Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Oh, What a Beautiful Season!

Fall in NYC! 

To me, fall is the best time to be in New York City-- summer’s stifling heat and is like a jungle. Like the blinding green of a jungle, certain things stand out-- skyscrapers, monuments, museums, etc.-- which every visitor should experience. Yet just as a jungle teems with life hidden from anyone lacking the knowledge to find it, NYC has many hidden gems that the average tourist never gets to experience. At Hi-New-York, we structure our programs to include the biggest tourist highlights and those special places only native New Yorkers know about, along with everything in between.
humidity is replaced by a pleasant cool air, and the changing leaves add streaks of color to our concrete jungle. As the most diverse (over 800 languages are spoken in the five boroughs) and exciting city in the country, NYC really

Life in Every Corner

During our visit to the Natural History Museum, we studied the similarities and differences between humans and our mammalian relatives. This was the perfect way to learn vocabulary like thumb, knee, fur, etc. The students were especially awed by the herd of elephants that marches through the African mammals section and the massive mountain gorillas.  The sight of the gorillas led one student to remark, “They look like we do!”  Mission accomplished.

At the Aquarium, students got to see the fish made famous by the movie Finding Nemo up close and personal, along with penguins, otters and octopuses, to name just a few of the sea critters that call the aquarium home. However, the sea lion show was by far the biggest hit for our students. Their jaws were on the floor the whole time watching their incredible acrobatic stunts.

The highlight of the Bronx Zoo was a 4-D movie with vibrating seats and mist that fell on the audience from the ceiling. It’s not surprising that this was the favorite part of the zoo for the students, but the animals were not far behind! Their favorite were the mountain gorillas, many of whom were right up against the glass of their enclosure, including a mother and baby.

Tasty Treats!

At an edible garden in NYC, students helped staff members prepare a soup with many of the ingredients straight from the garden and then got to taste it! They had a great time as assistant chefs, learning about the importance of eating healthy, fresh food and enjoying the garden on a sunny, beautiful fall day-- all while practicing their English!

Although the soup was tasty, the most delicious day we had this fall was a tour of a chocolate factory. An expert chocolate maker guided us through every step of the process, from drying and shelling the cacao beans to liquefying the pure chocolate to the process of adding specialty flavors. Although the students found the tour interesting, their favorite part was the many chocolate samples they got along the way, including some tasty chocolate soda!

Leafy greens were for the tasting on a rooftop farm overlooking the East River.  The students learned about what crops the farm grows, who the customers are, and some challenges of farming in the middle of the biggest city in the country. All this while enjoying breathtaking views of Manhattan.

From All Walks of Life

Our students had the privilege of walking through the exclusive Harvard Club in Midtown Manhattan this fall. The Clubhouse, which has been in use since 1894, was one of the first buildings to be named a New York City landmark and listed on the National Register of Historic Places. From the rooftop restaurant to the hotel rooms for members to the halls and rooms with mounted moose heads and such, I am afraid it was a bit intimidating for some :-)

Louis Armstrong’s house in Queens and the tenements on the Lower East Side were also places we explored. Through music, food and personal stories, we learned about and celebrated the diversity of the people who have made NYC their homes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

A Romance Novelist in the Making!

The story below was written by our teen student Mariana who was inspired by the romantic possibilities in New York City.

A New York Love Story

I graduated from high school with my two best friends.  We wanted to go to college in New York.  Amanda was the smart and realistic girl in the group, Camille was the funny and shy girl, and I, Gabriella, was the romantic and passionate one. We wanted to have a lot of fun, meet some guys and make our dreams come true in New York. We loved New York and wanted to be a part of this busy city. We bought a loft near Downtown because NYU is there.  We were there to study business, art and education.

It was our first day at NYU.  It is a big campus with many people, and the buildings are quite spread out.I am the only one who takes business.  The three of us have different classes. Amanda is in education and Camille in art. The teachers are so good, but I was nervous.

“Are you okay?” asked the guy next to me with a smile.
“Yes, I am okay,” I answered.
“I am Jason,” he said giving me his hand.
“I am Gabriella.” I took his hand and smiled.
“So.. what are you doing in business?” he asked.
“What do you mean?” I asked confused.
“ You seem like a drama student,” he answered.
“What?!” I started to laugh.
“Is everything okay?” asked the teacher.
“Yes,” he answered.
“Are you coming to the welcome party?” he asked.
“Maybe with my friends,” I said.
“See you there,” he said with a smile.

I ran to the education building.  Camille was just getting out.

