It has taken a while to get round to posting this, as many of you were very helpful with all my questions about bringing 44 pupils to NYC on a school trip in January I thought I would let you know how it went.
We arrived on a fairly cold Friday lunchtime after just 1 1/2 hour delay - BA flight, and while I know they get slated a lot I thought the service was pretty good and the crew were very good with the pupils in our group who were ner vous fliers.
We were staying at the Latham Hotel,. As much as I would come back to NYC every week if possible I would never stay at the Latham again!
I wont bore you with all the problems, but in a nutshell, wrong rooming plans, trying to put pupils rooms on floors without adult supervision, rooms with no heating at all, rooms with heating that wouldnt switch off, and ceilings caving in were some of our highlights!
Anyway, after checking in it was straight off to the ESB. I had been there before but none of our pupils (15/16 year olds) had ever been to NYC before and it was great to see their expressions as they looked out over Manhatten,. Many comments of " I can't believe we are actually here at last" - they had waited 2 years for this trip.
About a zillion photos later, we walked down to Times Square to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner. Kids enjoyed it, I thought food was so-so, again our tour company had not got things quite right with our booking but hey ho.
This was the first school trip I have been on that we didnt have to chase pupils to bed, at all. NYC certainly wore them out! :)
Up early for breakfast at Tasty Cafe, nice food and good service. Then a 4 hour walking tour, covering Ground Zero - which was very emotional for us al. then to financial district, Museum of Finance and other interesting places on the way, our tour guide was excellent. Guy called Steve Mayo, wanders around Manhatten leading groups by holding up a hobby horse, you might have seen him! :)
He certainly knew his stuff and we all learnt a lot. We even got all 51 of us on and off the subways with no problems which was a huge relief.
After our walking tour we had a tour and talk at Macys. Pupils learnt about the history of Macys and their very clever marketing strategys. Can't remember the name of the guy who did our tour but he was hilarious.
The evening was a trip to TOTR to show the kids Mahatten from a different perspective. Again they loved it, and even those with a fear of heights were so pleased that they found the courage to step out and have a look.
Dinner at Johns Shanghai chinese, preceeeded TOTR, huge amounts of good food.
was a trip to the SOL, had been to NYC once before but not to the statue, queues were something else! Well worth it though once we were up in the statue looking out over the hudson toward Manhatten. Think this was another lump in throat moment for some of the pupils, having seen her so many times in all the films and not quite being able to believe they were really there.
Once back from the statue we figured we couldnt bring the kids to NYC and not let them go shopping - and boy could they shop! A few hours and many bargains later we hit Planet Hollywood for dinner. They were hoping to see some famous faces but unfortunately not.
Then came the scary bit - from my point of view anyway - giving 44 kids free time in Times Square! I was convinced that at least one would get lost, but they were fine. They loved the ferris wheel in Toys R US and bought lots of cheesy souvenirs. :)
The morning was a 4 hour guided coach tour with Steve, we went around Manhatten, Central Park, saw Strawberry Fields, which of course didnt mean as much to the kids as it did to us. Then around Brooklyn, Chinatown, finishing up at the United Nations where we had a guided tour and talk about the UN and its work.
Again another eye opener as some of our kids had never heard of the UN or knew what they did, and really learnt a lot from it, as did I. It brought home to them exactly how hard a job it is a few days later when the bad news came through about Haiti, especially as our guide had been telling us that he was due to go out to Haiti within a few days of our visit, hopefully he hadn't gone!
The UN visit was the last on our itinerary, and it was time to get ready to leave. Except the weather in the UK had caused BA to cancel our flight home, so we ended up spending the night in the Holiday Inn at JFK. Much nicer than the Latham!!!
All in all, a great visit, which apart from the hotel and flight delays went really well and the kids did not want to leave. All my worrying and over planning about bringing 44 kids to NYC was for nothing. Even the weather was kind to us, cold but stayed dry.
We are now planning to bring another group next april, and the first group are really jealous as they all want to go back :)Edited: 28 March 2010, 17:03