After an excruciating 3 hour wait in us customs and being sent to the back of many lines I was exhausted but nothing gets you excited like collecting your bag and hauling it out into the great American sunshine, it really struck me that this is actually happening… this idea of the best scouting experience and living it in person. The way the heat hits you walking out of an airport always brings excitement or relief or curiosity and I think I felt all of these at the one time…
The bus took my unit to Hofstra University… a beige set of buildings basking in sun and after some excited flurry we got our rooms, with the greatest AC in the world but with little time to spend in New York the army of tartan neckers moved out. And our chosen transport… the classic yellow American school bus.
Driving along an American highway with New York lying on the horizon was so exciting… my unit couldn’t wait to get there.
We were dropped off in a park in the city (Unfortunately not central) where we stayed for at least two hours lying on the grass staring up at the buildings in awe just trying to grasp the atmosphere. The city was insanely hot and sweaty, it was like walking in a sauna, even when the sun set the heat stayed, and the low constant rumble of subway cars only being interrupted by the honk of taxis. Everyone in the unit found this experience somewhat overwhelming, even getting dinner in a hipster shop was chaotic, it was essentially a hipster hygienic all you can eat buffet and after around 9 hours of travelling my eyes were definitely bigger than my belly.
We took our take out into the park and ate among the native New Yorkers who were laughing with friends or relaxing in the heat. As the sun lowered the sky was never dark, in New York night is neon. We decided to get some late night sight seeing in and this was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done… New York really is the city that never sleeps.
Even when the sky was dark the streets were alive with bright light in Times Square or with the crowds still flowing through grand central station.
Our time in New York was short and we had to head back to the university to get some much needed sleep… the next morning started with a grab and go breakfast, including corn muffin, cereal bar and water to get us ready for a busy day. The corn muffin tasted so good, I would kill for one right now.
And with breakfast in hand we got on the bus for the hour ride back into New York. We walked down to the piers to get a boat tour called the beast. The beast is a high adrenaline boat tour circling the Statue of Liberty and it was mental. Pulling donuts and soaking us with water in the middle of the Hudson was an adrenaline junkies dream.
After drying off in the mid day sun we headed to get a classic New York lunch. I got a chicken BLT and like every else in New York we ate it on the move. By this point we were late for the ferry to get our bus so we got on the subway and went downtown.
Our time in New York was short but it gave me a taste of the city experience and now I cannot wait for the UK contingent trip to Washington DC.