USA Tour 2015 Day Nine – Jogging in Central Park, Sight Seeing, Q&A, Broadway Take Two

Day 9 – Saturday 11th April 2015

The rigorous schedule that had been this USA tour continued with a day jam packed with activities and excitement.

I started the day early with a run through Central Park. It was a beautiful day to go running, the air was crisp and had some night in it (but not too much). The running group consisting of myself, Chris and three of our boys set off just after 6:00am heading towards Central Park. The run was a little stop/start until we arrived at the park due to the traffic signals that we had to follow.

Having arrived at the park we commenced a relatively easy run of approximately 4km., it took us through the zoo, past the main promenade and a part of Strawberry Fields before looping back to the top North West corner. I thoroughly enjoyed the run and would liked to have run further or a little more often, unfortunately the tight schedule really hasn’t allowed for either of these desires to be fulfilled. By the time we had completed ou run back to the hostel the time had moved on to just after 7:00am having covered approximately 8km.

The first activity scheduled after breakfast was a guided tour of the city. Our tour guide Matt was phenomenal, entertaining, engaging and informative. We headed down Broadway toward Central Park. Along the way he gave us information on various buildings and icons including the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, various theatres, the Columbus Fountain (where all distances in New York are taken from), Lincoln Centre, Julliard School of Music, the 2nd site of Madison Square Gardens (there;s been three locations) and Trump Towers.

Our first walking stop occurred at Central Park, getting of at the entrance near Strawberry Fields we had the Dakota building pouted out to us. This building is famous for a number of things including getting it’s name for being so far outside the city limits when it was built, there was the saying that “it was so far out it could have been built in Dakota”. The building is also famous for having been the home of John Lennon and the place where John Lennon was murdered.

Entering Strawberry fields we stopped at a memorial for John Lennon. Matt got the group to sing “Imagine” at a mosaic memorial. After this we headed deeper into the park towards the main lake, promenaded and fountain. The park was stunning, just starting to come back to life after a long, cold and harsh Winter season. There was still no water in the fountain, it gets drained in the Winter which gaver the group the perfect opportunity to tale a picture inside it.

The next stop in the Park was the yacht lake. Around the yacht lake a number of bronze sculptures have been made designed to draw children to the park. There was a sculpture of Hans Christian Anderson with his most famous creation, the Ugly Duckling, and further around was a sculpture honouring Alice in Wonderland featuring characters from the book and little quotes around the outside of the sculpture. Having completed this we headed up to the buses to reboard and heads to our next destination.

The buses moved down 5th Avenue through the shopping district, this district is renowned for the high end brands including Prada, Versace and other designers. We also viewed important buildings including the Rockefeller Centre, St Patrick’s Cathedral, The Empire State Building, The Public  Library and the Flat Iron. The Flat Iron was interesting as it is also known as the building used as the Daily Bugle in Spiderman. Continuing down 5th Avenue we entered Greenwich where many famous artists, musicians, poets and actors have and continue to live, it is also home to NYU.

Getting back onto Broadway we continued to the Financial District. We saw the Freedom tower on the World Trade Centre site for the first time, it is huge!!! We also managed to see Wall Street and the bronze bull, unfortunately e didn’t get to see the bronze bear statue as well.

Our next stop was at the ferry terminal, getting out and walking a short distance gave us all an excellent opportunity to get photos of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. One our way back to the bus he had the globe from outside the old World Trade Centre pointed out to us which has been mounted as a monument on the peer. We then boarded the bus and moved to the World Trade Centre Park Site.

I don[t think anything can prepare you for the World Trade Centre Site, the size of the waterfall monuments constructed out of the footings of the old towers or the number of names on the plaques. It is amazing to think that this event is one of those where everyone remembers exactly what they were doing when the planes hit, it changed our lives forever. There is one solitary tree that survived the devastation, it has been replanted on the site as a symbol of hope, it is also inspiring to see that from the ashes and rubble a new begging through the 8 buildings being constructed has emerged, it truly is now no longer “ground zero”.

The next stop was lunch at a food court, awesome food – I had BBQ spare ribs, totally delicious.

After lunch we boarded the bus and continued up Broadway towards Times Square. We went through the regions of SoHo and NoHo and under the High Line and through Chelsea until we arrived at our final stop on the tour, the Q&A session at a local music studio.

The 2nd Trombonist of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, David Finlayson, hosted a Q&A for our students. It was real enjoyable, he was engaging and could communicate well. I think all the students got a lot out of it, I know that I did.

We then headed back to the hotel for a quick change into our theatre clothes before heading out to dinner. Dinner was held at Appleby’s, a fast food franchise whose stroe was located just off the Broadway Theatre precinct. I had my first opportunity to have some Buffalo Wings, another great meal.

The shows that were being seen started well after the time we finished dinner. We decided to give students some additional shopping time so headed back to Time Square to the red seats, this was our meeting place. I headed off with some students and we managed to visit the M&M store and a souvenir shop before meeting up with the rest of the group.

The musical we were seeing was Finding Neverland, a story about the writing of Peter Pan. It was  nothing short of brilliant! I loved every moment of it. Once it was finished we headed back to the buses and off to te hostel.

Tomorrow is going to be a huge day, I won’t get a chance to run in the morning due to wanting to go to Mass at 7:00am, fingers crossed I can get up!!!

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