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Diary of an Escort April 8, 2009

Posted by Fritz in Travel.
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I recently escorted a high school group to New York City.  Spoto High School in Riverview, FL has a vocational track called the Academy of Textiles and Design. Fifteen selected students and four faculty members visited the city focusing  on the textile and fashion design industry.

Lady Liberty

Lady Liberty

A great tour was put together through Prime Tours of Columbus, OH; a leader in educational school trips.  My previous escort jobs with Prime had been to Washington, DC so this NYC trip focusing on the fashion world was very enlightening.

The focus of the four-day trip was on the educational and Prime Tours, along with the Academy’s director, put together a jam packed tour with something for everyone.  Highlights included a behind-the-scenes private tour of Macy’s, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and The Tenement Museum in the heart of the old garment district (more on that later). The students toured the Metropolitan Museum of Art focusing on the costume and fashion exhibits. They also saw the felt display at the Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum; former personal residence of Andrew Carnegie.

Viewers of the popular Bravo show Project Runway will be familiar with Mood Fabrics at 225 W. 37th. The students toured the warehouse where millions of yards of fabric are housed; row upon row, floor to ceiling.   Fabric bolts in every conceivable color and texture.  nyc1

The entire trip was very enjoyable for me personally but I was most taken by The Tenement Museum. This museum tells the stories of the immigrant families who lived at 97 Orchard Street, a tenement built in 1863 on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

The founders of the museum had been searching for a suitable building with which to  build their vision.  Years of fruitless searching finally paid off when they discovered the ‘time capsule’ that is 97 Orchard St.

In 1935, New York City decreed that all apartments must have private indoor toilets.  In 1901, the building had been retrofitted with two indoor community water closets on each floor; just 10 toilets serving 20 families! The current owner decided the 1935 decree  too costly an upgrade and shuttered the 20 apartments above the first floor retail space. The empty apartments remained frozen in time until discovered in 1988 by the founders of the museum.  The museum has painstakingly recreated the various eras in several of the apartments, researching the actual tenants so as to replicate as closely as possible the exact look.

Here’s a great link to more fascinating info on this building. www.tenement.org/Encyclopedia/orchard.htm

The remainder of the 4 days were spent touring the most popular sights; The Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, Rockefeller Center and NBC’s Today Show, Times Square, Central Park, Southside Seaport, Battery Park, Ground Zero, The Dakota building (John Lennon’s residence) to name just a few.

Manhattan is a great place to visit.  I urge everyone to see America’s largest city in all her glory.

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