“We have to go to the education party!” I said very excitedly.
“Why?” she asked.
“Because I met a guy,” I answered.
“Really? Me too!” she said.
We went to the art building and found Amanda drawing something in her notebook.
“Are you ready?” she asked.
“Yes” I answered.

We went home to choose our outfits. I chose a blue shirt, white shorts and high heels. Camille chose a pink dress with flats, and Amanda didn’t want to go.
The party was at the auditorium.  It was very big and full. Camille and I were very shy, but then a girl invited us to dance with her group. A few hours later, Amanda decided to come, and we danced some more.

“Camille,” said Jason heading over to my friend.
“Don’t you remember me?” I asked, very confused.
“I’m sorry, but no,” he answered.
“I am from business,” I said.
“I am in education, sorry,” he said and continued to talk to Camille.
“Amanda,” I called my other friend.
“Yes?” she answered.
“I think I am crazy,” I said.
“Why?” she asked.
“I swear I met a guy today, and he is talking to Camille,” I said.
“Where?” she asked.
“There,” I pointed.
Amanda took off her glasses, and started to clean them.
“Gabriella,” she said.
“Yes?” I asked.
“I met the same guy,” she answered.
“No way!” I started to laugh.
“What are you laughing at?” she asked.  She was very angry.
“This is very funny,” I answered.
We went to find something to drink, and Jason came to us.
“Amanda” he said.

Amanda was drinking coca-cola, and when she saw him, she threw the coca-cola all over  Jason’s shirt.
“Are you crazy?!” he asked.
I was laughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe.
“You flirted with my best friends!” she answered, very angry.
“No, I didn’t,” he answered, very confused.
“You’re a liar,” she said.
“Bro, that coca-cola goes with your eyes,” said a guy exactly like Jason.  He was laughing very hard like me.
“Shut up,” said the other guy.
“Amanda, they’re twins!” I said.
“No, we are triplets,” answered another one.
“He is Henry, the one with the coca-cola is James, and I am Jason,” he said.
Amanda was so embarrassed, Camille was very confused, and I was laughing very hard
“Do you want to go?” asked Jason.
“Yes,” I said.

We went out to the soccer field, and we lay down on the grass.
“I’m sorry that I didn’t tell you about my brothers,” he said.
“It’s okay.  It was funny,” I said with a smile.
“Do you want to go out with me sometime?” he asked.
“Yes, but I have a question,” I said.
“What?” he asked.
“How do I know it’s you and not one of your brothers?” I asked.
He started to laugh.
“Because I have a scar near my eyebrow,” he said.

Two days later, he invited me to Coney Island, and we went to the beach and ate ice cream. We rode all the rollercoasters, he won a teddy bear for me, and we kissed at the top of the ferris wheel.  Amanda went on a date with James to the Brooklyn Bridge.  They drew Manhattan in their notebooks. Camille went to Brooklyn by boat with Henry, and they ate macaroons.

Going to New York was the best thing that ever happened to us.  We found the love of our lives, and our dreams came true.  A few years later, Amanda’s drawings were exhibited in the Whitney Museum, Camille became a great teacher at NYU, and I was working on Wall Street.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Hey There Summer!

It's a Small World After All

As the voices of nations and groups rejecting "outsiders" grow louder all around us, the young students who come together to learn English on the Upper East Side only know that they like to play with each other.  To the Jewish girl from Berlin, a Muslim boy from Istanbul and a Catholic boy from Modena, there are no lines they shouldn't cross.  They fish (one even caught something - finally!) together, they play hang man together, and they whiz through the hall of mirrors together.  We can only wonder at the beauty of the friendships formed and hope that each of them keeps some of these memories with them into adulthood.

Glorious Food (and Drink)!

There have been many firsts for our teen students during the past few weeks.  The first soup dumplings and lycees in Chinatown.  The first bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon on the Lower East Side.  The first ginger ale and cherry soda - again on the Lower East Side.  The first Nathan's hot dog on Coney Island.  The first American pizza slice in Brooklyn. 

And then there are the old favorites.  Chocolate chip cookies.  Oreos. Donuts.  Yum yum!

So Very Different from Home

We always find it interesting to discuss the similarities and differences between cities.  When compared to Tokyo and Moscow, the people are more diverse in NYC, but the subways/metros and buildings feel about the same. When compared to Villadolid, everything is different.  The buildings are taller, the streets are wider, and there is much more diversity in the people and food in NYC.  Maria, Keiko and Dimitry, however, prefer home.  NYC is a great place to visit, but...