The Block Island Times
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B.I. School 8th graders write about New York City trip

From Times Square to Chinatown, much was learned and enjoyed
Apr 13, 2013
Photo by: Shannon Morgan Eighth grade students from the Block Island School stand with the banner that got them on the “Today” show during a recent trip to New York City. The trip was sponsored by the Block Island Task Force’s “Roots and Wings” program.

The Block Island School’s eighth grade class recently took its annual trip to New York City as part of the Block Island Task Force’s “Roots and Wings” program. This is a three-year program (started 15 years ago) in which students take part in an off-island adventure to foster their independence, enhance life skills and expand their education by learning through experience.

Each student wrote an essay about their experience:

Silas Monje: We took the commuter train in from New Haven to Grand Central Station, and that was one of the coolest experiences I have ever had. There were many interesting sights we saw. I loved seeing the Empire State Building and the different boroughs of New York. My favorite part of the trip was going to the other schools, like M.S. 131 and Washington Irving High School, and meeting the kids. One experience I liked was taking the train into the city from Brooklyn every morning and using the subway to get around the city. I researched Grand Central Station before I left, and when I got there it was even more breathtaking than I imagined. The ceilings in the station are painted turquoise blue and are covered in constellations and stars lit up with LED lights. The clock in the middle of the main lobby was much larger then I expected it to be, and the amount of people running around the station is something I will never forget. The trip was one of the best I have ever taken, and I recommend that everybody should go to New York at some point in their life.

Ebben Howarth: While on our trip to New York we went to many interesting locations and learned a lot about what the city is like. We learned about the buildings, the people and the history. When I researched Manhattan, I never expected for everything to be so large. I was surprised by the amount of people and how tall the buildings were. While looking up at the buildings it was almost nauseating because of how tall they were. Another interesting thing that we encountered on our trip in New York was the subway system. I didn’t know anything about them, and over the course of two days I learned how to navigate the subway system. I also really enjoyed seeing all the cultural differences between Block Island and New York. Overall going to New York was a very fun trip. I was surprised about how much I learned about not only the city but also the people that live there. I would most definitely visit again.

Barbara Trujillo: We saw many interesting things that broadened our perspective as to what is out there for us in the future, beyond Block Island. We were given the chance to see how a day in city life is, and I experienced all new sights and smells that I had only read or heard about. We did much traveling by ferry, car, train, subway, and on foot. My host’s house was beautiful in its classy design and style. We were on the “Today” show, and visited a food pantry, and went to a super cool film studio called Gofilm.net and they showed us how they are one of the studios that make some of the commercials that we see everyday. We visited two schools and met our pen pals from M.S. 131 and Henry Street, and toured Chinatown with them. But my favorite part of the trip was Times Square, before the trip we had to research one of the places we were going to visit and mine was Times Square and it met all my expectations! The streets were bustling with people eager to go to the stores and get to work; you could smell dense odor of smoke, the smell of hot dog stands, and the pungent odor of garbage, as well as the intoxicating smell of people’s cologne or perfume. You could still see the famous ball that drops on New Year’s and the historic Paramount Building. The New York trip is a perfect way for a person to be able to understand and experience more of what is out in the world waiting and beyond the shores of Block Island.

Bridgette Keane: My class got to experience and learn about many things very different from Block Island. We toured the United Nations on our last day there. It was very neat to learn more about what the United Nations does to help the world and to keep peace. One thing that I thought was especially interesting was the General Assembly Hall. All of the 193 member countries had an equal amount of seats and a fair system was created for the seating arrangements. This system is that every new session they would randomly choose a country that would get the first set of seats and the rest would follow in alphabetical order. Also, each seat had an earpiece that can translate the words of whoever is speaking at the time into your own language. This way, every country would be able to follow along with the speech. The United Nations is just one of many fascinating places we got to see in New York.

Gavin Smith: Our class traveled to New York City to get a view of what it is like there and the many opportunities outside of Block Island. One of our highlights during the trip was when we went to Rockefeller Center. We stepped off the subway between 47th and 50th Streets at Rockefeller Center. We then walked up the shiny marble stairs into 30 Rockefeller Center. Upstairs, security guarded the doors and watched as people walked through the building. We then walked out the doors into the cold crisp air to see 200 flags waving in the wind. We then walked to the “Today” show, where about 100 people were lined up behind big metal fences. People screamed and waved as they tried to get a glimpse of what it feels like to be on national television. We went through security and the guard checked our sign. We then found a spot to set up our sign. We waited for a long, cold hour before a man started walking towards us. As the cameraman walked in front of us, we waved and shouted as we got on TV. Overall, I enjoyed the New York trip and I now realize how much more there is outside of Block Island.

Violet Brown: Before the trip we picked an attraction in New York to research. I researched Chinatown. What I found was that it was a very big part of New York and how it was a huge tourist attraction for people from all over the world. On the second day, we met our pen pals and went to Chinatown with them. It was really cool to see all the little stores lined up right next to each other along the streets. To see the Chinese letters and words was a little confusing, but very interesting. It was also much bigger than I expected it to be. It was very busy so we had to be careful crossing the street and walking around. It was really cool seeing Chinatown and everything that I never get to see. Later in the evening everyone that we met that day, including us, went to a Chinese restaurant. We had a real Chinese dinner with new foods that I have never tried before. It was great. I really enjoyed Chinatown and I had great time in New York!

Delaney Schwarzer: My eighth grade class took a trip to the great state of New York. We visited the crazy, busy life of Times Square, Chinatown, and beautiful Central Park. The tourist sights that we saw were unforgettable. However, one of the places we visited really intrigued me. The place that I liked the most was GoFilm.net. It is a building that has workers who create commercials. Our class met Jonathan Weinstein, who helped create many commercials that I have seen on TV. He demonstrated all the different ways a director creates his commercials, such as different humor effects or celebrities, and location. The most interesting thing that I learned about making a commercial was that it costs so much! To make a 30 second commercial, it would probably cost about $5 million! And on top of the huge price, when the director finishes a commercial, he/she gets a huge stack of papers based on what they did in the commercial. Being a director takes a lot of talent, patience, organization — making good quality commercials that will sell things to the public. We were only at the commercial building for one hour and I have already learned so much about creating a commercial. Now I know how commercials are really created.

Special thanks to The Eileen Dolphin Fund and The Block Island Prevention Task Force.

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