Midtown Manhattan, New York was home for me and 23 other kids & leaders from my church last week. We had sessions in the mornings from speakers New York Gospel Outreach. They were ok, but I think I personally got more out of going to the different ministry sites & hearing stories from other kids about their experiences around New York City.
So here is how the week went down...
Saturday: We left Woodside at 5:15ish AM, stopped a few times, and arrived in the Big Apple around 7PM. We had a session right when we got to the hotel, afterward we (as a task force a.k.a. Woodside) went and walked around New Yorks Times Square. All we could say (those of us who had never been to NYC before) was that is was surreal, why? Because it was exactly like it was on TV and in movies, a lot of people, loud, bad driving & traffic. But it was still exciting to be in a new place and to know what the following days would hold. So after lingering around Times Square & standing outside of Sports New York and attempting to be on TV we stopped by World of Nuts for ice cream. Then we headed back to the hotel for some much needed sleep.
Sunday: Morning Session with music & speaker. Lunch on the way (street vendor gyroscan be delicious yet very messy & hard to eat while walking) we met up with all of our Woodsiders and headed to our first trip on the New York Subway system. I had never ridden on one before, so it was nerve racking at the beginning, but I got used to them & the heat that is insane underground in the subways! We went to as Alex would say a Hobo Park an area near Madison Square Garden and handed out care packages and talked to some of the homeless people around. Then we walked around that area and then headed for the Brooklyn Tabernacle! So we went to an afternoon service at the Brooklyn Tab and it was amazing how alive & joyful everyone there was during the music & the message. It was really encouraging and later we talked about why our church is not like that. After that we headed back to the Times Square area and had some dinner and then went to another session. Following this, we had a time where we all got to talk about our day & share with each other things we were looking forward to for the week to come & what we had experienced that day. And finally we headed to bed, way too late!
Monday: Our day to SLEEP IN! Not, we woke up around 6AM to head out to the CBS Early Show. It was not all it was cracked out to be, trust me. But it was fun people from church actually saw us on TV and whatnot so that was cool. But right next to where we were, was the Apple Store. This was a good time, listening to iPods, checking mail, and messing around with Photo Both. Morning Session stufflunch in Central Park. This was our first day out on the town on our ministry sites. We took the subway to the Staten Island Ferry. We rode this back and forth for the afternoon and Megan, Brittany and I talked to some cool people, heard about people and just listened to what people had to say for the afternoon. It was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Then we all met and talked about our time on the Ferry.
For dinner, Mr. & Mrs. Gillesby, Sean, Alex, David, Brittany, Megan, and I went to TGI Fridays. It was fun talking to a totally random group of people after we met up with everyone else for the evening session.
Tuesday: Session, Lunch, Prospect Park. When we first got there we did not see very many people, but then we split up and went to different areas, and we found this cool park with a lot of kids and moms. So I got to talk to this sweet lady who was there with her daughter and she encouraged me, but I think she enjoyed talking because she had a lot to say & it was nice. There were many stories from this time from others as well it was a good time. Stopped for some food and headed to the Brooklyn Tabernacle for the Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting. This was a cool time of worship & prayer. Then we headed back to where we were staying went to TGI Fridays and got dessert then went back and headed for bed.
Wednesday: Session, Lunch, lower east side projects. This was an area I was the most nervous about. It was kind of discouraging at the beginning because we were not seeing as many people as we thought we would, but we ended up talking to some nannies and these really cute kids they were watching. And some of the guys got to play basketball with some guys and share Gods word with them at the end. On our way out we stopped by Dunkin Donuts and got something to snack on. Hopped on the subway and walked back to the hotel in the rain! Then after being all wet and gross we had some time to get all dolled up to go out to eat in Little Italy. This was fun all the girls were all dressed and we got to eat at a nice restaurant and then we walked around and looked at some of the places there, but then it started raining, so we headed back. Then we got together as a group and talked about our week so far, and Jerry informed us that he was heading home early to be with Bekah.
Thursday: Session, Lunch, Bronx. We took the subway for about 30 minutes all the way to the Bronx. We went to this park and walked around and chatted with some people. It was cool to see the guys hang out with a group of other guys and talk to them at the end of a soccer game about God and why they were in New York. Then we all got back on the subway and the guys went and hung out and then all the girls hung out in SOHO. It was OK, I mean not really my kind of thing, but we went a cute store called Lailia Rowe it had some good deals. Then we grabbed dinner on the run and headed to our last session. This was a long session with two speakers and a lot of music. It was OK. Then we headed to our rooms to pack and go to sleep!
Friday: Up early, waited for buses left NYC around 8:30ish. Traffic in Pennsylvania. Stopped one too many times, and arrived at Woodside about 9:45. Long day, long week, glad to be home.