Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

by Stacey Ebert / Jul 05, 2016 /
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My Dad works in New York City and I grew up a 45-minute train ride away from Manhattan. For me and countless others in the metropolitan area, those famous five boroughs are ‘the city.’ Manhattan has a pulse all its own. Millions call this place home and even more travel in and out daily, weekly, monthly, and of course, to visit. Thousands show up ready to move in and make a new start, embrace a new journey, try their hands at something new, or break into a new world. Between Frank Sinatra’s New York, New York and Billy Joel’s New York State of Mind, there’s much to dream about, aspire to, learn from, and challenge all in this mega metropolis. 
Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

Every inch of the entire region has something to offer, something to share, something to impart, and something from which to add to our life lessons. Walk down any street in Manhattan and you’ll hear a cacophony of sound floating through the air. Numerous accents mix with hawking street vendors as pedestrians flood the sidewalks. Amidst the sounds of sirens, street cleaners, and city music, motor vehicles maneuver their way through yellow taxis, city buses, pedestrians, bicycle messengers, and street performers. No matter the season, whether you arrive by subway, car, a bus through Port Authority, or train through Penn Station or Grand Central Station, the first steps taken into the open air of a New York City street are bound to smack you in the face with a whole lot of ‘fuhgetaboutit.’ You’re in New York, embrace it!

This city screams lessons. To conquer the museums alone could take weeks. My two favourites are the American Museum of Natural History and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Set in the city’s upper west side, each museum has its fair share of wisdom to impart. Whether you wander through and click your camera, or find a bench on which to sit and study, you’re breathing air amidst some of the world’s greatest artistic gifts, staring at an incredible collection of artifacts and walking through a space sharing footsteps with millions. Check your local libraries to see if they offer any museum passes, and keep in mind that all museums are actually donation-based. Fans of books can whet their appetites nearby at the New York Public Library. Ghostbusters® fans will know the building with the lions from the outside, but step inside and journey through halls of literature and magic, years of history and architecture, or dream of your next great adventure in the famed Map room. 
Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

If you’re in search of outdoor learning in a cityscape, look no further. Keep in mind that New York is more than Manhattan and learning can take place past the edge of this borough. However, if your plan is to remain within the borders, the city’s outdoor spaces have much to offer. Find a pick up chess match at 6th Avenue’s Bryant Park. Fly high above the noise of the streets below while meandering through the gardens and outdoor terraces of the city’s Highline. Spend an afternoon by the water at the tourist-friendly Seaport Village. Walk above the water across the Brooklyn Bridge. People watch in the heart of the theater district in Times Square. Or while away the hours forgetting about the city behind you in New York’s Central Park. This highly acclaimed epic green space is home to all sorts of education. Talk to vendors who have kept to the same space for years. In that one conversation, you can pick up New York history from those with a birds eye view to changes of all kinds. Seek out Strawberry Fields for a bit of Beatles’ history, sit around the fountains dreaming of what you’d do with all the time in the world, or take in the serenity with a bike ride through the park.
Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

For the theater lovers in your crowd, there’s nothing better than the Great White Way. Spend some time in advance researching the available shows. There’s history in each theater, different architecture and artwork adorn the walls and ceilings, and no matter which theater, you’ll be able to take in the mysticism of a Broadway show. Mixing choreography, songwriting, musical talent, incredible sound and stage work, acting and more, the live theater performance will reaffirm even the most-unsure theatergoer. Perhaps your group contains those who’ve yet to witness a live performance. Perhaps you have budding actors, directors, writers, musicians, technicians, stagehands, or choreographers in the mix yearning for the opportunity to get their feet wet and dive into the world of the arts. Broadway’s offerings are a fabulous place to start.
Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

