A Sunday afternoon in America

As we were part of a French-American exchange, i wasn’t expected my host family being Spanish and Filipino.

Being half Filipino myself, I was invited in a meeting of Rochester’s Filipino community.

A community is composed of many families coming from the same country and living in USA.

So I spent one Sunday afternoon in the community composed of about ten families, where at least one member was from the Philippines. During this time, we prayed and ate a lot. Also, they were speaking Tagalog. All the afternoon I thought I was back to the Philippines.

 

This experience was not what I expected from the exchange, but as this kind of communities are not rare in the USA, I was happy to discover it. This permits me to see a different aspect of American’s way of life, and have a different experience of the trip than the other students.

Walking along the High Line

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In the West of Manhattan, New York City, stands since 2009 a completely new kind of park. It offers, with its 2,33 kilometers, a fantastic journey through the building of Manhattan. In the morning of 21 st of October, during the last day in the city that never sleep, we had the chance to discover it.

As soon as we arrived, we were impressed by the depht of the view. We took a lot of picture with all of the group. We could feel the atmosphere of constant move of a city turned to the future with all the construction of seven new towers. However, the past of the High Line as a rail road is not forgotten with the vision of the wagon that were used on the road. This first section of the High Line allows us to elevate between the buildings and to escape for a little time the confinement of the busy street, its traffic and to take a little moment of calm.

We really enjoyed this walk as it was a moment of relaxation and exchange with the teachers and the others. We had a game which was to describe the High Line in a poetic way, it was really fun. As it was the end of the trip, we were closer to each other. It was so enjoyable ! While we walked, we saw americans having rest with their familly or with friends. Some were taking advantage of the sun to run while other were simply walking.

The High Line ends on the Whitney Museum, it is a modern art museum. After visiting it, we ate right in front of it, on a small place. We had the impression to not be in the same city, more in a ancient version of it. It is that feeling that make New York such a fantastic and cosmopolite city, that was even more enforced with the visit of Chinatown later in the day.

Finally, we can say the visit of the High line was really interesting both in the discovery part and in the ludic part. It was definitly one of the most enjoyable part of our day.
Thanks for reading us, and have a nice day.

 

New York and its architecture

New York City, especially Manhattan where our hostel was, is well known for its high buildings and skyscrappers.

We had the chance to see NY’s architecture which is a witness of different time periods of the city’s history. This can be seen by the use of differents materials for the buildings, (such as red brick , iron and glass) but also with the mix of different styles (neogothic,Art Deco or post-modern). I found quite irrealistic to see so different buildings just standing one next to the other, for example when some modern ans high buildings stood up just next to a smller church dating from another period of History.

Churches

The biggest contrast that I have seen during our visit in NY were the churches. Seeing those buildings made a really big contrast with the rest of the city.

St-Patrick’s church, Built in the mid-XIC century with a neogothic style, made an important contrast with the buildings that surrounds it.

I was not expeted a church in the financial district of Wall Street. But the Trinity Church was there, built in the XVIII century. I found that it was quite weird to find such a small and old building in a district where every skyscrappers were twinkelling and reflecting between each others because of glasses and mirrors used for their construction.

Some symbols of the “Big Apple”

Many buildings mundially well known are located in NYC, these are some examples;

The United Nations aera, where is the main headquarters of this organization. There are three buildings, built with a modern style. Compared to others in the city, those buildings were smaller but really larger.

The World Trade Center, tragically knowed because of 2001 terrorist attack. After the fall of the twin towers, a new tower was built, higher than the two first, the One World Trade Center. This is the highest skyscrapper in USA

The grand central teminal is the railroad terminal of the city, much more smaller than other buildings in NYC the hall inside it is really extended.

The Empire State Building is the second highest tower of NYC, with its 381 meters and 102 floors. This tower is one of the most famous skyscrapper of NYC (probabely partly because of this famous sceen in the film“King Kong”(1933)).Chrysler Building (located on 43th road, Lexington Avenue) is quite similar to the Empire State Building, with an Art Deco style.

