Lindsay Tannahill, October 2017:
I was lucky enough to be apart of the magnificent trip that some of the Humanities students took to New York City over reading week. It was a phenomenal experience, and it was wonderful to be able to explore the city with such a great group of my peers.
Definite highlights of the trip: The Met, the broadway show, and simply wandering around the city!
New York has so much to offer that I can hardly fathom it. Our three days there felt like hardly enough, but I think that I got a good taste of what the city has to offer. Each day, we would experience something cultural as a group. We went to the Met, the MOMA, the 9/11 Memorial, and the Smithsonian Museum of the American Indian. Afterwards, we would break into groups and experience something of our own desire. This was a really great aspect of the trip. We could pair up with different groups, and everyone could get what they wanted out of their time there.
On our first full day, we all met at the Met and experienced the vast collections of art. This was a wonderful start as we all got to apply our Hums knowledge and experience history first hand. After the Met, I took the subway back to the neighbourhood of our hotel to purchase broadway tickets right from the theatre. The walk to the subway tracked through the Upper East Side, giving me flashbacks of my younger years watching Gossip Girl, and left me revelling in the beauty of the buildings amongst the congestion of the city. On each corner is a perfect shop selling something either insanely trendy, outrageously expensive, or a bit of both. The subway itself was always a guessing game. You have to go down the right entrance on the right street, or risk being sent to the wrong side of the city, something that I may have experienced once or twice…
Each moment of New York brings to light the “New York Minute.” Each part of your time there you are experiencing something. I was just an infatuated with experiencing the subway system as looking at the incredible works of Vermeer. There is something so raw about the city, yet it does not shy away from having things that are so refined. To go from looking at some of the greatest works of art in the world, to being in the thick of life on the subway is a truly rewarding and engaging experience.
That evening, a few of us attended Kinky Boots on Broadway, after eating at a perfect Irish Pub in Hell’s Kitchen. A little but spry old woman brought us beers and hearty food with a typical New Yorker nonchalance. The show itself was exactly what we were working for. It was exciting, engaging, flashy, loud, it made you want to get up and dance, and yet still had a deep and poignant message. For $55, we certainly felt like we had our Broadway show experience.
The other two days were spent in a similar fashion. We experienced the contrast of the raw and the refined throughout the city, while enjoying time with phenomenal company. Exploring the streets of Greenwich Village and finding Monica and Rachel’s apartment from “Friends” brought the city to life in another thrilling way. I could suddenly see all of the literature and movies that took place on the iconic streets coming to life in front of me. The city has this way of allowing you to be a tourist, yet thrusting you into life of the city. It is not a place where you simply go and look at different sights; you are thrust into the pace and spirit of it all.
On the final full day, I met up with a good friend who lives upstate. In ways, I felt like a real New Yorker, meeting up with an old friend for a pint, and yet we could simultaneously explore the area more together, and found ourselves lost in the never ending streets of China Town. Lost as we were, we still managed to run into others from the group. After saying goodbye to my friend, we found our way to the restaurant where we met up with the rest of the group. We had an absolutely incredible dinner from the College, and revelled in good wine, good food, and wonderful company. The communal meal was a highlight of the trip for me. We shared our stories from our few days, and toasted to the experience together.
Saying goodbye became easier as we woke up to pouring rain on our final morning in New York. While the weather made for poor walking conditions, it made for a perfect train ride through New York State. The fall colours mixed with raindrops sliding down the windows could elicit emotion in anyone. While the travel time there and back was long, it was not only worthwhile but also enjoyable.
As I hide in my apartment from the first snow of the year, and put off my various essays by writing this post, I wish I was back in that big maze of a city. However, the 5 days was the perfect length, and left enough to be seen that I can’t wait to go back and experience more. As I finish up my final year at the College, I could not think of a better send off or a better city to experience with my beloved peers.
Stay tuned for information on next year’s fall trip to NYC!