New York English Academy Rookie blog

Thanksgiving in a nutshell November 26, 2013

Thanksgiving is a national holiday. It is celebrated mostly in the United States and Canada. It is the day that we give thanks for the blessing of the harvest and of the preceding year.

The first American Thanksgiving was celebrated in 1621, to commemorate the  harvest reaped by the Plymouth Colony after a harsh winter. It lasted for three days. The colonists celebrated it as a traditional English harvest feast, to which  they invited the local Wampanoag Indians, as a way of thanking them for teaching the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land as well as survival skills.

During the Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln began looking for ways to unite the nation. After a discussion with poet and editor Sarah J. Hale, who long had already been lobbying for a National Thanksgiving holiday, gave his Thanksgiving Proclamation, declaring  the last Thursday in November a day of thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving Day is celebrated with lots of joy and enthusiasm; not only in the United States, but other countries as well. It symbolizes the feeling of gratitude. Friday, right after Thanksgiving is popularly known as ‘Black Friday’. Considered as the official beginning of the Christmas season, and is marked with the highest retail volume sales in United States.  Most government offices, businesses, schools and other organizations are closed on Thanksgiving Day. And many allow staff to have a four-day weekend so these offices and businesses are also closed on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. Public transit systems do not usually operate on their regular timetables.

The Thanksgiving meal often includes a turkey, stuffing, potatoes, cranberry sauce, gravy, pumpkin pie, and vegetables. Thanksgiving Day is a time for many people to give thanks for what they have. An interesting fact is there were no milk, cheese, bread, butter or pumpkin pie at the original Thanksgiving Day feast. It is estimated 535 million pounds of turkey are consumed by Americans on Thanksgiving. Whatever it is you’re doing, or eating on Thanksgiving…Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, and practicing gratitude.

May we practice it everyday.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City



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Popular Curry November 22, 2013


In our PC TECH classes, food from various cultures is often a favorite topic of discussion.  Mai from Japan has written a “delicious” essay about curry:


 I’ll write about curry-rice, which is one of my favorite Japanese [foods].  In Japan it’s really popular and everybody has been eating it since they were kids.  It’s not only for kids, but adults also love it.


Curry is from India, but Japanese curry-rice is a little different.  Authentic Indian curry has many spices and [it is eaten with naan].  However, the Japanese [style] doesn’t usually have as much spice, and we eat it with rice, sometimes with noodles.


It’s not difficult to make it, so we cook it at home a lot.  We have different tastes of curry for each home because each [family] has a different way to make it.  That is why we call curry-rice the “taste of mothers.”  Curry-rice and mothers are inextricably linked.


Now it’s popular to make curry [when camping] too.  Many people, especially college students or young people – go camping and cook curry leisurely.  It’s really fun to cook with friends.


Curry-rice isn’t just one kind.  There are many curry restaurants in Japan and have so many kinds of curry.  For instance, curry with egg, curry with cheese, curry with hamburger, etc.  We can also choose how spicy it is.  We can order our own [favorite] curry.


PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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An Most Unusual Vehicle November 20, 2013

PC TECH student Piya writes about an interesting way of getting around in the cities of Thailand, her native country:

            Taxis, buses, sky-trains, underground trains, mini-vans, motorcycles – and tuk-tuks – are all available in Bangkok.  You will find that traveling around Bangkok on public transportation is easy, cheap, and fun.

The most famous [means of] transportation in Bangkok are the tuk-tuks, a fun form of public transportation.  The tuk-tuk is a little Thai taxi [powered] by a motorcycle engine.  Tuk-tuks tend to be in places frequented by tourists and are quite expensive, which is annoying as they have no air-conditioning.  You also breathe all the pollution while you are riding in a tuk-tuk.  But they are a fun experience and, if you have never ridden in one, you should take at least one while you are in Bangkok.  A drawback again though is that you will get stuck in traffic.  Yet they are slightly faster than taxis and, [since they are] smaller, they can squeeze through [narrow] gaps in the traffic.

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Here is an English grammar hint:

There are a few modal auxiliary verbs that use “to”  (ought to, be supposed to, have (got) to, be able to, used to) as a connector to the main verb:  I have to pay my rent today.

