourite girls night in movie was now a musical! Before we could talk about that any more, tickets were handed out. We were standing outside the Phantom Of the Opera Theatre! How exciting, we were about to see Phantom Of The Opera on Broadway! …….It was outstanding, I have never seen a show like it before. It was difficult to understand at first but we quickly began to understand what was happening. It was just great, the whole experience was incredible.
Another early start and another day to be stuffed full of waffles, ahh this is the life =). Well, today was the day to see all the museums. We headed off on the coach to the Guggenheim Museum. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures when we arrived but the artwork was great. Although it wouldn’t be everyone’s cup of tea, I’m a gallery sort of girl so I was kept interested throughout the whole time we spent in the museum, whereas my friends were dragging me off to the café or to the shop. It was a really interesting museum. Much more modern than I thought, it was more aimed towards photography than anything else, all great work though.
After our endless sketching time we were whisked away yet again to the Metropolitan Museum Of Modern Art. Which may I say it was massive! I must of got lost about a hundred times. Myself and my friend Loren were distracted by some paintings, we turned around, and our school group was gone. We were running around the museum looking for them. But you could end up walking around in circles. its so hard to find the right door or staircase. Well to sum up our time, it was great just the museum is too big to see in one day. It just gets too confusing. =D
Anyway after this Mitch headed to Chinatown. I have never been so scared in my life. People shouting at you that their store is cheaper and better than the rest. And when you try to haggle with the prices they end up shouting at you. So we returned to the coach too scared to go on… Mitch decided to not let us leave until we had successfully haggled and got some great bargains. So he gave us a few pointers. Number 1- When you ask how much it is and they tell you the price just laugh and walk away. They are bound to call you back. Number 2 - always half the price of what they are charging you. Number 3 - Never let them make you feel like you have to buy something. These were just his three main pointers. And Oh My did they work, I bought tons of stuff. Loads of presents and knock-offs. It was great.
Our final day in New York. Oh my gosh was it an early start. We got up around 6-6:30. The task that took most of our valuable time to get ready was trying to close our suitcases. Seriously. We had brought so many clothes, perfumes and presents for our friends and family that we actually couldn’t get our suitcases shut! But we perfected a routine which worked like a charm. We managed to do up the suitcases by having two of us sit on top of the case, then one pushing down on the zip, and the other to do up the zip. It sounds confusing but worked like a dream. Once we managed to get ready and sorted out our suitcases we all slowly clambered onto the coach. And it wasn’t long until we arrived at the ferry port that would take us past Ellis Island (we had a late start so we didn’t have time to stop there) and straight to the Statue of Liberty. I have never been so cold in my life. The ferry port was so windy, and it took us a year to get through security (its actually like airport security) so we missed our ferry. This put us an hour behind schedule.
If it wasn’t for this though, we wouldn’t have been able to see Leonardo DiCaprio. Well, that’s a white lie, maybe not him, but his apartment block! How cool is that… he totally could have seen us waving and blowing him kisses! Well we had finally got on the ferry and it was a very choppy day, many of us were getting sea sick at this point. Well we saw Ellis Island… exactly how it looked like on the movie Hitch, hehe =D. Then straight to the Statue of Liberty. Its actually quite small in reality, well to what I imagined anyway. After having fun and messing around on the island, it was on to the souvenir shop, to buy Statue of Liberty hats!! You cant go to see it without coming out with the headgear =) lol.
Well on to the ferry and back on the coach to drive to the airport. It was sad to wave goodbye to New York, it had become our home. We have always wanted to go to New York and now we were returning home. It wasn’t a nice feeling. We were down with the “lingo” as Mum says and even had picked up the accents. It was super. Mitch made the coach drive to the airport so funny. It was hilarious to look down the coach and see that everyone, including the teachers and our coach driver CJ were wearing the Statue of Liberty hats. At this time, we all had a sing song… name any song, past and present and we must have sang it. It ranged from all the Spice girls songs to Barry White. We all had such a laugh and ended up in stitches! We even perfected dance routines! Well, then we arrived at the airport, and after hours of waiting we finally got through security and were sitting on the plane. As the plane ascended I remember taking a last look at New York at night, beautiful.
It was an amazing trip and I definitely want to go back. It really is the experience of New York that has made my year. Sure it was only four days and it really wasn’t long enough. But to go with all my friends was great as I could share the amazing experience with them… Well err thanks for reading this, hope you liked my description of New York and if you have been there, then you will relate to this.
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