Some had a quite weird form:

The Flatiron Building, at Midtown (23th road, 5th avenue), is famous because of its triangular form which reminds us of a flat iron.

Located at 53rd and Third avenue was the Lipstick building, named like that, also because or its form.

At last, the Grace building, which have a flared form (the bottom is flared while from the middle to the top has a  »regular » form (as if the the bottom of the building had dwelted)

New York City’s architecture was really impessive because of the exessiveness of its buildings, as well as the ingeniousness of all the architects who progressively built the city but also because of its contrasts.

Knightly News from Sutherland High School

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Safe return home

The morning of Wednesday the 21st of October, we knew it was our last day in New York, we were exhausted but wanted to enjoy every single moment of this trip. Our teachers asked us to get all our baggages in one room of 8 m². And thanks to the two girls of this room, we did it !

At 17h30 (New York hour) we had to be back to the inn to get the bus which was going to take us to the airport JFK. So when we arrived, some took the suitcases out of the room, some were getting them down (with an elevator…) and some were putting them in the bus. We went into the bus. No « Empire State of Mind » sang with all the joy of being in New York this time. No, this time we were really leaving. We watched a superb sunset on the towers of Manhattan, a last goodbye of the city where everything is possible.

At the airport, we went through the customs without any problem. Before we took the plane, our teachers gave us some time to buy gifts because we didn’t have much time in New York.

And at 21h (New York hour), we were in the plane. We left the USA at 21h40. During the trip, some of us slept, others didn’t, but we were all extremely tired the next morning when we landed in Paris CDG at 10h30 (French hour), half an hour before what was planed.

Then, at noon, we were back on a plane ! This flight was very short, just the time to drink a cup of tea or a glass of orange juice and eat a cookie and we were in Rennes.

We found our parents and suitcases back (little thought for one of us who’s suitacase went to a little journey to Dubaï before landing in Rennes…), said goodbye to each other and it was it. The end of this amazing trip.

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Thanks to all the families who took care of us for a week, we couldn’t dream of more beautiful time in Rochester. Can’t wait to see some of our penfriends back in march ! Thanks to all the teachers of Sutherland and Mendon who were so kind with us. And finally, we all want to thank our three teachers, M.Labarbe, Mme Ducassou and M.Owen, who made this possible. Thank you so much, those two weeks are full of unforgettable memories and laughters. We all got closer to each others, met some people we didn’t know and we all had a wonderful time. Thank you for giving us this luck, we will never forget it.

 

Statue of Liberty

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In the afternoon of the 20th of October 2015, we were on the boat to visit one of the best known symbols of the United States. A little while after boarding and admiring Manhattan, we finally saw it. Perched on its little island called the Liberty Island, the Statue of Liberty appeared to us like in a movie.

 

This statue, « Liberty Enlightening The World » best known as « Statue of Liberty »  is probably one of the best known monuments of the world. Located in New-York, close to a small island called Ellis Island, important place during the first part of the XXth century because of the immigration period; the Statue of Liberty have been built in France by Gustave Eiffel and offered as a gift to the United States of America to celebrate the hundred years of the American Declaration of Independence. Nevertheless, the Statue has only been discovered to the public on the 28th of October 1886.

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After the terrorist attacks of the 11th of September 2001, the acces of the island has been prohibited for some security reasons, but the pedestal reopened in 2004, whether 5 years before the statue. Nevertheless, a limited number of people is still allowed to visit the monument, and the balcony of the torch is not opened since 1916 because of damages caused by the spy network of the German Empire on the 30th of July 1916.

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This monument is really impressive and beautiful. It is something you must have done or seen at least once in your life. This part of the city offers a wonderful view, if you turn your head a bit, you’ll probably get the chance to see Manhattan and the statue at the same time. It is the perfect place to take some pictures and souvenirs … And take some selfies with your friends !

Ellis Island : Isle of tears?

« One month. One month since we entered this boat. The heat, the thirst, were even worst than the hunger. But our conditions were not the hardest.. I pity the women and their child, their old fathers and mothers, or their babies.