The other modals do not add “to” as a connector to the main verb:  I must pay my rent today.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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Thanksgiving in N.Y.C November 19, 2013

What are you doing for Thanksgiving? There is lots to do in New York City around the Thanksgiving holiday.

Black Friday. The day after Thanksgiving. Regarded as the as the beginning of the Christmas shopping season. Aside from the chaos, you will find unique offers from retailers! Almost every store has something that interests every one. There are also Black Friday deals available online.

Why it is called Black Friday? Closest reason as to why it is know as Black Friday is given in Wikipedia – “Many retailers report some of their highest profits on Black Friday.  The black portion of the name, “Black Friday” relates to businesses recording their losses in red ink and gains in black. This tradition lives on in modern accounting software, hence the name.”

Catch a Broadway show. If you’re interested in the theatre arts, why not catch a show on Broadway, something New York City is widely, and especially known for. Get lost in the magical moments of make-believe. Star-studded moments will be experienced for sure. Some of the shows available around this Thanksgiving time will be: “A Chorus Line,” “Avenue Q.,” “Chicago,” “Les Miserables,” “The Phantom of the Opera” or “Spring Awakening” [source: Playbill].

Broadway Fact: In all, there are 40 Broadway theatres. Despite the title, only 4 theatres are actually located on Broadway.

Special Exhibits. The Met, the MoMA, the Guggenheim and probably about every other museum in the city, are closed on Thanksgiving Day, but why not visit over the weekend? There are, however, a few museums that will be open. The National of The American Indian, for example….why not visit? The museum will be running special Thanksgiving-themed films continuously.

Thanksgiving Fact: The Wampanoag Indians were the people who taught the Pilgrims how to cultivate the land.




PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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Winter in New York City November 18, 2013

There are very few places in the world more beautiful than New York City in the winter. From the snow covered skyline to the return of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree, NYC transforms into a winter wonderland. If you are unsure about whether or not you want to take a trip to the big apple this Christmas season, let us show you what you would be missing out on if you don’t pay us a visit:

Ice Skating

What could be better than spending a day relaxing, skating, and enjoying Christmas music? Manhattan alone is home to over a dozen ice skating rinks, a few that you might want to visit are: Sky Rink at Chelsea Piers, Wollman Rink in Central Park, and the Rockefeller Center Rink- home to NYC’s most famous Christmas Tree. And if you don’t feel like traveling too far, walk down the block from PC TECH after class to the Bryant Park Rink!

Madison Square Park

If you venture over to the Flatiron District, you will come across Madison Square Park on East 23rd Street and 5th Avenue. This park is known for being a summer concert venue and a great spot to pick up some delicious food truck goodies. This winter the park will be hosting Buckyball, an impressive 30 ft. tall LED modern art structure. Why not venture over to the park, get some delicious food, recline on a zero-gravity couch, and enjoy the light show!


If you want to go shopping, there is no better place in the world than New York City. Whatever you are looking for, you will find it here. Herald Square, Union Square, Times Square, 5th Avenue : these are only a few of the shopping centers around the city. You will find streets lined with department stores and shopping outlets offering fantastic holiday discounts. Also, some of the world’s most famous windows displays! If you’re looking for more unique gifts and knickknacks, we suggest you take a peek at Bryant Park’s Holiday Shops.

New Year’s Eve

If you are going to be in New York City to ring in the new year, your trip would not be complete without paying a visit to the Times Square Ball. The enormous crystal ball stands in the center of Times Square until new year’s eve when it is lit and begins its descent as it counts down the last 10 seconds of the year. The streets are filled with lights, cameras, performances, confetti and thousands of New Yorkers and visitors. It is a one of  a kind experience.

These are only a few of the things there are to enjoy in the Big Apple. Take a trip to New York and learn English at PC TECH. Come and discover what winter in NYC is all about.

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Tastes in Travel November 15, 2013

Students at PC TECH are writing about means of transportation in their countries.

Souleymane describes the most practical ways to travel in Burkina Faso:

In my country people use many forms of transportation, but the [most practical] are bicycles and motorcycles.  These methods of travel are less expensive and are adaptable to the roads.

