During my time in the Lower School, every day we built with blocks in the classroom. The VIIs is the last year that we used blocks. Earlier in the year, we made the Brooklyn Bridge after taking a trip to the bridge and learning about how the bridge functions. At the end of the year, as a culmination to the previous years of block building, we made a model city made primarily of wood on an elevated platform. It was called the Permanent City.
The process of building the Permanent City was similar to the Brooklyn Bridge. We learned about different cities, then chose our buildings, and then took trips to a real life version of what we were going to build. Naturally, I wanted to make a sports arena, but so did another kid. This kid was James Tractenberg, a good friend of mine. Our teacher, Tatesha, managed to work out a compromise due to our stubbornness. This was the deal, one of us could build the sports arena, while the other could build something like a bowling alley, and we would both make the trip to see a real life version of a stadium.
James opted to make the bowling alley while I made the sports arena, realizing that a full day at a stadium with only one teacher would be a delightful way to spend a day. James’s dad, Joel, managed to get us a full tour of Barclays Center when it was completely empty during a weekday. James and I went with our teacher Tatesha, and the only two things I remember well from the trip is the vanilla scented air in the box suites, and the apple juice I had afterwards at a StarBucks outside the stadium.
Interestingly enough, after that entire tour, I still had the same plan for my arena as I had initially. I already had a good idea of what I was going to make, and although the tour was cool and all, I still made a wooden box with seats on the top. For the field, I decided to make the arena a three-in-one arena, with a soccer field, a tennis court or a football field. I cut a piece of turf that I put in for the soccer and football fields, and removed for the tennis court. I made Model Magic goal posts, soccer goals, and balls that I painted correct color. I had a great time constructing the arena.
The thing that made me feel the most mature in the whole process was how we worked together as a group to make everything similar to a real city. We had a big bucket of water hooked on to the ceiling that ran down in tubes and provided running water in the different wooden structures that had bathrooms. We attached plastics valves to the end of the tubes so we could control the water flow. After we made the water system, the leaks coming from the tubes seems unending. There were pools of water dripping from under the platform the city was on, and after a crew of VIIs properly leak-proofed each and every tube using duct tape, the floor was completely dry.
Another thing that made the city more realistic was how we incorporated each other’s buildings into our own. For example, Quinn made a bank, and similar to many sports arenas today, we thought it would be realistic to name the sports arena after the bank. So I copied the backwards red “K” from the facade of Quinn’s bank and painted it on my own building.
We eventually got to share our city, and I was never prouder to share a project in school that I had made in my life. I had thought so carefully about making my sports arena realistic, and when I stepped back and took a look at the entire city, it was magnificent. Every building was there purposefully, with roads and intersections separating buildings from each other. The running water was the main attraction of the city. With a turn of a valve, a VII could make water appear out of nowhere because we had covered up the bucket of water hanging from the wall.
The VIIs Permanent City was one of the most memorable experiences of my ten years at City and Country because of how much effort we put in as a group to making a realistic model city. At that time, it was by far the biggest project I had ever worked on. It included lots of initial research that included a personal trip to the place I was trying to build. After that, building was the hardest part, crafting exactly what I envisioned using wood, paint and Model Magic. We worked for many days in the shop with Maggie to make a big wooden box with one face open. I made the bleachers coming up from the top of the stadium, and lights that went over the sports arena. I painted the tennis court green with black lines, and the outside red, and cut entrance holes on the front.
Finally, we got to share, which was a time to show how proud I was of the weeks of work. That process was a culmination of what I had learned in my previous years. I applied my research skills that I acquired by learning about the Brooklyn Bridge earlier in the year and in Library in the VIs. I used the building skills that I had been taught since I came to City and Country, whether it was in shop with Maggie or making buildings out of blocks every day of every year. I had been taught how to be creative, and I applied my creativity to the Permanent City.