New York prize winners' trip, November 2010
By Charlotte, Jonathan and Shraddha from Thomas Deacon Academy, Peterborough
Saturday 20th November 2010
We met at Peterborough station ready to catch the train to London. It was a long train journey and we were all very excited, anticipating getting on the plane and flying to JFK airport.
We arrived at the terminal in good time, and had an hour or so amongst the shops, just time for a quick mooch and a bite to eat. We all sat and talked about what could possibly be waiting for us in New York.
The gates finally opened and we were soon making our way down the aisles of the plane and then up in the air and on our way to the US of A! There was plenty of food and drink on the plane, and the in-flight entertainment meant that we all had plenty to keep us amused on the long flight.
As we drove in the direction of Manhattan, the skyline loomed and we were all amazed at how beautiful it looked, all lit up in the dark. We couldn’t wait to get checked in to our hotel and have a wander.
Close to the hotel was Macy’s and after a left turn and a five minute walk, we found ourselves in Times Square! It was absolutely amazing, and the lights and signs were incredible. We were excited to start looking around and experiencing everything, but as we were so tired, we decided to retreat back to the hotel and explore another day.
Sunday 21st November 2010
We were going on a bus tour around lower Manhattan, and managed to see plenty of sights on the way including the Empire State Building, China Town and Little Italy. We got off at the lower part of the tour, and decided to catch a ferry out to the Statue of Liberty. We managed to get a good look and took lots of pictures of the iconic statue.
After a quick bite to eat we made our way up to Macy’s department store. It was absolutely huge – 11 storeys and took up the whole block. Everything was adorned with Christmas decorations and the shop was mobbed with Christmas shoppers - it was crazy!
That evening we took a night time tour bus around lower Manhattan and Brooklyn. It was very interesting and in the dark we got a beautiful view of the Brooklyn Bridge all lit up alongside the New York skyline. The tour guide pointed out some of the apartments in Brooklyn and how many celebrities live there. We all eyed the beautifully situated apartments with envy.
We arrived back in Times Square and after a short walk back to our hotel we were free to collapse in bed, ready for the next day!
Monday 22nd November
Another early start as we prepared to set off out of the city to visit a local school we had developed links with. We were greeted by the Head Teacher who took us on a tour. We also presented our business idea to the 8th graders and answered all their questions on school life in England.
When back in Manhattan we caught the tour bus around Central Park to the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where we visited Columbia University, one of the top universities in the world. The highly impressive old buildings were extremely striking amongst the modern atmosphere of the city. It was truly outstanding and I can imagine it to be an exceptional place to study.
To end the day we walked around the main shopping area of New York and even experienced a fake snow shower outside the Tiffany’s store. The girls were scarily excited by the prospect of visiting the multi-storey Abercrombie and Fitch store so we spent about an hour waiting for them to finish trying clothes on. We also walked over to the Rockefeller centre for the first time to see what we would be travelling up the following day and were very impressed and slightly worried. As cheesy as it sounds, Alicia Keys was right when she said that ‘these lights will inspire you.’ I will never forget walking the streets of New York at night; it was breathtaking.
Tuesday 23rd November
Up early and dressed in our school uniform, we made sure we looked presentable for our big visit to Goldman Sachs. Being one of the biggest banking investment companies, we definitely wanted to impress, so we all sat down and discussed questions and generally prepared for the presentation. We arrived early at the Goldman Sachs building; with silence in the air we were afraid to move, but after receiving our visitor badges we were greeted by two lovely, cheerful staff. As we made our way up, we saw the building from all angles; it seemed to be a scene from a movie.
We were welcomed by one of the Vice-Presidents who showed us to some refreshments and introduced us to the business. The Vice-President insisted he was blown away by the sophistication of our questions. The silence definitely was broken when we stepped into the buzz of the trading floor, with people shouting to each other across the room. Then it was our turn to shine, making our presentation. The Goldman Sachs team seemed very impressed with the idea, claiming it was a very viable business. It was lovely seeing the building, and getting an insight to what it’s like, as it inspired me as the building I would like to work in someday.
With the main task completed for the day, we quickly did a spot of shopping. With some ‘I heart New York’ tops ready to go into the suitcase, we all got changed out of our uniforms and with our energy back we walked to the Rockefeller Centre for our Top of the Rock experience. As we walked around we saw presentations about the historical building, but the highlight had to be the view – it was beautiful. As the sun began to set, you really noticed the magic in this city. The sight was another picture moment. Combined with the sight of Times Square, it had to be the best and most gorgeous view of the trip.
As the trip came to a close, we couldn’t resist taking a trip into M&M's World and the Disney Store. Then, with our suitcases full to the limit, it was time to go, which made us a little sad. Saying goodbye to the beautiful city in our last New York taxi trip in America, we all reflected on what a remarkable trip it was. When on the plane, two meals came and went, three films played, and we were back in London. From yellow taxis to red buses, from candy to chocolate, dollars to pounds, we were home.
The trip was the trip of a lifetime and one which we all are grateful for. We all learnt a lot, and had a fabulous time. It is an experience we will all reflect upon throughout our lives as we had the time of our lives!