The final countdown

8 days. That’s all we have left here. I can’t believe how fast this summer has gone by. With move out day looming in the near future, I’m heading into the “let’s do all we can do in these few days left” mode. My roommates and I created a New York City bucket list at the beginning of the summer and have been slowly checking them off. We started off with very broad activities such as walking across the Brooklyn bridge, and eventually got as specific as making artichokes for dinner one night. The great thing about living in the city is that every day is an adventure. It is pretty unlikely that we will complete every item on our list but that’s ok. What matters is how much we got out of every experience. I’ve been trying to take a picture a day to illustrate my time in the city. While some days are much less interesting than others, together they make up an incredible summer. A few of my daily pictures are below:

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Kings Theatre: The newly renovated venue where I saw the band Spoon play. The elaborate decorations were absolutely breathtaking.

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The ferris wheel at Coney Island’s Luna Park! We enjoyed ice cream and cheese fries as the sun went down.

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The view of Manhattan from Brooklyn Bridge Park! After this photo, we feasted on some unique foods at Smorgasburg.

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Some of the most delicious sushi i’ve ever had from Beyond Sushi in East Village!

Lucinda Williams performing at a free concert series called Celebrate Brooklyn

Lucinda Williams performing at a free concert series called Celebrate Brooklyn

I found a woman giving henna tattoos in a small booth at the Brooklyn Flea Market! She completely improvised the entire design and I was so thrilled with the result.

I found a woman giving henna tattoos in a small booth at the Brooklyn Flea Market! She completely improvised the entire design and I was so thrilled with the result.

A picture a day will never do justice to all of the unique experiences I’ve had this summer. Thinking about the fact that I have to leave this wonderful city so soon makes me wish we could start all over. I remember first arriving and being so excited to get out and explore. The city never loses its sense of mystery and I am always curious to learn more. It is an interesting experience to go from feeling like a complete outsider in a place and then transitioning into feeling like you are a part of it. Someone even asked me for subway directions!

This summer, we have all gotten to grow and learn academically, socially and professionally. We’ve visited a variety of workplaces from the Federal Reserve to a Broadway theater. When I started college, one of my main goals was to take advantage of the resources my school had. Elon in New York has been a great way for me to experience this city with a group of peers in the same boat as me.

I can’t believe the summer is already almost over. I really can’t.

All I can say is thank you so much, New York. You are magical.

Running my way through the city

The small Canadian town in which I grew up hosts one 5k race a year. That’s right; only one race a year. That might be because we experience essentially 9 months of winter, but I’ll leave that discussion for another day.

Even though I’m not much of a runner (The term “slow crawler” more accurately describes my abilities), I was excited to take advantage of the frequent road races throughout NYC this summer. In my month-and-a-half here so far, I’ve completed five races.. Running provides such a great sense of accomplishment in addition to some healthy physical activity, which I think we all need after enjoying so much delicious city food over the summer.

The first 5k I ran was in Brooklyn’s Prospect Park. It was a fundraiser for Komera, which raises funds for women’s education in Rwanda. Each runner received a handmade bag which the organization’s founder had brought back from Rwanda one short day before the race. On top of running for a great cause, Prospect Park was beautiful and provided me with an escape into a more suburban area of the city.

Did you really run the race if you didn't take a selfie after?

Did you really run the race if you didn’t take a selfie after?

My second and third 5ks were in Roosevelt Island and Battery Park. Both races were fundraisers for cancers, which is very suitable as I spend my summer working with IHadCancer.com, an online community for cancer fighters, survivors, and supporters. By the third race, I had knocked down my time by a few minutes.

The fourth 5k was held Governor’s Island on Independence Day.  The views during this race were both gorgeous and patriotic. This was my first Independence Day spent in the United States in over a decade. It felt incredible to be so close to the iconic Statue of Liberty on this special day.

Lower Manhattan as seen from Governor's Island, taken during my 'firecracker' 5k.

