New York – 2009
Late on Boxing Day our party of 20 (16 current members of York Minster Society of Change Ringers plus 4 friends) checked into the Doubletree Hotel, Jersey City. It had been a long day – we were delayed leaving Heathrow due to extra security checks and late into Newark airport because of a heavy storm and one unsuccessful landing attempt. After some welcome sleep, we awoke to begin our 6 day adventure in New York.
Most of our bellringing was to take place on the twelve fine Taylor bells at Trinity Church, Wall Street, installed just a little over three years ago. An enthusiastic team of local ringers is growing and developing there, and we were pleased to join them for their practising and Sunday Service ringing. We also rang two peals there ourselves – our second one, Yorkshire Surprise Maximus, was the 50th on the bells and was made up entirely of a YMSCR Sunday Service band, quite an achievement.
Towers with bells hung for change ringing are few and far between in the USA. We hired a coach on the Monday to take us out to Melrose School, Brewster, NY and Kent School, Connecticut. We had some general ringing followed by a quarter peal at each venue. How fantastic though to have bellringing on the curriculum and your own peal of bells to ring!
But it wasn’t all bellringing. New York is a city with something for everyone. Other activities during our stay included skating in Central Park, going to a concert at Carnegie Hall, shopping in Bloomingdales and Macy’s, going up the Rockefeller Centre or Empire State Building, enjoying a boat trip around the Statue of Liberty, visiting the carillon at Riverside Church, admiring the architecture of Grand Central Station and sampling the wares of the Brooklyn Brewery, to name but a few.
Our last ringing with the local team at Trinity Church was on New Year’s Eve. We were invited to join them at a local restaurant for a meal before ringing in the New Year with them, and a good time was had by all (except poor Helen, who was back at our hotel, having been laid low by a tummy bug). Up in the tower, a presentation was made to Greg Russell and the local band for their welcome and hospitality and another to our own Ringing Master, Peter Sanderson, for organising such a brilliant trip.
Fortunately, our homeward journey on New Year’s Day was easier than the one going out. Back home the following day Peter was delighted to receive this email from one of the ringers at Trinity Church: “We certainly enjoyed your stay. From talking with some fellow Trinity Ringers, we had the common reaction that your band is an excellent model to learn from – not just in terms of technical proficiency, but also in terms of how to maintain a superbly high standard while also having a good time ringing”.
There are now murmurings of Australia in four years time….Christine Potter Hon Sec, York Minster Society of Change Ringers