Monday, June 29, 2009

From Ms. Lilhanand...

Yes we are all well and still kicking.

As you saw in the recent blogs of today, we did not have access to the Internet at the hotel last night. Furthermore, our rooms were not available when we checked in around 6:30 or so. We had to leave our bags, all 14 of them, with the bell captain. Even after we returned around 10:30 we still had a little delay. One of the issues was they told us our request for 2 double beds plus 2 kings was not guaranteed, and initially they only had kings left. Long story short, we got in our rooms around 11:15 or so but it wasn't until close to midnight before they delivered a roll-away to one of our rooms.

Enough said of I warned the students we hit the pavement and started walking after dropping off the bags. Of course it started to pour as soon as we were ready to leave the lobby, but the rain was very short lived. I wasn't about to have anything "rain on our parade" we walked to the Rockefeller Center then on to Times Square.

Packed doesn't justify the situation of Times Square. One side of Broadway was cut off to traffic and there were numerous lounge chairs filled with people just doing what we were doing, people watching. (I found out tonight that the city is trying this semi street closure out for a month or so to see what happens.)

Dinner at ESPN was a hit, even if we did have to wait half an hour or so to get a window seat overlooking Times Square. It was worth it. While I held down the fort waiting for a table, the kids went to ToysRUs, about 4 stories tall with a real ferris wheel inside, really! Of course they wanted a ride but the line was too long and I got a table and called them back.

After dinner and after LOTS of pictures and videos, (you will soon be able to see) we walked on to the Hershey store and the M&M store and founds lots of fun items, like a large chocolate syrup container, ID labels with lots of M&M's...

Our steam was just about all steamed out so we started walking back to the hotel. Just before entering the elevators I negotiated what time we would meet in the morning in the lobby....I gave in to 9:45.

Yes they were all there ready to go at 9:45. (I had already been up earlier and walked out to get a cup of coffee and pastry) As we walked past the St. Patrick Cathedral, we decided to go inside. There is no wonder why this is such a famous cathedral. The stained glass windows, large archways, huge interior, plain and simple purely is too hard to describe. Since a service was just about to start we headed out.

We continued down 5th Avenue a few more blocks and there it was: Trump Towers. I was excited to show the students the beautiful waterfall inside. I told them we would have brunch by the waterfall (instead of lunch with an earlier breakfast...that was negotiated so they could sleep in a little this morning). Well wouldn't you know, we entered and to my complete shock and dismay, no water in the "waterfall".

We ate then I wanted to show them the public garden on the roof and that, too, was closed. At this point I was 0 for 2. Just as we took one more look at the golden colored marble that covered the walls and floor, Sofia said, look the lights just went on....and then lo and behold the waterfall started. Needless to say, we had to take some pictures.

We started to head back. Oh, I forgot to mention while we were walking towards Trump Tower, we found out there would be the Gay Parade today at Noon. So I dropped the students off on the parade route, 3 blocks from our hotel, and quickly went back to the hotel to arrange for a later checkout time and a delayed time for the van pickup. I worked it out and then returned to the parade.

By 2:00 we were walking on campus checking in. (There was an issue with Sofia's paperwork. They said they never received her medical papers...we filled them out on the spot and I signed them as her guardian....then later tonight Jackie called with the same problem.)

All the students except one got a single room. As soon as they dropped off their luggage in their room I tried taking them inside the library...again, as last year, NO one can enter without proper ID. From there we headed to the bookstore. We checked and no texts were ordered by the professors so the students will find out in their class tomorrow if we need to purchase materials. While we were in the bookstore I let each one pick out their choice of a T-shirt or sweatshirt...or even sweatpants with Columbia plastered all over. All of them had grins from ear to ear and said thank-you....the thank-you goes to the sponsors.

The group was eager to return to their rooms to meet up with their RA's and other roommates in their first meeting at 4:00 , then off to the bar-b-que at 5:00. I left them from there and stressed they had to blog tonight and they could not go anywhere without contacting me. I received 3 phone calls since then, ...I wonder what flavor ice cream they picked.

It is now late so I'll sign off.

PS This group looks like a great group of kids...I'll keep you posted and look forward to seeing Madeline this Wednesday.


Don Gosney said...

What a wonderful story. All within their first 24 hours these gifted students have experienced so much--and they got branded clothing to boot.

I read your description of the snafus at The Marriott and I read Sofia's blog about the same place and you wouldn't think you were both writing about the same hotel. I guess it's just a matter of perspective.

After we get you hooked up so you can contribute to this blog, I hope you continue to keep us informed--you do such a great job of it.

Prudence Kent said...

Hi there! well NYC is one exciting place, thats for sure. Glad you all got there safely and are having a great time, see you soon, Prudence

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