Many people also use buses and taxis or their own cars, but most of them [ride] bicycles and motorcycles.

We don’t have subways in my country.  Sometimes people take children by motorcycle to school.  We can also see bicycles and motorcycles used as taxis.

Trains are Kevin’s ideal way to travel around France, his country of origin:

            There are many forms of transportation in my country, but my favorite is the train – definitely.  I prefer the train because the [riders] are more polite than [those] in the subway.  I used to sleep on the train when I was going to school every morning.  I think that the train is more useful if we live in the [suburbs] and work in the city.  The trains are faster than a car or a bus and there is less risk of [heavy] traffic.

The only inconvenience of the train is that there are only two trains per hour, so we shouldn’t miss the train if we don’t want to be late.  For my part, the train is the coolest form of transportation.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City


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Students at PC TECH have been writing about their dream vacation spots.

Hazuki from Japan likes islands, although Manhattan Island isn’t one of her favorites (she likes peace and quiet, a relaxing atmosphere):

I like islands.  I have been to Saipan and Hawaii…that’s all.  So actually I don’t know much about islands.

The reason that I like islands is this:  where I was born and grew up.  I was born and raised in Tokyo, a [very] big city.  I like it there because it is convenient, so clean; it is easy to get something and to do something…

There is everything and anything in my country – except nature.  We [do] have some small parks, the sea, beaches, even mountains.  However, when I’m off I want to go to different places that are more quiet, beautiful, good to relax in.  I like to work hard, but sometimes I need an escape from my busy days.


Souleymane comes from Burkina Faso, a landlocked country and so it is understandable that he might want to visit a country with a seacoast for his dream vacation:

            My favorite [vacation place] is Accra Beach in Ghana.  At this place many people from many countries come yearly for vacation.

One of the reasons for me [to travel] is about the foods that [can be found in other countries].  At Accra Beach you can find many African foods, but you can also find menus from other countries.

The rent is not too expensive and the security is guaranteed.  You can find museums that [present exhibits] about slavery and African culture.

At Accra Beach, the [chief] means of transportation is bicycle.

For these reasons, my favorite vacation place is Accra Beach.

PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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Idioms & Phrases November 12, 2013

An idiom is a combination of words that has a figurative meaning, due to its common usage.  There are estimated to be at least 25,000 idiomatic expressions in the English language. Here are a few popular English language idioms (phrases).


a blessing in disguise Definition: Something good that isn’t recognized at first

a breath of fresh air Definition: said about a new, fresh, and imaginative approach, a change that feels good.

a little bird told me Definition: said when you don’t want reveal the source of your information.

age before beauty Definition: A phrase said to allow older people to go before younger ones. Now most often used humorously or lightheartedly, and usually said by a younger person to an older friend or relative out of mock pity for being so much older and unattractive.

all ears Definition: Listening intently; fully focused or awaiting an explanation.

a piece of cake Definition: A task that can be accomplished very easily.

apple of somebody’s eye Definition: said about someone whom you love the most and you are very proud of.

for all I care Definition: used to suggest that you don’t care.

under the weather Definition: Feeling ill or sick.

wear your heart on your sleeve Definition: to display one’s feelings openly.


PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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Veteran’s Day Parade November 5, 2013

Veteran’s Day will be here soon, and New York City will be honoring the day.  November 11th, 1918, known as the end of the ‘World War’, — World War 1. Now a federal holiday; we honor the day every year.

The Veterans Day Parade has been organized in New York since 1929. Over 25,000 people participate in the parade each year, making it the largest in the nation. The Veterans Day commemoration begins with a wreath laying ceremony at 10 a.m. at the Eternal Flame in Madison Square Park with the parade beginning at 11:15 a.m.

And this Monday, it begins again!

Where? Along Fifth Avenue from 26th Street north to 52nd Street.

What time? 11:15 am to approximately 3:30pm.

Who participates? Marchers, floats and marching bands Participants include active officers, various veteran’s groups, junior ROTC members, and the families of veterans.

U.S. Marines March in the Veterans Day Parade (credit: Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.  — Michel de Montaigne


    PC TECH: English Language School in New York City

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