From State St to Broadway

On April 9, we took our students down to the Big Apple to see the Color Purple on Broadway, for most of the students, UMass included, this was their first time in New York City. 

Photos courtesy of Kim Acer

A reflection from Commerce student Jose

During my trip to New York, I experienced a new feeling that I had never felt outside Springfield. Getting to New York was a long trip and very irritating because of the [lack of] comfort I was feeling while on the bus, dealing with nausea and headaches. Despite it being such a long trip, as soon as we got to witness the large city in front of the bus, I knew we were entering a new atmosphere along with a new type of energy that I had never experienced in such a large city. However, I had seen movies and TV shows where the setting is usually in New York, either in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Harlem. Basically everything I had seen of New York, whether large amounts of amazing and incredible graffiti and architecture or an enormous amount of people just walking down the street to where ever they are going.

New York is much different than here in Springfield, as anyone can know that without even ever going to New York, but I thought there was at least some similarity. I was wrong. The difference is significant. From prices of food to the people to the roads and traffic and the environment surrounding you. Common stores here seem the same size as a corner store but upon entering them, they’re as big as a super market.

Getting to the bus stop and after excessive amounts of picture taken by me, we walked down the street and ended up facing straight at the original spot to where the twin towers once stood. Looking at the massive crater that was left behind to give respect to those who died that day made me think of all the people that suffered from it as well as the destructive minds and hearts of uninspired souls. It led me to think of why people cannot just understand what peace and love is. While we were leaving the area thinking very negative, we stopped by a gift shop. The merchandise was nice and amusing but the amount of money one could spend on a cheap sweater or mug really surprised and ticked me off. 

UMass student, Eric Polleys, reflects on the journey home

Upon leaving the theatre, I experienced a sense of calmness and observable nature. This musical was conducted by a number of individuals, the same type of individual who wrote the lyrics, designed the infrastructure, and marketed the tickets. While the musical was the main event, it was amazing to imagine the time and effort spent to produce such a wonderful performance. At that moment I felt lucky to witness something that, while it can be parallel, can never be fully replicated. In this moment I extended this network of connections and also took note the state in which New York State is in. The streets were so coordinated which is something that any Boston native knows is far from the case. I believe Boston roads, constructed first, paved way for fixing errors when creating the streets of New York. Our trip through the city is one that will be different every day considering the infinite variables that changed by the second, minute, and hour. The market system that is currently in use by the American government, which in turn drastically affect New York, allows for these individuals in the population to open stores that range from cleaning sneakers to Halal food. Each of these commodities is produced by the owner and consumed by the millions of people I the state. It was really amazing being in a large, unfamiliar city and observing the similarities, differences, positives, and negatives when compared to my own experience. This trip allowed for an expansion of some sheltered horizons and a longing to return sooner than later. 

The trip home is, surprisingly, one part of the journey that will stick with me for a long time. The bus was full of students who had just experienced a day unusual to their daily lives and was to their liking. For the first time I had witnessed, many if not all fabricated personas disappeared as true identities and fun began to unfold. We joked, rapped, hyped each other up, and laughed at each other after a day that was full of stress and excitement. Unfortunately, upon leaving the bus the desired emotion just experienced seemed to extinguish, but that does not mean the emotions felt on the bus were gone for good. This trip was one that we were lucky enough to take and was one that will hopefully say with and influence us all in the future. I am positive that the students who went had a fantastic time and perhaps even more than they stressed. Nonetheless, observing the nature and behavior of an unknown environment, yet still one more culturally familiar to me than not, allowed for true growth as thoughts had could not be possible otherwise. I crave to explore more areas of the world with people who hold much different beliefs than I hold to progress further together. I think it is fair to assume that despite what many may initially feel, our nature and nurture have a huge impact on the people we become. However, this does not change that the person we begin as is similar across the world.