You Know You’re a New Yorker When…

When my mom, a New York native, came to visit, she couldn’t help but make fun of me. “You picked up the accent, you look like you know where you’re going…What, are you comfortable already?” she asked. Why yes Mom, I’m comfortable.

Sharing stories and pictures at tonight’s Capstone event made me realize that I have gone through an extensive right of passage which, I believe, gives me the ability to call myself a New Yorker. After all, you haven’t lived in New York unless you’ve:

  1. Lived in a closet-sized apartment with four other people
  2. Been ignored deliberately on the subway while asking for directions
  3. Yielded at the “Don’t Walk” signal
  4. Stopped traffic while hailing a taxi
  5. Broken a sweat while waiting for the Subway
  6. Basked in the sun on the Jersey Shore
  7. Spent a day on Coney Island
  8. Gazed at fireworks from a rooftop with the Empire State Building in the background
  9. Attended a free concert in Central Park
  10. Watched America’s favorite past time at Yankee Stadium
  11. Frolicked along the Fabulous Fashion Avenue
  12. Scheduled an Apple Store Genius Bar appointment for midnight
  13. Watched the sun set in Harlem
  14. Walked the Williamsburg  Brooklyn Bridge
  15. Tasted gourmet S’mores at the Brooklyn Smorgasburg
  16. Ridden the A train… in the wrong direction
  17. Watched Wicked on Broadway
  18. Navigated through La Guardia
  19. Eaten a dirty-water dog (YUM! Street Meat)
  20. Toured the MET
  21. Delighted in Nathan’s
  22. Played with the Citipups
  23. Grubbed at Sylvia’s in Harlem
  24. Weaved through pedestrian traffic

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The list could go on, but I’ve only got a New York minute. I’ve reached the zenith of this experience on the 47th floor of BNY Mellon. It occurred to me that opportunities like the ones I’ve been afforded don’t happen everyday, to everyone. And that in the words of Sinatra, “If I can make it [here], I’ll make it anywhere.”

Be cheap in New York

“New York is expensive!” We probably heard this complaint a lot already. However, as a poor college student with an unpaid internship in the city for two months, I need to tell you the truth that this wonderful place is not that expensive if you know how to first, control yourself from buying everything (this happened to me before) and second, to find cheap or even better, FREE, places to go to. After visiting tons of shops, restaurants, bakeries and attractions, I have made a list of free (or somewhat free) things to do in the city that I feel the need to share for future or returning visitors of the city.

Picture 1. A Sephora store on 5th Ave and 19th Str, only a 15-minute walk from The New School dorm

If you are into the beauty world just like I am, Sephora is definitely a place to go for you. Not only because this place offers you free testers (which most cosmetics products selling places now do) but also because they do complimentary makeup for you. Well, you might say that they offer it because they want to sell their products afterwards. True! But it does not necessarily mean that you are forced to purchase those products. You can just politely say “I will save it for next time” and there, you have your makeup done. Check out my transformation created by a makeup artist at Sephora below.

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Picture 2. No makeup

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Picture 3. With a natural- look makeup on, my face was flawless and glowing :)

Some Sephora stores (the big ones) also have Nails Studio, which include different stations that will show you how to do different nails designs. Of course, you can copy or create your own nail design right at the station…for FREE by using top nail polish brands such as O.P.I, NARS, Dior… I love coloring my nails so usually, I go to Sephora at least once a week to get my nails done. The awesome part is that there is a Sephora three avenues down from the dorm that Elon in NYC stays in this summer (Picture 1). A nice walk to get nice nails that cost nada.

Picture 4. Nail studio at Sephora

Picture 4. Nail studio at Sephora

Tutorials for nail desgins

Picture 5. Tutorials for nail desgins

Another shout out for free beauty in New York is StyleCaster’s DailyMakeover Try On!Tool. I was introduced to this technology when I applied for an internship at the company and got addicted to it since then. The bonus is that I am officially a Junior Team Member of StyleCaster this summer in the Big Apple; this makes me love the technology even more. DailyMakeover Try On! Tool is where you can upload photos of you online and try on different hairstyles and makeup looks virtually. If you are in love with Anne Hathaway’s new short hair and want to see if it will fit your face, the DailyMakeover Tool is where you should test that out first before you spend your bucks for a new hairstyle that might not turn out not as nice as you think. The technology is online and free for everybody so you do not have to actually be in New York to use it; but because the company’s base is right in the never-sleep city so it is worth mentioning.

