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Upper School Elective Explores the Upper West Side

Friday, December 2, 2016

Students in the Exploring the Neighborhood Elective

This fall, students in the Exploring the Neighborhood elective went out each week to learn about our new Upper West Side neighborhood. They visited a range of venues, from those offering community resources to places serving delectable treats. The following are students’ descriptions of their excursions:

West Side Community Garden & Momofuku Milk Bar

For our first neighborhood exploration class, we went to the West Side Community Garden. The garden was beautiful and there were people enjoying themselves. It was a very nice public space for a community to gather. It was peaceful and quiet. There were fresh vegetables and lots of pretty flowers. There was a nice place to sit in the shade. Overall it was a very beautiful space and we had a very nice time. Afterward, we went to get some sweet treats at Momofuku Milk Bar. The cookies were delicious and a great way to end our trip. 

Riverside Park and Holocaust Museum 

We walked to Riverside Park. At the park, we walked down a path and saw a sign about the Holocaust, which we read. The park is not as convenient as last year's. At the old building the park was a block away. Riverside Park has a highway in the middle of it so it is difficult to get to the Hudson River. After we left Riverside Park, we saw Banksy art. We also saw this really cool street where the cars were going in two different directions. It was awesome. 

Pizza Taste Test Outing

Over the course of the day we went to three different pizza places: Pizza Pete’s, Caesar’s Palace Pizza and T&R’s. What we appreciated about Pizza Pete’s was the thin crust. However, some believed the sauce was too sweet, which threw off the flavor of the savory dish. Though only two of us ate the garlic knots, the ones who did found them to be lacking garlic flavor and seemed to be made by a novice chef. The next place we went was Caesar's Palace Pizza. The pizza there had a nice balance between cheese and sauce. The sauce was not as sweet as what we tried at Pizza Pete’s. T&R’s pizza seemed to be the best out of the places we visited. Their pizza was simply culinary excellence. It had a nice mix of spices that left you wanting more and a thin, crunchy crust. The sauce, like the one at Caesar's Palace Pizza, was perfect. All in all, 85.7 percent of our group found it to be the best. It was pizza made for kings by culinary masters.

American Museum of Natural History 

On October 19, we went to the American Museum of Natural History, which was only a short walk away from MCS. Unfortunately, most of the exhibits were closed for a private event, but we did see a few really interesting things. First, we walked through the Rose Center for Earth and Space and saw the Cosmic Pathway with planets, stars and meteors. Then, we saw the reptile exhibit, prehistoric lizards and their eggs, a skeleton of an ancient giant turtle, and lots of dinosaur bones. The coolest thing we saw was a cast of a Titanosaur skeleton, which is pretty new to the museum. This skeleton was so big it took up a whole room. 

West Side Campaign Against Hunger

During our neighborhood exploration, we visited the West Side Campaign Against Hunger, a supermarket-style food pantry at 86th Street and West End Avenue. One of the workers told us a little bit about how it works. Basically you get a card and that card is like money. It shows how much food you get. The bigger the family, the more food you can get. Families can come once a month. The organization supplies families with three-days worth of food. This helps families that are struggling pay their bills without having to give up eating. We got to walk around the pantry and see the produce they had. We learned about a turkey drive they do every year so that families can have a Thanksgiving meal. People like to volunteer for the turkey drive and also help bag bread.