Day 1: Arrival and the President Passes St. Patrick's

Good morning, everyone -

Waking up at around 3:00-ish yestwrday morning was the first step before we were on out way to New York through Sun Country Air. Most of us slept, even though the flight was only two hours and thirteen minutes.  We arrived safely at the JFK Airport, and ended up waiting over an hour for the shuttles to our hotel! Apparently the dispatch had informed the drivers that we were located at a departure terminal instead of arrival, and bonding time commenced.

After dropping a massive amount of luggage at the hotel, we took the metro to Grand Central Station,where the girls ooh-ed and ah-ed and the stars and the boys at the Apple store. Everyone appreciated the whispering wall.

Next was a self-guided tour of the New York Public Library and a photo shoot with Patience and Fortitude (the guardians of the library). We saw the Chrysler building multiple times during our walk downtown, and eventually we made our way into the lobby of the Art-Deco style now office building.

We felt poor inside the Waldorf-Austoria. “It was too high-class for me,” quoted one student who will remain anonymous, “but we did end up in the the Ballroom.”

St. Bartholomew's was a small, quite sanctuary with beautiful domes with gold mosaic ceilings; one of the best parts of visiting this church was that it seemed to be somewhat soundproofed against the wailing sirens and impatient horns blaring outside. Many of us agreed that the quiet helped refresh our brains – literally – before braving the busy streets again.

Our next stop was St. Patrick's Cathedral, which, interestingly, is currently surrounded by scaffolding, modifications in progress.  We had just gotten out of the building when we noticed many roadblocks set up, stopping us from reaching our goals. At first we were disappointed, but then surprised: The President had landed and was making his way down Fifth Avenue, and everyone saw the President. That was a definite surprise for everyone, and some of the boys who saw the Ballroom at the Waldorf realized that the big event that “twenty-something butlers in tuxes were setting up” was most likely for the President.

We graced Central park (and a rock favored by some), grazed the city, 5th Avenue and Rockerfeller Plaza. Everyone got supper and walked to Bryant Park. The rest of the evening was spent in other-productivity; grocery shopping for food, having the evening discussion, working out confusion about journaling and journaling, and even more bonding time.

Walking stats: 10 MILES.


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