Senior NY Lit class explores NYC

News

On Nov. 14, students from the New York Literature class embarked on a field trip into the city to explore its culture, watch a play, and further understand the texts they discussed in class.

English teacher William Martino said there were many reasons he decided to take the students to the beautiful city. “We spent so much time talking about New York City and my experience,” he said. “I wanted to share some part of that. Being in the city, seeing different neighborhoods brings the texts to life, and the students are able to make some sort of personal connections with the texts.”

The students left early in the morning to catch the train from New Haven to Grand Central. From there, they hopped onto a subway to Union Square where they had some free time to go explore, eat lunch, or visit a local bookstore.

Then, the class took the subway right into Times Square where they made their way to the theater to watch the play, “The Waverly Gallery.” Afterwards, students took a walk through Midtown before catching a train back home.

Mr. Martino said he wanted to make it a memorable day for his class, and it was exciting to watch the play. “For many, it was their first Broadway play,” he said. “It was about a woman nearing the end of her life who was in Greenwich Village and owns an art gallery. She suffers from dementia, which keeps getting worse. The play explores the impact of dementia on an entire family, and the city is so important in terms of what it gave the main character. The actors were really good, and the play overall was just really poignant and heart wrenching,” he said.

Senior Mckenzie Piehl said that she really enjoyed the play because it was so powerful and heavy.

“It was nice to see it as a class because we were able to discuss and process the play in terms of what we have been learning in class,” she said.

Senior Ryan Peterson said he agreed that watching a Broadway play and touring the city was really cool. “It helped us better visualize the texts we read in class,” he said.

Senior Eryk Jones said that the relaxed nature of the trip really led him to experience the city in a unique way. “We didn’t have an explicit plan, so it was cool to just enjoy the city for what it is,” he said.  

Mckenzie agreed that the trip was overall an unforgettable experience. “Since our English class is New York Literature, it was nice to be able to go into the city and tie everything that we’ve learned and talked about from books together,” she said. “I definitely got a better sense of the culture.”

Mr. Martino said that some of the texts the students read were “Let the Great World Spin” by Colum McCann, “The Fire Next Time” by James Baldwin, and “Death of a Salesman” by Arthur Miller. “In each of those books, I like to focus on the portrayal of New York itself and the relationships the characters have with the city, which can be vastly different,” he said. “New York is a character itself, and it is interesting to see the different ways it is portrayed.”

Eryk said that “Let the Great World Spin” dealt with many different New Yorkers and their perspectives. “Seeing the multitude of people in Grand Central Station, I was able to understand the scope of how big the city was and how many different people there are,” he said.

Ryan agreed that the trip really helped him connect to the texts they read as a class. “Sometimes books seem far fetched, but actually going and seeing what they are really about helps you materialize what you read,” he said.

Mckenzie said the atmosphere was really great that day. “I think our trip greatly enriched my experience of the course,” she said. “The day we went into the city, everyone in my class had good energy, which made all the difference. We were all there because we wanted to be.”

Eryk agreed that being able to bond in the city as a class was really fun. “My favorite part was when we would pass something and Mr. Martino would just completely geek over it,” he said. “It was interesting to see how familiar he was with the city, since he had lived there for a while.”

Mr. Martino said he hoped the students got something out of the trip. “I wanted them to have a sense of independence, explore something off the beaten path in Union Square, and also take the fear of the mystery of the city out of the picture,” he said. “I really wish we could spend more time there.”

Mckenzie said that this trip was one worth remembering. “The city has so much to offer, and it has such a variety of cultures that you are not able to experience elsewhere,” she said. “It truly never sleeps.”