1893, middle of one of the big movements of migration to the united states of america. Me and my friend Donagan deprived ourselves of buying clothes, or even sometimes food, to afford this journey. But it’s easier to leave, when you got no family. Two young men, almost boys, raised in the streets. There was no future in our country. We had heard about the great america since we were kids. Somewhere we could eat, drink, work, dance, and even maybe set up home. So we left, with all of our savings, together as usual.

After one month, we saw the statue. Women and men started to cry, to yell, to whistle, everywhere on the boat. I had heard about the statue of liberty before, a monster of metal, opening the doors of liberty to you. I thought it would be bigger. It was the beginning of my disillusionment.

The outside of building was beautiful, but we had to wait several hours before going into it, and the inside was crowded. The inside of the building looked like a plane station. There were waves of people coming from everywhere, we could barely see two meters away and as I tried to get Donagan’s arm he disappeared, eaten by the crowd. Everyone was lost. Families were separated by the movements of the crowd. Words from unknown languages were yelled from everywhere.

Some military Officers were pushing people in lines, leading to high desks, where other officers were marking women, men , and children with chalk drawings on their clothes. They were classifying us, like animals. Further behind them were standing three big staircases, from which shouts were arising. I was too occupied to look desperately for Donagan in the crowd to see it was my turn to walk toward the high desk. One of the officers grabbed me by the arm and yelled something at me, in a language I didn’t understand, but which I recognized as being English. I moved to the desk, behind which was standing a tall and large man , frowning. He approached me and examined my body, my eyes, my breath,and then my eyes again, very quickly, and I understood I was undergoing a medical inspection. At the desk next to me , I heard a women crying when the men draw the C and T letters on her little girl’s shirt. “Trachoma” , said the man in front of me while writing these similar two letters on my coat. My brain understood I wouldn’t go any further, but my body wouldn’t move. I would never see america. After a few hours only spent on the american continent, I would not even walk in the shadow of these great buildings that I had seen from the boat. And I would loose my one and only family. I would not have a chance to build myself a new life. What were they going to do, throw me in the water? Put me in a boat, for a month again? And all the money I had saved to pay this journey? While all these thoughts were turning in my head, my body had not moved. Two guards came to me and pushed me violently to the second staircase, the middle one. My body didn’t want to react. At my left side, in the first line, I saw Donovan, smiling, laughing. He didn’t understand what was happening. In my line were walking slowly old persons, senile, people with blurred looks, sickly children, calling for their mum, crying. Donovan looked happy, probably thinking we were going to meet each other behind these doors. I moved to the end of the line, and gave him a last desperate look before passing the middle door. At this moment he seemed to understand. I crossed the door, and it was the last time I saw him. Today still I can hear his shouts calling my name ,insulting the guards in Armenian on the other side of the doors, when he realized what was going on. »

As more than 12 millions of human beings walked through the register hall of Ellis Island’s building, only 8 millions were registered as immigrants to the new world. For thousands of years and even before the creation of Ellis island, the immigrant people of america influenced the american continent through its diversity of cultures, bringing for example new music style such as blues, or massive workforce contributing to the construction of railways, powering the american industry.

But for many reasons, some people on Ellis island were not given the chance to contribute to the great development of the United States of America. Declared as insane or touched by a mental failure disease, declared unable to meet its own needs, unable to work ,or acting illegally, by the courtroom’s judge, those are the reasons that caused some migrants several weeks of waiting on the island. Some of them, declared sick and contagious, would even be send back home immediately, as they were dangers to the public health of american people. This way, hundreds of families were broken up, mothers separated from their children, or old people left to die on the island, considered as weak persons. During more than 60 years, among smiles, hope and happiness, the great hall of Ellis island also sometimes echoed with shouts of distress and despair, anger, and tears.

We went to Times Square!!!

Victor & Hélène Basch High School Exchange with Rochester 2015. After a week with our incredible families in Rochester, we went to NYC. This is a picture of us in Times Square: It rocks!!!