Try On a new look yourself!

Picture 6. Try On a new look yourself!

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Picture 8. My makeover with Alex Chung’s hair. Should I style my hair like this for real?

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Picture 7. Alex Chung

Three paragraphs dedicated just for beauty above are probably enough to prove how much I love the beauty world. However, as a “long-term tourist” (because I get to stay in the city for two months), I also spent my time on other tourists’ attractions. If you are interested in museum and modern arts, MOMA (the Museumf Modern Art) is of course the one to check out. MOMA usually costs $14 for students to get it but good news! If you go on Friday after 4p.m, you will not have to pay a cent.

Picture 9. I don't know where I put my free ticket anymore so I had to steal this from the Internet

Picture 9. I don’t know where I put my free ticket anymore so I had to steal this from the Internet

Who does not want to see the Statue of Liberty when they visit the city? Not me for sure. However, I did not want to spend $20 to just see the Statue, so I found a free way to get a good view of her, Staten Island Ferry. This ferry runs 24/7 and free for anybody. Here are some pictures of the amazing views that Brianna and I were able to capture while taking the ferry.

Picture 10. Bye Manhattan, will see you in 30 mins!

Picture 10. Bye Manhattan, will see you in 30 mins!

Picture 11. There she is!

Picture 11. There she is!

Picture 12. The FREE ferry

Picture 12. The FREE ferry

Want to see Broadway show for free? Make friends with your fellows on the program (a lot of them intern at entertainment companies), be nice with the program’s professor and…check your emails. My friend, Brianna and I had a great opportunity to see a dress rehearsal of the brand new Broadway musical comedy, First Date, thanks to the kindest and most awesome professor, Bill Webb. He got three tickets from his friends and sent us an email about it. Brianna and I were the first ones that responded to the email and yep! We were going to the show as VIPs.

Picture 13. First Date with Bill and my lovely friends

Picture 13. First Date with Bill and my lovely friends

Food lovers, it is hard to find free food that actually will give you a full meal or full size but if you only have to pay $1 for a large cup of iced coffee or tea in this boiling weather, it’s the equivalence of being free. Brooklyn Bagel, located three blocks from The  New School dorm, is the place that will offer you this amazing deal every Tuesday in June and July. If you are looking for a wake-up call that is cheaper but still tastes as good as Starbucks (or even better because you pay much less), Brooklyn Bagel is the place to go.

Yum yum and cheap, who doesn't want that?

Picture 14. Yum yum and cheap, who doesn’t want that?

Two months in the city seem too short; I still think that our first day was yesterday. Now that I only have five days left here and have enjoyed all the free deals of it, I do not really mind spending a little money for all the delicious international food that the city offers.

Successful

WOW! What a summer it has been. Everyone keeps asking me, what have you learned this summer? What can you take away from this summer? What have you done? I continue to tell them I DO NOT KNOW. The truth is, I haven’t really thought about it. I have yet to reflect on all the amazing things that I have done, learned, and experienced.

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The set of the Fox Report with Shephard Smith, amazing people!

It is amazing to think back to the first day that everyone in the program moved in. Thinking back to all the feelings that everyone was experiencing: nervousness, anxiousness, and excitement. Students from Elon University in North Carolina were about to dive into and fully indulge in the best city in the world, New York! Personally, I know I was terrified the night before I arrived. My whole family lives up here and I have been to New York a million times, yet I was still nervous to be living in the Big Apple. It is one thing to visit and come to the city with your parents; it is a whole different deal when you live here on your own.

Yummy!!!

New York is actually a fairly easy to city to navigate, and after a solid week I was more comfortable than I could have ever imagined. I had officially thrown away all the fears I had about living in New York for two months. I had fallen in love with New York. The city had all the things that Elon could only dream to offer. It had public transportation, easy access to everything and anything, and most importantly you can get food anytime of the night. The energy of New York is unexplainable and only something that can be understood if a person truly experiences it.

The Brooklyn Bridge

A must do in New York!

