Never make your home in a place, make a home for yourself inside your own head. You’ll find what you need to furnish it – memory, friends you can trust, love of learning, and other such things. That way it will go with you wherever you journey. It has been a pleasure traveling with these young women, and cant wait to see what the future holds for us!
Our last full day in beautiful NYC and our first stop of the day was to the Brooklyn Bridge. The view from the bridge was incredible! Similar to a famous bridge in France, locks in all shapes & sizes lined the railings.
This was also our last day at GMHC and to finish up our time there, we watched a documentary about the HIV/AIDS activist group Act Up! The documentary discussed the struggles that plagued those living with HIV/AIDS in the years before much was known about the disease. After our time at GMHC, the group went to a local clinic and got tested, to experience what it would be like in the shoes of someone going through the worries and doubts of such test results.
We also made a pit stop at the historical Stonewall Inn. The legendary Stonewall Inn is the birthplace of the modern Gay Rights movement. On June 28th, 1969, the patrons of the Stonewall Inn fought back against what had become regular, tolerated, city sanctioned harassment by the police department. For the first time in history members of the LGBT community refused to accept such oppression and stood up for themselves and, ultimately, the global LGBT community. The Stonewall Inn, and the rebellion here, became the iconic flashpoint that sparked the long, uphill battle towards equality for all members of the Gay community.
We ventured out into New York City without our trip advisor, Danielle, and were successfully able to navigate our way to the Empire State Building. Megan, Jasmine, Hannah, and Brianna made their way to the top for a beautiful view of the city.
We served our last lunch at GMHC. With heavy hearts and teary eyes we say our goodbyes to Chrystal and the gang.
We visited the Leslie-Lohman Museum of Gay and Lesbian Art in SoHo after volunteering. The bew exhibit was not open to the public, but the staff were nice enough to let us explore an hour before their press release!
This morning started off with sleeping in for the majority of us ladies but there were 3 brave souls who did another round of early morning traveling to visit Carlo’s Bakery (from the show Cake Boss on TLC) in New Jersey. I (Jen) was lucky enough to have one of the girls bring back two cannolis for me and they were simply deliscious!
The group served lunch to GMHC clients and chatted them up again. Todat was a special day with two guest speakers, both HIV positive. The first speaker’s story was very sad but at the same time very eye opening. Its easy to say that everyone in our grouo did some major rethinking about things/events in their lives and how we need to take a step back, and reflect on the important things in life.
We also got to visit an exhibit entitled “Why We Fight” and it talks about some of the history and struggles people with HIV/AIDs in the past but also within current events. We were very impressed with the information provided by this exhibit and felt that anyone could easily understand the intended messages.
For more information on HIV and AIDs please visit:
For dinner we ventured to Planet Hollywood in Time’s Square!
We made the (crack of dawn) trip to see Good Morning America today and boy was it chilly!! We got to see the judges from dancing with the stars and got a chance to be on tv. After GMA, we ventured to Grand Central which is chalked full of busy communters and tourists alike.
Today was our first volunteer experience at GMHC. We are all in consensus that it was an amazing, eye opening experience. All the clients and staff that came through the food line were very nice and easy to talk to. Group members went out to join clients at their tables and converse with them. As a part of GMHC’s confidentiality policies we were asked not to photograph the clients; however we were able to catch a few shots with the staff.
After we finished up at GMHC, we retired to our apartments for some much needed R&R. To finish up the day we made our way to Time’s Square for dinner (at the Hard Rock Cafe) and to see it lit up at night. Luckily we get the chance to catch up on some needed ZZZ’s before heading to volunteering again.
Namaste, Jen and Rya.
The day started early of us once again with a trip to Union Square Market. There were a few vendors when we first arrived but there was enough to tempt us into buying apples and a few of us bought some slices of cake from a local bread vendor. After briefly stopping at home base, we made our way to Gay Men’s Health Crisis. The two ladies working the front desk were a whoot! Workers from numerous departments came and shared a little about what they do at the center. We look toward to our first day of volunteering and meeting the clients during lunch. The next epic adventure we experienced was a trip to Stanton Island to see the Statue of Libearerty and the awsome city line on the return trip.
Tomorrow we are venturing to Good Morning America and Time Square before we head off to our volunteer experience.
Rya & Jen
What a day!! We started our 2nd day here with a nice, refreshing walk through a portion of Central Park. Despite it not being warm, summery like out, the park was still beautiful. We saw lots of dogs, some in cute little outfits and others just plain looking cute! Just about everyone was surprised by the fact that the dogs were wondering around without their leashes. We followed up our walk by spending a few hours at the Natural Museum of History and after that we traveled up to Harlem to visits a local Africa-American art museum. Sadly, the museum wasn’t complete yet but from what we were able to see it was pretty awesome!
We split up into two group with one group spending more time in Harlem and the other group went to visit 5th Ave. We met up at the apartment and headed off to to a small Italian resturant, Grotta Azzura, in Little Italy.
We made it safe and sound! Both the drive to Milwaukee and the plane ride went incredibly fast!! The city bus ride and the subway was a whole new adventure for our group but we persevered and made it safely to our home away from home in China Town. After unpacking, we ventured out to explore other parts of China Town and even wandered through parts of Little Italy. We ate at The Famous Cozy for our first official NYC dinner and ten split up to so some site seeing and shopping. Rya took a lot of nice pictures of our travels today but is being studious and cannot post them till tomorrow. The day has been long and all of us girls need our beauty rest 🙂
Today was such an amazing day of “firsts.” For some it was their first time flying, for others it was their first time on a subway. We can all agree that it was the first, amazing day of seven incredible days to come! Stay tuned!
For our trip there will be two bloggers, Rya Montgomery and myself, Jen Koch. We are looking forward to getting to know those who work and visit Gay Man’s Health Club (GMHC) and other diverse opportunities available in New York. As a group we are all excited to share our experiences via pictures and experiential stories.
Till next Saturday,
Jen and Rya