Lower Manhattan as seen from Governor’s Island, taken during my ‘firecracker’ 5k.

My final NYC 5k in Brooklyn, about an hour subway ride from our home in Union Square. This race was a Color Run at night, so imagine running through the darkness wearing a headlamp while volunteers throw glow-in-the-dark, neon color powder on you. Needless to say, I was on the receiving end of some confused looks on the subway home!

Overall, my 5k experiences this summer taught me two things:

  1. Mind over matter! When your body feels ready to give up, use your mind to push through. I don’t particularly enjoy running, but the sense of mental and physical accomplishment you feel crossing the finish line is like no other.
  2. Don’t be afraid to do things alone! For some reason, most people aren’t too eager to wake up at 7am on a Saturday morning to run three miles – imagine that! Travelling to and from these races alone, in addition to running them, was satisfying on its own.

And now, it’s back to training for my next race – a color run in Greensboro next month!

The only thing better than race swag is the delicious post-race food. Bagels, anyone?

The only thing better than race swag is the delicious post-race food. Bagels, anyone?

Monday, July 20th

Monday’s class this week was very interesting. I’m a Theatrical Design and Production major, so these last couple of weeks have been right up my alley. This past Monday we went to many places, but started first with visiting Lincoln Center and receiving a tour of Avery Fisher Hall. This is the place that the New York Philharmonic often performed, and it holds just shy of 3,000 people. It is getting remodeled and renamed though in 2019 after David Geffen. The entire building is being gutted and redone to be updated as well as to fix the acoustics. The house of the theatre was supposed to be 50 feet shorter than it is, but they wanted more seats, so it ended up up hurting the acoustics.

The second place we went, right after lunch, was to Manhattan Theatre Club. It is in the same building as where my internship is, just on a different floor, and I had no idea. We arrived and watched a video about MTC, and then we were talked to by Amy Harris as well as her boss. They talked a lot about the different spaces that MTC owns and what they do. They are a theatre company that puts on new works in one of their three different spaces. One of the things that is most important to them is to make the playwright happy. The new work is about the playwright and the design and everything else comes after. They also discussed the challenges of being a subscription company because if a show does well, they still have to close it and can’t extend the run because they would have already booked another show in the space.

We then went to AKA which is a marketing agency for Broadway shows. They have done marketing for shows such as Memphis, Matilda, Spiderman: Turn off the Dark, and Hand to God. The panel that we were able to speak with was very energetic, and although marketing is not my career of choice, I still was very engaged because of the energy that the panel produced. They talked about what kinds of things they made advertisements for and also showed us a new video for Matilda and many drafts of ads for Hand to God.

Our last stop of the day was Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a Q&A panel with Elon Alumni. Matt Shingledecker, Justin Noga, Joey Boyles, Katie Emerson, Matthew Masten, Lauren Adams, and Taylor Trensch were our panel. Matt is Fiyero on Wicked, Justin is a PR agent, Joey works for AKA, Katie is an actor currently on HeadVoice, Matthew is a producer, Lauren was Gretchen on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Taylor plays Christopher in The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime. It was very interesting to hear from all of them about what their favorite parts of the city were and how they got to where they are today.

Overall, it was a great, productive day!

An Afternoon with Lady Liberty

When I was young, my family took multiple weekend trips to New York City, and I thought that we had accomplished the major must-do’s of touristy activities. However, I was very wrong. What my family had failed to check off our bucket list was a major item: The Statue of Liberty. So, I took it upon myself this summer to make sure that I did not leave the city of New York without having spent an afternoon visiting Lady Liberty. So I booked my ticket in advance, set a date, and committed to taking the ferry out to both Liberty Island as well as Ellis Island, which is home to the Immigration Museum.

