Saturday, 28th February 2015: After so many weeks of preparation we were finally standing at the airport ready to flying to New York City! The whole group met at 9:15 a.m. and everyone checked in without any complications, except for one girl, because she got a standby-ticket which meant, that it was possible that she would have to take another flight.
The teachers in agitation decided to go directly to where the group should show their passports. However, the employee could not give the OK, because the other passengers had to enter the airplane first. Shortly before departure Thomas Gottschalk and his makeup artist showed up. So there were three people waiting to board the airplane but there were only two seats. In the end the student got the seat. After all the agitation, also with Gottschalk, everyone felt relieved that we all could board the (same) airplane. We made a stopover in Düsseldorf and from there we flew directly to JFK airport in New York. It was a long flight (about 7hours) but everyone could enjoy it with their friends so time went by quickly. As we arrived at JFK, we all got our baggage (surprise) and Kevin was already awaiting us and together in a shuttle we all went to our hotel. The ride took another 1,5 hours. At the end of the day we safely arrived at Marrakesh Hotel and unpacked our baggage. After that most of us went out in small groups to eat something or used their time to refresh. It did not take too long until the first went to bed. It was a long day and everyone was looking forward to the next day!
Sunday, 1st March 2015
Our first day in New York started with the search for breakfast. We decided to go to the “Broadway bagel house”. It was a typical American diner: the small tables with the typical chairs, the smell of freshly baked bagels and the atmosphere that we all knew from American movies or soaps. After breakfast we took the train no. 1 downtown to South Ferry and entered the ferry to Staten Island. After a short time, we had an awesome view from the ferry. We could see the south of New York, Manhattan and the Brooklyn Bridge. At that time it started to become foggy and New York looked like a mysterious island only consisting of skyscrapers. Unfortunately, after the boat trip it started to snow. So we walked to Chelsea Market and in front of an Italian restaurant a woman asked us to try their noodles. To be honest, American food is not the best food on earth but these noodles were unbelievably good! And to make it even better: we saw a cupcake bakery with cupcake motives like Minions or just wonderfully decorated ones.
After Chelsea Market we walked to 5th Avenue but we ended up on 6th Avenue at Urban Outfitters. After a while (it was still snowing heavily) we made our way to the Rockefeller Center. Unfortunately, the visit got rescheduled because surprisingly the weather was still pretty bad. We could have gone ice-skating but we all agreed that 40$ per person was a little bit too expensive although it would have been really nice. We decided to walk to Times Square and although it was already dark outside, the lights of the signs at Times Square were so bright and shiny that you could have thought that it was daytime. A small group of us went to American Eagle and after a while we figured out that if we took a photo as a group there they would put us up on the big American Eagle screen outside. So we took a group photo and waited outside for it to come up on the screen. After probably all hands were frozen from holding our cameras to take a picture when the photo would be shown on the screen, it finally showed up. It was kind of hilarious because the American Eagle people told us that our photo would be shown for 15 seconds and I promise that the photo was only shown for 5 seconds. It was still awesome though. After we checked out some more stores at Times Square we went back to the hostel and I think all of us were glad to be back in a warm room because it was a cold and exciting day and I guess some were still tired because of the jetlag!
(Anna W., Julius K., Carline O.)
Monday, 2nd March 2015
After a comfortable night in our hotel, for some of us the day started with a run to and through Central Park, while others preferred to have walk. However, it was just beautiful to see this park covered in snow, directly next to huge skyscrapers and the stressed people needing to be quick to be on time for work.
But we didn't have much time either, as we had a tough program planned. Back in the hotel and strengthened by a good breakfast, we split into groups and started a new day in New York City, the city that never sleeps. Following the advice of our teachers, the majority of the groups decided to visit Chinatown and Little Italy.
Personally, I found it strange to experience how streetscape can completely change from one corner to the next. To say we travelled from China to Italy would be an exaggeration, but it describes the feeling you have when walking through the streets. In my opinion this is the point, which makes N.Y.C so unique: its diversity.
After our free time we were supposed to meet our teachers in Williamsburg. They had arranged a city tour through Williamsburg, a district of Brooklyn. Our guide did a great job, showed us a lot of things, you would never notice walking through the streets on your own. For example he could tell us a lot about street art and how Williamsburg developed from a deprived area to a popular hotspot. Always equipped with good knowledge and a good mood, he led us through Williamsburg for more than three hours. But it was worth it, we had a great sight of Manhattan’s skyline and after that we crossed the Hudson River on the famous Brooklyn Bridge. The view was breathtaking. Just before the end of the tour our guide spontaneously took us to the Jewish community, a region where nearly everybody is Jewish and is also dressed this way. I think none of us have ever experienced anything like that before. You feel that you are a foreign body in their world and you start to understand how foreign people might feel coming to our world. It really has been a new experience we probably will never forget.
Towards the end of our tour, we went back to Manhattan on the subway to go back to Brooklyn again, but this time on foot. Together we took the way over the impressive Brooklyn Bridge and enjoyed the sun setting behind the Statue of Liberty. As we reached the other side we directly went to Barclay's Center to watch the game Brooklyn Nets versus the Golden State Warriors. The game couldn't have been better. Brooklyn won, after a great game with many highlights, in the last second. Late in the evening everybody was exhausted by the day but could sleep with a huge smile on their face.
(Jakob H. and Magnus W.)
