04:00 – a pretty early meeting time for 15 of us from the Sixth Form! Nonetheless, everyone arrived at school on time, and excited, for the New York Art Trip 2017. Our flight was delayed, and nearly diverted to Philadelphia or Washington because of a snowstorm in New York, but over 20 hours later, we’d landed in 8 inches of snow in ‘the Big Apple’ (where Ellie Hudson faced the trauma of having her banana confiscated by border security). Any tiredness, which hadn’t been helped when I made the foolish decision to climb all 11 flight of stairs to my hotel room, was overcome by enthusiasm, as we quickly headed out to the Heartland Brewery for nachos, burger sliders, fried chicken, cookies and brownies – food that set the tone for almost every meal to come! Our first evening in New York was ended with a trip up 80 floors to the top of the Empire State Building, for amazing views of the snow-covered city at night.
Over the next few days, we definitely made the most of the art New York had to offer, visiting the Guggenheim, the Frick Collection, the Whitney Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art, the Neue Galerie, and MoMA, each of which had their differences – for example, the architecturally interesting Guggenheim, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in the 20th century, housed modern art by artists such as Chagall, Picasso, Mondrian and Kandinsky, whereas the Frick Collection was held in the Henry Clay Frick House, a large mansion on the Upper East Side, and consisted of older works by Vermeer, Titian, Holbein, Gainsborough and Reynolds. A painting I found particularly interesting was “Trompe L’Oeil” by Jean-Étienne Liotard – it was so realistic, I didn’t even realise it was a painting. The Neue Galerie was displaying just 7 works by Klimt, including “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer”, so we all had some time to attempt some sketching, though, as a History of Art student rather than an artist, my sketches were certainly more dubious than those of the A-Level art students!
In between visiting galleries, we saw so much of the city, by foot, boat and by subway. On our first 3-hour walking tour, we went Uptown to Madison Square Park, the Flatiron building, New York Public Library, the Chrysler building, Grand Central Station, and of course, Times Square (which we would revisit each subsequent evening to eat at various American diners). Our water-taxi the next day was another highlight of the week, giving us views of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Manhattan skyline, and the Statue of Liberty. This was followed by another walking tour, this time of the Downtown area, featuring One World Trade Centre and Ground Zero, Wall Street, the New York Stock Exchange, and Trinity Church. We even had the opportunity to walk the Highline, a converted raised railway line, in order to reach the new Whitney Museum – Another highlight of the trip. We finished the trip with a visit to MoMA, Macy’s, and a ride up to the Top of the Rock, for one last view out over the city, with the Empire State Building and Central Park. Many thanks to Mr Preedy, Mrs Joy, Mrs Venables and Christian for organising such an amazing trip – it was an incredible experience for all of us, and we enjoyed every part of it.