New York field course

Students in New York 2011 36 students and three staff spent a week in New York City in late March on one of the Goegraphy Department’s annual second-year fieldcourses.  The city had been experiencing a bit of a heatwave in previous weeks but that had abated by the time we arrived and we were left with fairly typical late-March weather - warm, sunny days but cold mornings and nights.  New York is a fantastic place in which to see in real life some dramatic examples of the conceptual ideas in human geography that we discuss in lectures and tutorials.  Travelling around the city on foot and on the subway, we examined themes including landscapes of power, gentrification, and migration and diaspora.  We visited diverse locations including Wall Street, the new 9/11 Memorial, Times Square, Central Park, the Meatpacking District, the East Village, and Chinatown.  At the 9/11 Memorial we explored ideas not only of how national identity is created and sustained by monuments, but also of ‘dark tourism’ – the apparent need or desire to visit sites associated with tragedy.  Students also had the opportunity to work on small-group projects on topics - ranging from ‘cultural creative clusters’ to ‘sensing the city’ to ‘nature in the city’ - which they had researched and prepared in advance.  This meant exploring other, more obscure, parts of Manhattan as well as the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, and neighbourhoods like Williamsburg and Jackson Heights in Brooklyn and in Queens.  With the trip ending at the start of the Easter holidays, six students made the most of their airline ticket and stayed on for a few days.  Planning for next year’s trip is already well under way!