Tuesday, 3rd March 2015
In this short text I would like to focus on the most important part of this awesome experience in New York. But before I come to the play where men’s private parts were mixed and hot guys undressed themselves so that girls screamed, I again like to draw the attention to the two wonderful teachers: Mrs Kneba who beautifully ran against everything that came in her way (well, at least once) and Mrs Dyroff who lost her train ticket (once). These two wonderful women knew how to tackle every issue. In the end there is nothing better than a teacher who understands the students and feels with them.
So, the musical we saw: It is called “Big Love” and in this play we learned a lot about love, for example:
1. If you don‘t want to marry your cousin you don’t go to court and sue them but you kill them instead and make a smoothy with their private parts!?!
2. If you do want to marry your cousin (since it is legal) you can have sex with them while everybody else is rioting!?!
3. If you live in Italy you better watch every person asking for your protection especially if they have many cousins and are from Greece!?!
These are just some of the morals you were able to take with you. I really did enjoy New York and especially the play.
(Jeremias W. and Nicholas J.)
Wednesday, 04th March 2015
On Wednesday we got up early so we could still have a quick breakfast before we had to move to the Hilton Hotel. Then we took several taxis to the other hotel and let our bags there. Then we visited the 9/11 Memorial Museum. The entire area around the Memorial was almost completely quiet. We spent almost two hours trying to look at the pictures of the deceased, or the very impressive destroyed fire truck. Then we had lunch and had our evening Opening Ceremony. Later we watched some TV and went to bed early because after half a week in NY we were so tired.
(Marvin K., Jonas G. )
Thursday, 5th March 2015
In the morning we woke up in the middle of Manhattan, Hilton Midtown, 17th floor. We had a pleasant sleep but, unfortunately, it didn’t last long. Early in the morning we went to the permanent Mission of Guatemala to the United Nations, in Park Avenue. It was another cold and snowy day and we were glad when we arrived at the mission. There, several delegates of Guatemala, all women gave us an insight into their tasks. Furthermore, they presented some current issues on which they were working, such as the status of women or international terrorism and we asked several questions about topics we were discussing in our committees. After this interesting meeting we had a break of one or two hours until the next sessions began at 1.30 p.m. Today all committees were working on so-called working papers gathering suggested measures to find a solution. After a couple of hours we had a break for lunch and time to sleep, because in the evening there was another very long session till 10 p.m., in which the committees completed their working papers. In our opinion this was the most exhausting day of NHSMUN 2015, discussing solutions for so many hours. Today we gained the experience how demanding the work of real UN delegates actually is. Therefore we were all glad when we arrived in our rooms and could relax. First, all of us were annoyed but afterwards it was a big part of a unique experience, which we had at the conference.
(Prabhdeep S. G. and Kevin R.)
Saturday, 7th March 2015
Saturday was the last day of the NHSMUN Conference 2015 and for most of us also the last day of our trip to New York. On our very last morning it was extremely difficult to get up because of several reasons: first of all we were very exhausted due to a lack of sleep during the conferences. Secondly, we had to get up very early: Our meeting was at seven a.m. (!) in the lobby. Even though the Closing Ceremony did not start until 9:30 a.m. we had to be at the UN building two hours earlier, at 7:30 a.m. to get good seats.
And last but not least some of us had forgotten to pack their suitcases the evening before. Therefore they had to get up extremely soon since we wouldn’t have enough time after the Ceremony to do so.
7:30 a.m.: almost everyone was there – the last ones were just coming down with the elevator, which was not as fast as we would have wished. Sometimes it was even faster to take the stairways. Sixteen storeys!
Nevertheless, when we were finally complete and ready to start, our teachers asked us if we had got everything essential with us. Well, to be honest, we just had to take our badges because without them we wouldn’t be allowed to enter the United Nations building. Therefore it was very important not to forget them.
Unfortunately, two of us had forgotten them. Since it would take hours to get up with the elevators and Mrs. Kneba was impatient, Mrs. Dyroff waited for the boys in the lobby while the rest of us already left with Mrs. Kneba. I am still not sure how they managed it but Mrs. Dyroff and the two pupils who had forgotten their badges arrived just in time with us.
In the hotel lobby everyone was wondering why we had to be there three hours before the conference would start but in front of the building we all did understand the reason. The huge queue of pupils was approximately 100 meters long (I am not good at estimating, but it was really, really long).
We had to wait about for one and a half hours in the queue and it was extremely cold. Shortly before we could go in, Mrs. Dyroff realised that she had only 14 tickets instead of 19. These tickets were required and as important as the badges. Therefore another four pupils and Mrs. Dyroff had to wait in front of the building and explain our desperate situation. Again, I am still not sure how they managed it but somehow they were allowed to enter. The Closing Ceremony took place in the real hall where the real delegates normally debate. We only knew this hall from TV - hence it was absolutely cool to be in there. The Closing Ceremony itself was also interesting. Some people gave some speeches about world problems like ISIS, Ebola or the current situation in the Ukraine. A chair did even read out a letter in which the participants and the staff of the conference and their work done during the last four days were praised. It turned out that it had been written by Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the UN himself! This underlined the importance of such MUN conferences and we felt extremely honoured and important. Back at the Hilton Hotel we had problems to tidy up our rooms in time. Despite of that, everyone made it to the airport, to his family or to his next hotel. Again, I am still not sure how we managed that.
All in all, it was a great experience – very strenuous but also very interesting.
(Louisa H. and Alina Ö.)