  • From a Trade & Industry Center to Times Square

Times Square is a Square in Midtown Manhattan localized between West 42nd and West 47th Streets, at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue.

Before Times Square it was Longacre Square, the center of the carriage trade. In 1904 it was renamed Times Square after The New York Times moved its headquarters to the Times Building. The New York Times Building inaugurated a new tradition in 1907: The New Year’s Eve ball drop; the ball descends 43 meters (141 feet) in 60 seconds down a specially designed flagpole, beginning at 11:59 p.m, and resting at midnight to the signal the start of the new year. Nowadays, the ball is still dropped from the New York Times Building, which is now the One Times Square, and no longer the New York Times’ headquarters.  This event is still very popular thousands of people and tourists come in Times Square every years to see it, and millions of people all over the U.S watch on TV.

Following the installation of the New York Times Building in 1904, the first electrified advertising appeared on the building, which was and is still a skyscraper which has a prime location within the Square. It influenced the others buildings and led to the Times Square advertised place we know.

This is a picture of Times Square in 1904. At the middle there’s the New York Times Building. On the right there’s the Beaux-Arts Hotel Astor.

During the Roaring Twenties (1920’s) Times Square became the new cultural center, which abounded of theaters, hotels and music halls. People could sometimes meet Broadway celebrities like Charlie Chaplin or Fred Astaire who often visited Times Square. Thanks to the influence of Broadway and the installation of the Beaux-Arts Hotel Astor which attracted the high society class to Times Square. With its 11 floors and several ballrooms, the hotel quickly earned a reputation as the most fashionable and trendy place to go for dinner, drinks, or dancing. Now the site is a office tower called One Astor Plaza.

After the Second World War Times Square declined and became a place of debauchery. However in the 1980’s a commercial building boom began in Times Square and restored the safety and the commercial economy in Time Square.

 

  • The Times Square we know: An illustration of New York, « the city that never sleeps »

This is a photography of Times Square during the New Year’s Eve Ball Drop in 2014. As you can see the building in the middle is the same. However it has been rename »One Times Square » building.

Times Square is one of the most visited place in the world, around 330,000 people pass through Times Square daily (most of them are tourist). Times Square is now a major commercial intersection, tourist attraction, and center of the world’s entertainment industry. It has an estimation of 50 million visitors annually. Times Square is bright, it has Billboards (panneaux d’affichage) and advertisements in most of its buildings. It’s sometimes referred to as « The Crossroads of the World » because of the thousands of people from all over the world who visit it every days, or also know as « The Center of the Universe »: this could be linked to the lights and the Billboards which shine like stars and the fact that Time Square is a place where you can find almost everything.

 

  • What did we see in Times Square: A Wonderful Excessiveness; A Disney-Like Feeling.

Times Square is an incredible place, with hundreds of shops. Everything is bright, everything is big. It has lots of car free areas, so the streets are full of pedestrians. We were amazed by this abundance of everything.

You can also find in Times Square trendy and must-see restaurants such as the Hard Rock Cafe or the Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.  a restaurant inspired by the  famous blockbuster Forrest Gump.

You can visit eccentric stores you can not find elsewhere. A perfect example of this excessiveness could be the Toy’s R Us Store with a 60-foot Ferris wheel (grande roue), a 20-foot animatronic (animé et robotisé) T-Rex dinosaur or a life-size Barbie® dollhouse in the store.

There’s also the Disney store, a wonderful shop in tribute to the childish and wonderful Disney’s universe. This will make go back to your childhood.

Or Times Square’s M&M’s store which is the biggest of the world and a very touristic place, due to its huge M&M’s statues, the profusion of choice (for M&M’s), and its M&M’s derivatives.

You can also, if you have some chance, appear on a Billboard.

Yep it’s us, so famous.

Times Square is also very known for the disguised people you can meet. You can see Naked Cow Boys, the Statue of liberty or a Mickey Mouse… Everything is possible in Times Square….

Yes… everything is possible…

BARAN Anne-Claude