New York City Black Out
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We were a big group of exchange students all longing to finally get to see some of Manhattan! We were so excited when we left the campus, we were staying at, to go on a sight seeing tour. Everything went fine in the morning. We took a tour of the United Nations and had a lunch cruise on the Hudson. To see the statue of liberty was amazing and we all rushed to get pictures as we were driving past it. Going past ground zero (which we could see from the boat) was strange and everyone went quiet for a moment. (This was just 2 years after 9/11.) Back on the shore we headed towards Central park, which is truely wonderful. It was great seeing so many different people there. The whole city by the way seemed kind of familiar to us because there's always a corner you had seen in some movie.
Anyways after leaving Central Park we boarded a bus to take a typical sightseeing tour. Just as we were on 5th Avenue, we noticed the traffic lights had gone out. Suddenly the street was crowded with people rushing out of the stores and shops and other buildings around. It was scary at that very moment because the traffic immediatly came to a complete stop and all the people were looking up in the sky. Pictures of what we had seen on TV two years before rushed through our minds.
Minutes later we heard on the radio that the black out was caused by a bolt of lightning, which supposedly occured near Niagra falls. We were relieved nothing had happened but we also knew our sight seeing tour was over and we'd not see any more of Manhattan.
The bus driver tried to take the shortest way out of Manhattan. It was past the United Nations' building and the Trump tower. Close to the Trump Tower is a small road tunnel. It took us 2 (!) hours to drive through the tunnel which is only about 500 meters long, maybe even less (I'm not good at saying that).
By the time we got out of the tunnel we were hungry and tired but we still hadn't reached the campus. It wasn't until 11 p.m. that we arrived there. Just to let you know the blackout had occured at about 2 p.m. We couldn't get into the dormitories because the elevator wouldn't work and the people at the camp thought it might be too dangerous for all of us to take the steps in the dark. So what did we do? We lay down on the grass and talked, slept or played games. Until about 2 o'clock at night. It was then when the people started getting us inside the building with flash lights in groups of two or three. We could finally go to bed.
The next day we were supposed to leave New York to get to our host families so we had to get up very very early. At about 4 a.m. the first students were ready to leave. They left for the airport and returned a while later. No flights were leaving New York because there was still no power. We began to wait.... I don't remember when the power came back, but it was quite a while.
It wasn't until the next day that we were able to leave New York. We were spread all over the United States and we sure won't ever forget our first impression of the United States of America!