As a history center, this city excels. Take tours of the lower east side or Harlem and get hours and hours of New York City history. From immigration to tenement beginnings as well as thriving successes in all areas, guides facilitate a tour of endless riches. Hop aboard the Staten Island Ferry for a free journey, epic views, and glimpse of the Statue of Liberty. Spend the day at Ellis Island for a living history of stories and those who were a part of the building blocks of this spectacular city. Visit the Freedom Tower and 9/11 Memorial and Museum to honor memories, remember heroism and resilience, and witness documents and artifacts detailing and describing the events of September 11th. Check out the New York City Police Museum or New York City Fire Museum to get up close with memorabilia of some of the city’s heroes. Tour the New York Stock Exchange, check out the view from the Empire State Building (or if you’d like that in your view, head up to the observation deck at Rockefeller Plaza), or stand at the spot of the famed Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree and ice rink. For media historians, there’s always a tour of Seinfeld®, Sex and the City®, or Friends® hotspots to add to your camera’s already filled memory cards. New York is an amalgamation of stories, be sure to add yours to the mix.

For the budding athletes, trainers, doctors, exercise physiologists, statisticians, coaches, and of course, sports fans, New York City is a sports mecca. Above the transport hub of Penn Station sits Madison Square Garden. Take a tour or cheer on the New York Rangers in hockey or the New York Knicks in their basketball glory. Jump on the B or the D subway line and head to up the Bronx to take in a game at famed Yankee Stadium. You can head to Queens to spend time at an afternoon game with the New York Mets at Citi Field. Brooklyn’s Barclays Center now sports the home of the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Islanders. Or of course, there’s always the option to cross state lines and spend the day with the New York Jets, Giants, or Red Bull. And as always, in this diverse city, you can find rugby, cricket, curling, Gaelic football, softball, and more. The sporting world is your oyster…with a bit of research you can find your pearl.
Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

And then of course, there’s the food. So much of what makes New York City great is the plethora of cultures in the same space. Depending on the neighborhood or street, you can find cuisines from around the world set apart by footsteps instead of passport stamps. Wafting scents draw hungry travelers and locals inside for a true taste of home or a bite of something new. For a traditional Jewish Deli experience intertwined with that of Meg Ryan in When Harry Met Sally, there’s a memorable meal at Katz’s Deli. For a special soul food plate filled with love, comfort, and all sorts of deliciousness, head to Harlem to try Sylvia’s Restaurant. Amidst a baseball stadium hot dog, a street vendor pretzel or knish, and all sorts of food trucks making their way through the narrow streets and avenues, cuisines from around the world make their marks in all corners of Manhattan. You might get a pizza recommendation for John’s or the Original Rays, a bagel recommendation for H & H, or a spot in Little Italy’s Mulberry Street for a pasta feast for the ages. Bring your appetite for food and learning. Whether it’s cupcakes, empanadas, or a tie-dyed bagel, you’ll want to dive right in.
Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

The home of movies, television, media moguls, entrepreneurs, artists, comics, workers, families, educators, planners, adventurers, developers, dreamers, volunteers, and more, New York City is special. Being there for even a day is an educational experience like no other. Listen, embrace, interact, volunteer, join, create, breathe, and learn all that the city has to offer. Diversity enriches every aspect of this metropolis. Let the fabric that has been woven together provide you with a glimpse of life in the city. Life lessons abound. Here, we’re all students. Be a part of the story – you won’t be disappointed.
Through the Eyes of an Educator: New York City, New York

 

 

 

Stacey Ebert, our Educational Travels Editor, is a traveler at heart who met her Australian-born husband while on a trip in New Zealand. Stacey was an extracurricular advisor and taught history in a Long Island public high school for over fifteen years, enjoying both the formal and informal educational practices. After a one year 'round the world honeymoon, travel and its many gifts changed her perspective. She has since left the educational world to focus on writing and travel. She is energetic and enthusiastic about long term travel, finding what makes you happy and making the leap. In her spare time she is an event planner, yogi, dark chocolate lover, and spends as much time as possible with her toes in the sand. Check out her website at thegiftoftravel.wordpress.comfor more of her travel musings.
 
All photos courtesy and copyright Stacey Ebert

 

 

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