During the February half term, Gunnersbury School embarked on a trip, with 44 students and 6 teachers, to the city of New York; would it be possible? Amongst the ongoing Covid situation in the USA, and restrictions harshening in the city itself, there was an aura of doubt that the trip would go ahead. Nonetheless, the school break quickly came around and soon they were boarding their flight to JFK. After seeing a range of key sights, and understanding the versatile history of the city, the children and teachers felt they had been on a trip of a lifetime. 


On February 12, all students arrived early in the morning at Heathrow airport, with high anticipation of the journey to come. With a long-complicated check-in, the students were left to roam duty-free. Boarding the flight, everyone entered their seats for the next seven hours. Arriving in NYC, (5 hours behind normal time), a shock of the brisk wintry weather shot a chill down the spines of many, still dressed in clothes suitable for the mild weather of London- it was time to put the jackets on! Enjoying a very much fatigued meal that evening, and a first glimpse of times square, the realisation of being in New York really set in. 


White. A blanket of snow covered the building roofs and streets the next morning, however the bustling and ever moving reality of New York City did not stop. As busy as ever, the group headed to St Patrick’s cathedral to partake in Sunday mass, following with the slow meander to the vast central park. Like out of the films, central park was embedded in a blanket of frost, creating the most picturesque of scenes. The students battled with snow-balls, as the adults watched over them in their frost-bitten reprieve. As the hours caught up with them, and so did jet-lag, they all headed back to the Edison Hotel and the surrounding area of time square, to stare in awe at the blinding lights, to get some dinner and some well needed rest. 


The next morning, when the soft snow had turned to brisk ice, an early wakeup call summoned all out of bed. Leaving the hotel into -13 degrees temperatures, a lot of students re-evaluated their decision of only wearing 4 layers. For many, this was the coldest conditions they had ever felt. However, again, the lively nature of NYC didn’t fail to continue; and neither did they. Entering the infamous subway, all 50 people headed downtown towards wall street, Liberty and Ellis Island. Seeing the statue of Liberty was hindered by the artic winds they all endured on the top deck of the boat, although, they persevered and were able to admire the spectacular figure in its distinct green tones. Visiting Ellis Island, the hub of USA immigration, students and teachers were able to read about their families who had migrated to the United States, and the many walks of life they originated from. On a dark but very positive subway journey back to Times Square, many reminisced on the day’s dire conditions, and famous sights. They were leaving tomorrow. 


On the Tuesday morning, they all awoke and packed, it seemed as soon as they had gotten used to the time zone change, they were heading 5 hours backwards again! Arriving at JFK a tad late… they were left with a short amount of time to head through security. With 30 minutes until take off, it seemed evident they would miss their flight. However, with commitment and swift movement from all, they arrived at the gate in adequate time to board; catching the most beautiful of American sunsets, before their return to gloomy Britain. 


With a group of so many, and such a full itinerary, it seemed a god-send everybody returned in one piece. Exhausted and drained, everybody disembarked the plane, being greeted by their families. All 50 people had had a perfect trip, which they would remember and cherish for many years.