Greenacres is the place to be! Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale NY

April 27, 2012

Greenacres is the place to be! Greenacres Elementary School, Scarsdale NY

Greenacres Elementary School is located in Scarsdale, a leafy suburb dotted with million dollar homes about 45 minutes north of the centre of Manhattan.  We caught a lift to the school on the complimentary Hyatt Shuttle service from White Plains Hyatt House where we had stayed on Monday night.  The hotel was great; free dinner, breakfast included and an enormous suite – all for a very reasonable price.   The sideshow at meal times was also complimentary.  Anyone needing inspiration for book characters need go no further.  The driver on the other hand steered the bus with a map in one hand and one eye on the road and managed to get us lost in the back streets of Scarsdale.  Thanks goodness for Ian’s iPad!

We met Carole Phillips, Greenacres’ lovely librarian and were shown to the library, which was bright and airy and clearly a very well loved place in the heart of the school.  I spoke to three groups of students from Grade 3-5; all fantastic.  They knew lots about Australia and had fun telling me what they knew.  They were very keen about Alice-Miranda too and I signed a huge pile of books for the students at the end of the last session.

It has been great fun to test the acting abilities of some of the children as they take on the role of Jacinta Headlington-Bear, Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale’s second best tantrum thrower.  We had a lot of fun with the students at Greenacres with some of the best dramatic performances of the tour to date.


It’s also been wonderful to have a lot of boys getting into the stories too – although I laughed when one boy asked quite seriously, ‘are these books for boys?’ to which I answered ‘yes, of course.  There’s action and adventure and lots of mysteries’.  I also told him if he was worried about the girl on the cover he could always make a new one of his own – perhaps with a dragon or something beastly on it. 

We had a great time at the school and I only wish we had stayed longer.  The visit came about through a friend at home who has a friend whose children attend the school.  We met the twins and talked a little about Australia.  Carole kindly drove us and our luggage to the station where we negotiated the ticket machine and caught the train to Grand Central Station.  Rushing through the countryside, the landscape changes dramatically from the grand houses with the large gardens to high rise tenements and real inner city living.  Once you hit 125thStreet in Harlem the train heads into the subway and it seems like no time at all and you’re in Grand Central – what has to be the most beautiful railway station in the world.  We walked the eight blocks to our hotel and found that our room wasn’t yet ready.  So they stored our luggage and Ian and I headed out for a very late lunch.  We went to a steakhouse called Smith and Wollensky, just around the corner.  The steaks were huge as per usual – and delicious.  While we were there a very tall fellow came in with a short man in a suit.  Another big guy came in and it was obvious from the buzz around the waiters that they were ‘known’.  I assumed professional basketballers and I was right about one of them.  Our waiter told us that his name was Laundry Fields and he’s a player with the New York Knicks.  The other guy was an up and coming footballer, so we assume the small guy was their manager. 

There was also a television crew in the restaurant too but not to film the sports stars.  They were filming a segment on another one of the waiters who had just been voted the best waiter in New York.  They asked if they could film us too – of course we said yes and apparently we will be on the Bloomberg News Channel Friday morning at 7am New York time.  I think we will be gone by then as we have an early start.  But it was fun – we’d been in the city about an hour and already made the news!  Only in NYC.

When we arrived back at the hotel our room still wasn’t ready so we were offered complimentary breakfast for the duration of our stay.  I didn’t mind about that at all J



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