On Friday 12th February, eighteen art and drama students arrived at JFK airport. Taking a coach from the airport we drove through the outer suburbs of Brooklyn and across into the towering and busy island of Manhattan. Having never been to New York before, I was taken aback by the sheer size of the buildings and the miles of streets disappearing into the distance.
We soon arrived at the Wolcott Hotel, checked in our bags and set out to Grand Central Station where we had supper and explored the beautiful architectural concourse. We then set off for some more sightseeing at the Rockerfeller Building where we were shot up 70 floors to the Top of the Rock observation deck. Up there we had a spectacular view of the whole of Manhattan sparkling at night.
The next morning ,after an enormous American breakfast, we walked the High Line in freezing cold wind to the Whitney Museum of American Art. We saw a range of modern artworks from oil and acrylic paintings to various sculptures and videos which I found very interesting and enjoyed very much. Having left the Museum for a late lunch we walked back to the centre of Manhattan to Times Square where we were given free time to explore and do some shopping. At 2:00pm we lined up outside the Bernard Jacobs Theatre to see The Color Purple, an unforgettable and moving new production with a soul- raising score starring Cynthia Erivo, Jennifer Hudson and Danielle Brooks. That evening after an intrepid walk in artic conditions, we arrived at the Metropolitan Museum where we had a private tour after closing time. To be able to walk around an empty museum and be surrounded by incredibly famous artworks by artists such as Monet and Van Gogh was an amazing experience. We also had a tour of the Art of Style exhibition.
On Sunday Morning saw us set off on the subway to Brooklyn to visit some artist studios on 10th street and 2nd Avenue. It was fascinating to see the way artists work and to actually see the places where they create such amazing and beautiful artworks was a great experience. After lunch at a Mexican restaurant, we took the subway back to Manhattan and then caught the Staten Island ferry in order to see Liberty at close hand. The late afternoon was spent in galleries on the Lower East Side and then we headed off to Noho to enjoy a performance by the avant garde and totally bizarre Blue Men Group.
Monday morning took us on a tour of the Julliard School (the top music college in the US) followed by a stroll though Central Park in the snow to the Guggenheim Museum. Lunch was followed by a visit to MOMA where we saw many Modernists treasures by Picasso, Matisse etc. A fabulous day ended with dinner at Birdland, the most famous jazz club in New York. It was Open Mic night and the whole club was brought to its knees by Arran Ryder's performance of 'Feeling Good' by Nina Simone.
Our final day was just as full. A visit to the Ground Zero fountains and museum with its harrowing terrible beauty, was followed by a tour of the Judd Museum in Soho. Then a final burger and the bus back to JFK. The four days in New York had been an energising and enriching experience.
Report by Aubrey Wood, E Social, 6.1