Over the course of the summer I have been to amazing restaurants, attended the NBA Draft, walked the Brooklyn Bridge, seen multiple Broadway shows, visited Coney Island, gone to the Jersey Shore, taken the LIRR, Metro North, and New Jersey Transit, gotten tours of NY1 and Fox News, I have even been to a concert. Sidenote: Shephard Smith is truly hilarious!! I have truly explored New York City in its entirety and that was my only goal this summer: do things I do not normally do.

So now when people ask me my take on this summer I am going to answer simply and say: successful. That is the perfect way to describe my time here in arguably the greatest city in the world.  I didn’t even know what to expect this summer, but reality has gone above and beyond what I could have ever imagined. Like my dad always says: “If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhere.”

Well, with only one week left in the program I can say I have made it in New York, therefore I can make it anywhere. Cheers to a successful summer and amazing opportunity!!

Another Check Off My Bucket List

Oh, you walk out here and you are beautiful. You are rich and famous.
You are one with the glories of the world about you, Brooklyn Heights and
New York Harbor and the Statue of Liberty and the towers of Manhattan.
You are one with all this beingness, and you are utterly free.
From “Getting Hitched” by Stephen Beal

 An event that’s been on my bucket list ever since I can remember, walking the Brooklyn Bridge can now be checked off my list of things to do! Known to some as the ‘eighth wonder of the world,” it’s known to me as an adventure waiting to be explored. Growing up 40 minutes outside of the city, I remember fantasizing as a little girl about what the view from the bridge would look like and what the other side of the bridge had to offer.

Thankfully, I no longer have to fantasize about the land unexplored because the new spontaneous New Yorker inside of me decided to trek the mile walk over the bridge and see what I was missing out on.

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The beauty and tranquility I felt while walking over the bridge was captivating and left me awestruck as I took in the view of the harbor and breathtaking sunset. The beauty surrounded me as I made my way to the famous Grimaldi’s Pizzeria where the line stretched down the street and around the corner! Although the wait was long, it was 100% worth it as the homemade Margarita Pizza disappeared within seconds after coming to the table.

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A famous thing to do after making it over the Brooklyn bridge, Grimaldi’s Pizzeria delivers a unique flavor to every pizza pie that comes from their built by hand, specially designed, coal-fired brick oven. After biting into a slice of their famous margarita pizza, which was prepared with their freshly made dough, fresh mozzarella, and fresh, crushed tomatoes, I can officially say that Grimaldi’s Pizza is the best in all of New York City!

But the feast didn’t end there! The cherry on top Brooklyn hotspot after walking the bridge exists within the icy doors of Brooklyn’s Ice Cream Factory. Located in the shadow of the Brooklyn Bridge in the neighborhood of Dumbo, all of their ice cream, and hot fudge, is freshly made. The creamy-yet-light, rich ice cream is old-fashioned and their menu features eight signature flavors – Chocolate, Vanilla, Butter Pecan, Strawberry, Coffee, Peaches & Cream, Vanilla Chocolate Chunk, and Chocolate Chocolate Chunk!

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Many know me as an ice cream lover, so this destination ranked number one on my list of things to do after crossing the bridge. Far better then any homemade ice cream I’ve ever sampled before, I ordered two scoops of Coffee and Strawberry and boy was I impressed! Its rich, decadent flavor was spectacular and left me wanting more as I scraped the last bit from the bottom of my cup.

An adventure worth exploring, my journey over the Brooklyn Bridge was one I will always remember and take with me as my time quickly comes to an end in the city.

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As my 9 weeks comes to an end in the big apple, I can truly say I have lived the New Yorker Life I wanted.   Not only have I lived that life, I’ve gotten the opportunity to experience a world I never knew existed within the jungle of the city. Living the life of a New Yorker has been an enriching experience and has helped me learn what I want to do, where I want to be and most importantly, who I am. This summer has truly been a life changing summer for I grew into myself as the hard working, independent and adventurous individual I’ve always wanted to become.

After coming to New York, being on my own and experiencing all of the things I’ve wanted to, I’ve come to realize that I should always grab life by the horns. Never hold back on accomplishing the things on your bucket list – If I had, I wouldn’t have been able to live the dream New Yorker lifestyle I so desperately wanted to experience.

