ORA students at Yale had an unbelievable day trip to New York City and truly made the most of their time there this week. Some had visited the city before, so the group was split into two in order to tailor the day to suit what everyone wanted to see.
Everyone started the day by getting the famous ferry to Staten Island. Enjoying the warm weather and cooling sea breeze, pupils marvelled at the incredible New York skyline, which was beautifully clear on such a nice day.
The Statue of Liberty – an iconic landmark – loomed over our group as they gazed at her in wonder, all taking it in turns to guess what she holds (it’s actually called a tabula ansata carrying the date of the American Declaration of Independence). Pupils didn’t miss the chance to snap photos along the way, with some favouring the stunning bridges over the Hudson River.
One World Trade Centre & Empire State Building
After the Staten Island ferry, the group divided and some visited the renowned One World Trade Centre. As the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere, the incredible structure didn’t fail to impress, as students stared at the glistening structure in awe.
For the other half of the group, a trip up the Empire State Building seemed a fitting way to see the most of NYC. Once the world’s tallest buildings, the Empire State Building is an iconic symbol of New York and offers panoramic views of the amazing city. Students who had never been to NYC were mesmerised by the view and enjoyed the chance to see other famous structures, including the One World Trade Centre, and took lots of photos to remember the occasion.
Wall Street and the NY Stock Exchange
Soaking up the business atmosphere, the groups visited Wall Street and looked at the NY Stock Exchange. The most famous financial markets are scattered along Wall Street and the NY Stock Exchange – as the largest stock exchange in the world – is no exception.
Such famous pinnacles of American society and world business undoubtedly amazed ORA students, who were quick to dodge the busy businessmen and tired traders that bombarded the street.
St Thomas Church (Fifth Avenue) and St Patrick’s Cathedral
Fifth Avenue is a world-famous street in New York and is thought to be one of the most expensive roads in the world. As they strolled past Armani, Cartier and Tiffany, students couldn’t help but stare at the extravagant shop displays enticing customers inside. Narrowly avoiding an expensive shopping trip, the group visited St Thomas Church, founded in the 19th century, a significant religious building within the city.
A quick stop at another well-known religious building – St Patrick’s Cathedral – gave students a significant insight into the past efforts to create religious tolerance in the city. The Cathedral was constructed in the mid-19th century and was open to the public in 1879, funded largely by public contributions. As a structure, the Cathedral is impressive, with vaulted ceilings and vibrant stained glass windows.
NY Public Library
Full of both the financial and religious culture of New York, ORA students took to the Public Library to gain some understanding of the educational and literary background of the city.
Founded in the early 20th century, the Public Library was funded by Samuel J. Tilden who left around $2.4 million after his death to construct a free library in the city. Though the Astor and Lenox Libraries were already prominent learning houses, they did not adhere to the vision that Tilden had desired.
Ultimately, a trust was formed combining Tilden’s contribution with the Astor and Lenox funds to construct the Public Library. Aware of the Library’s history, students enjoyed wandering around the building and inspecting its magnificent architecture.
Grand Central Station
For some, a stop at the renowned Grand Central Station was a must. Like some of the buildings they had seen beforehand, the Station was opened in the early 20th century and nowadays welcomes over 750,000 visitors every day, many of which are tourists eager to see the famous building.
ORA pupils were no different, as they huddled for photos and selfies in the iconic station. The clock was recognised by almost everyone, who noted its inclusion in various movies and TV shows.
Central Park and Dinner
A group dinner without mobile phones (which were out of battery after such a long day!) was an amusing affair full of excited discussions about what everyone had seen. After a delicious meal, a quick walk in Central Park rounded off an incredible day of sightseeing in the beautiful New York City.