Orcas kids journey to New York City for a week of adventures

by Ella Weaver

Special to the Sounder

New York City is a lot different than Orcas.

When we crossed the streets, it was like in the movies: a horde of people crossing with us.

Sixth grade Salmonberry School students are given one trip in the U.S. at the end of the year, and we picked New York. Students Celia, Myla, Christopher, Reagan and I were led by teacher Paul Freedman and accompanied by chaperones Lauren Weaver, Paula Schuman and Ricardo Molina. We were there from April 22 to 29.

The plane ride was more than five hours, which was pretty long. We stayed in an apartment in Manhattan. On the first day, we went to the Metropolitan Art Museum; it was filled with facts and ancient stuff. We also went downtown to Brooklyn and saw music on the barge and ate at a really good coal-fired pizza place. Now normally, coal-fired anything could give you mesothelioma but since it’s New York, they have high sanitary standards, so we were okay. After that we walked on the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset.

On the second day, we had to wake up at 7 a.m. We caught a subway to downtown, then hopped on a ferry, went through a long security line and sailed over to Liberty Island. We didn’t get off, but I took multiple photos from different angles. Then we went to Ellis Island, where there was a large-looking museum that was smaller than I expected inside. After that, we got back onto the ferry, where we had delicious cinnamon buns. Then we went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum exhibit called “Hard Times.” We had lunch at a Chinese restaurant where we ate all kinds of food, including tripe. I thought it was a weird noodle but it turned out to be cow intestines, so I spit it out.

On the fourth day, we went to High Art and helped kids who don’t have access to art programs, which is sad because you can use art in so many different ways like expressing your feelings, which is exactly what we did with them. First, we watched a kids’ opera because the teacher was an opera geek. Then we had the kids express how they thought the main character felt. We had lunch with the staff and afterwards we went back to the apartment to order Mexican food that was delivered to our door. For dessert we went to get ice cream in the pouring rain.

Other highlights of the trip were an acrobatic performance, watching “Cyrano de Bergerac” at the Metropolitan Opera and amateur night at the Apollo, where we listened to DJ Jess and then watched singers, dancers and a comedian. We also toured more art and history museums. The art museums had a lot of different types of artwork from around the world, and plants that they flattened and put on a big metal sheet. The art was both realistic and interesting. In one museum, there was a tiny movie theatre and we watched a film about the many eras of art history. Earlier in the year we had studied early hominids so we saw real skeletons of those as well as dinosaurs and rocks and minerals in the museums. We saw the skeleton of a gigantic tortoise, a replica of a huge frog and many kinds of dinosaurs.

Some random observations on the trip: when we were driving to our apartment, I noticed many trash bags just laying on the side of the street, and I saw fewer homeless people in New York than in Seattle.

When we travel, like going to Maui or a concert, I like making movies with my iPod. While in New York, I wanted memories that were on film, so I made a movie of where we went. I set Taylor Swift’s song “Welcome to New York” to the scenes.

Our teacher was hoping that our journey to New York would both help us to work as a group as well as independently – and that was successful. It was also beneficial to see the “real world” since we all live on Orcas Island.