Here’s a preview of some of my New York bucket list accomplishments:

  • Walk the highline
  • Go to little Italy
  • Go to China Town
  • Explore Chelsea Market
  • Explore South Street Seaport (or what remains of it after Sandy swept through)
  • Walk the Brooklyn Bridge
  • Visit the Moma’s new ‘Making the Rain’ exhibition and Claes Oldenburg’s “The Street and The Store” special Exhibit
  • As a huge foodie myself, I had the opportunity to visit Restaurant Row and eat at a few well known, prestigious throughout New York
    • Scarpetta – Scot Conant
    • The Lambs Club – Geoffrey Zakarian
    • The London Bar – Gordon Ramsay
  • See more shows on Broadway – Wicked and First Date
  • Bryant Park’s 21st Annual HBO Summer Film Festival – Hush Hush Sweet Charlottee
  • Gay Pride Parade NYC 2013

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“It all starts with baby steps” – New York City experience defined

Why Is New York What It Is? (Also, Happy Birthday Mom!)

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First and foremost, I would like to wish my mom a very happy birthday! Since she let me head out on this adventure in New York this summer, I figured the least I could do is show her some love via the Elon in NYC blog on her special day.

Which brings me to this adventure in NYC, which seems to be dwindling much faster than I would like it to be. I think I’m still in shock that we’ve already started the Wall Street section of our class, which is the fourth and final leg of this eye-opening experience.

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Now I’m not going to lie—I have to admit that out of all the sections of this class, the Wall Street one made me the most apprehensive. I’m an English major, so the numbers involved in finance and economics are just not my forte. Quite, frankly I was convinced that whatever we would be talking about would go straight over my head.

Yesterday, though, as Dr. Tom Teimann started the day off with a lesson on the economics of cities, I learned that this section was going to be about a lot more than just numbers. We actually discussed what a city is and why cities even exist. It fascinated me that economics is the basis for why New York, or any city for that matter, exists.

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Our view of the Manhattan skyline from the subway in Brooklyn.

These cities exist because they are the lowest cost way of doing something. For New York City, before WWII this something was manufacturing, but now that something is knowledge based industries. Which is interesting because all of these “knowledge based industries” are the industries that my classmates and I have internships in—publishing, entertainment, advertising, public relations, high fashion, finance, education, etc.

We also learned the definition of a city: a center of population, culture, and commerce. As many times as I’ve tried to explain New York City to people, I feel like I’ve been at a loss for words, but this definition might just be the perfect way to describe New York. It is a center of population, culture, and commerce.

And that is exactly what makes New York what it is. New York is what it is because it has so many different people and so many different cultures and so many different businesses, but they somehow intertwine to make something that is uniquely and beautifully its own. Without all of these things, even if just one were missing, New York would not be the same city that I’ve fallen in love with this summer.

I love that in New York I can be walking down Fifth Avenue and run into a Hare Krishna parade one week and the next week there is a gay pride parade. I love that I can go to a hot dog eating contest one day and a ballet performance the next. I love that I can run into someone from Ireland and someone from Indiana within minutes. I love that I can walk into a Trader Joes or I can go to a specialized cheese shop. I love that I can be surrounded by dozens of tall buildings, but walk fifty feet into Central Park and feel like I’m away from it all. I just can’t help but love New York.

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And I learned yesterday that I have economics to thank for that. So thank you, economics, for making New York City the wonderful, crazy, fantastic way that it is.

Looking at my NYC goals

Only two weeks left, it has flown by in a whirlwind of busy days walking around cherishing every moment to sit down and joyful memories everywhere. As I end my time here in the metropolis of the world, I stop amongst the many people bustling by with music playing and big dark sunglasses on (no doubt angering the person directly behind me) and wonder if this summer has lived up to its expectations. My goals over the summer have been to explore, anywhere but midtown, see as many broadway shows I as could, and live the New Yorker life.

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I have certainly seen much more than just the overcrowded streets of midtown, although I was there more than I would have like. I have explored the chelsea area, finding the high-line, chelsea market, and chelsea pier. Chelsea Pier has been without a doubt one of my favorite places to go. It is a small oasis from the city, being able to have constant gush of wind on my face and certainly being much cooler than the concrete paved streets the pier has kept me grounded within my tree loving self. 

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Another area that I have become familiar with is the ever changing east village. A hub of art and culture the area is extremely diverse. I can walk down the street and see homeless and wealthy business men. It is an extremely unique area that I have grown very fond of, a place I could see myself living in, if they add the subway to the area that is. 

