By: Tomi Simmons
Over interterm, fifteen students and fifteen community members of McPherson traveled to the Big Apple! New York City! Professors Rick Tyler and Jd Bowman led this trip. We spent nine days there, and saw two Broadway shows, a tour of the Steinway Piano Museum, and a tour of the Metropolitan Opera House together. Though we went as a group, everyone had their own personal experiences that made New York special.
The class was for an Introduction to Performing Arts credit, and so the students and I were extremely focused on different aspects of the art in the city. Personally, my focus was how art related to the life of New York City. I found my answers through the art at the Museum of Modern Art, Guggenheim, and the MET; which showcased some of the best paintings and creations ever made in the world.
The city of New York was extremely overwhelming, however after a day I felt at home. The public transportation and the way everyone could walk to their destination without an issue absolutely amazed me. There were all walks of life from everywhere too. One day I went to Chinatown and Little Italy; the amount of cultural differences by just one street was tremendous. The different parts of the city were all different as well, which made it an adventure when transferring from Manhattan to Brooklyn. A restaurant called Eataly, which served some of the most authentic Italian food I had ever had in the United States; and a conveyor belt sushi restaurant were the easily the best food places I went to. Although there were so many choices, I never went wrong with one dollar sliced pizza too!
The performing arts and Broadway itself was a great treat to experience. The group saw “Come from Away,” and “The Band’s Visit” together. Overall, I saw five Broadway shows due to student rushing and discounted tickets. On Martin Luther King Day, I also got to go see performance tributes to Martin Luther King and his impact on the world. The performance and gospel music were empowering. In addition to the performing arts, I was granted the opportunity to perform poetry at the Nuyorican Poetry Cafe two nights that week. I was blessed to see poetry that was much different from the west coast (where I am from), and raw passion in the writers I have looked up to for years.
After New York City, I feel empowered. I attended the 2018 Women’s March in the city, and I achieved my dream of seeing the United Nations building and I got closer to the people I went with. I made friends with all of the students who went on this adventure with me. In addition, I am forever grateful for Rick Tyler and Jd Bowman for showing me the different sights of life. New York City gave me hope for the future and insight on how important art is in our culture.