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I have seen many of the broadway shows on my list: Ann, Macbeth, Pippin, Vanya and Sonya and Masha and Spike, Around the World in 80 Days, The Nance, Newsies, and Wicked. I still have a few to see like Sleep No More, Once, Peter and the Star-catcher, and Trip to Bountiful. Overall it has been great experience as an artist to watch shows and ‘take notes’ on aspects that I enjoyed and didn’t. As I experienced more shows and expand as an artist I have found that my ability to create on stage is more successful. So for two out of three so far the summer has been successful.

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For my last goal: living the new yorker life. Well I certainly have lived the life of a New Yorker, it has been an enriching experience and helped me learn where I would like to be, and I have learned that it isn’t directly in Manhattan. The life of Manhattan, although great, is often to much for me to handle. I feel stressed if I want to relax and overwhelmed when I am out among the bustle on the street. Through out the summer I have been able to get away every so often and relax which has been extremely therapeutic. I think the only way that I could live in the city is if I were rich, so I could actually afford the style of live that I want to reside in and if I owned a home away from the city to get away to every so often. 

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After that bit of reflection, I look forward, I have two weeks left to continue exploring the city, I want to go to lower manhattan and walk around there a bit. I’ve got time to go see those last bit of shows that I haven’t gotten to see. And finally, I have no time to get out of the city to relax for a bit, but back to Elon I will be headed in a short month.

I Am A New Yorker

Today marks my seventh week in The City. Forty-nine days of experience, knowledge, memories, and adventure. I’ve gotten on the wrong train at least five times, hung out on three separate rooftops, and got my wallet stolen once. I’ve savored the good food and stomached the not-so-good, ignored the homeless beggar one day and pitied him the next, gone to the same bagel shop every morning for an iced coffee and a smile from the cashier. In many ways I’ve become a New Yorker. In many more ways, I am still a stranger to this town.

central park | elon in nyc

What I leave behind will be little more than some receipts and that weird stain in the microwave. The next person to live in my apartment will know nothing of entire evenings spent at the lopsided dining room table; they will not be able to explain the hole in the bathroom wall (not my doing), or the inescapable smell in the entryway (also not my fault). I can be as forgettable as every other traveler passing through The City. There’s certainly been enough of them. But that’s not enough for me. The City might not remember me when I leave, but I will remember The City.

bethesda fountain | elon in nyc

I recall the first night my roommates and I went to the Corner Bistro for dinner. We go back on a near-weekly basis, and that makes me feel at home. I also remember the bus/walking tour we took on our first day here. We walked around Times Square as a group of forty-five people, and that made me feel like an outsider. My entire stay here has been dedicated to proving myself as a native, but I so often feel like a fraud. It’s taken me this long to feel secure in my knowledge of The City and its layout; only now do I feel genuine in my rants about tourists and subway stench.

walking boot | elon in nyc

Perhaps the strongest indicator of belonging to The City is the fact that I’ve spent the last three weeks in an air cast for an injured foot. My boot has seen the Gay Pride Parade, the High Line, eight flights of stairs in a quest to reach a friend’s rooftop, and an uncomfortable amount of grimy subway platforms. Being in a walking boot in The City, being forced to keep pace anyway, has made me strong and resilient to the unwavering harshness here. That, most of all, has made me a New Yorker.

bryant park | elon in nyc

Two weeks until I find myself back in my quiet New Hampshire town, with its lack of public transportation, pollution, and active nightlife. Two weeks left to soak up everything The City has to offer me. In a way, I’m content with the experiences I’ve gained, and in other ways I feel like I’ve done so little. I haven’t been up the Empire State Building, or walked the Brooklyn Bridge, or met any celebrities. But I’ve gained the knowledge and experiences of someone who actually lives here, who stays long enough to create a routine, to see change, to make a difference.

flower district | elon in nyc

I suppose I think about my impact on The City so much because it has impacted me to such an extent. This summer has given me a taste of the New Yorker life, and I’ve enjoyed it. Whether I’ll come back for seconds is anyone’s guess, but I can see myself here. The City is addicting; everyone here seems so much more important, more significant, more vital. I want to feel important, significant, and vital. I want to be a New Yorker.

i heart ny | elon in nyc

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