So the day came, and my roommate Claire and I headed down to the battery in downtown Manhattan and hopped aboard the ferry to Liberty Island. The ferry runs on a constant loop from Manhattan to Liberty Island, then to Ellis Island, and back to Manhattan, making it easy to visit both the statue and the Immigration Museum in one trip. We were lucky to have perfect weather too, which made the experience and the views even better.

The ferry ride was awesome to say the least—we got incredible views of not only Liberty Island, but Manhattan and New Jersey as well. When we docked at Liberty Island, we were surprised by how large the island actually was. We expected the majority of it to be the actual statue, but there was actually a very beautiful park area with restaurants and vendors as well. We climbed the statue up to the pedestal, (who knew you had to book about four months in advance to climb to the crown?!) which also gave us awesome views of the island and out across the water. It was also cool to be able to look directly up and see the Statue of Liberty standing directly over you!

The view from the ferry ride

The view from the ferry ride

On Liberty Island

On Liberty Island

The view from the pedestal

The view from the pedestal

Next up was Ellis Island, which proved to be incredibly fascinating. It is home to the Immigration Museum, and was where all the immigrants who arrived to New York passed through to gain entry into the United States. The building itself is absolutely stunning, and has been maintained absolutely flawlessly—especially since it was hit rather hard by Sandy! We took the self-guided tour of the museum, which gave us a full history of how the immigration process worked, as well as real immigration stories of individuals who had come from all parts of Europe to the United States, and the struggles they went through on the journey. We were able to learn about the transfer from Europe, the check-in process, the medical examinations, the tests, and other hoops they had to jump through to gain entry.

The entrance to the Immigration Museum

The entrance to the Immigration Museum

Interior of the Museum

Interior of the Museum

Our day was a huge check off the bucket list, but I also feel like I came out of it having gained a lot of knowledge and appreciation of our country’s, as well as this city’s, history.

 

Find your NYC Rhythm

It is often said that New York City is one of the most, if not the most, diverse city in the United States. I can say that I can agree with this description as well as having experienced this first hand through my incredible internship. I am interning with the United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations. I have had the amazing opportunity to be able to work in an international setting. Being able to go to the UN is a great experience. The building alone and the organization represent so much of the world’s history and diversity. It really has been an enlightening experience to be able to see all that goes into this organization and the complexity of international relations. Everyday I learn something new. I highly recommend visiting the UN in New York City.IMG_4212IMG_4134

The UN is not the only place that I see the diversity of New York City. A lot of it is through everyday activities such as walking through the streets. In my experience, the best way to see and truly absorb the diversity is to put headphones in and walk down the street. Experience what is around you through your own beat and rhythm. Tuning out all the traditional New York City noises, honking, sirens etc… helps you see what is going on beyond the normal. Think of this as something similar to when you have to turn down the music while driving to help you see the street signs better. This is the same thing except you are using music to tune out the honking, sirens, people yelling, and subways. One of the new “big things” to do is go to a silent disco. At these silent discos, you have headphones and can tune in to different channels of music. Essentially you are surrounded by a bunch of people except you are all listening to your own music. This is what it is like for me, when I walk around New York with headphones in. I get to enjoy the city to my own beat. I think this brings out the diversity of New York because you can see past all the distracting sounds and into the little niches of the city. So plug in some music and get lost in the city and take on the diversity.  IMG_4174

Thats Totally Wicked

On Monday afternoon, we went to Gershwin Theatre for a panel discussion with broadway industry professionals. While the discussion was very engaging, i could not help but help notice how grand the theater was. The theater has three levels and seats about 2000 guests. Gershwin TheaterRoyal blue seats and carpet set an earthy atmosphere within the space. From where we were seated, the stage looked spacious as it was filled with all kinds of props for the Broadway hit, Wicked. To be honest, I had never heard of this show before coming to New York, but I knew it was a big deal after seeing advertisements posted on taxis and billboards throughout the city. As i gazed at the massive dragon above the stage, I thought to myself any show with a dragon stage prop must be interesting. Luckily, I was going to see the show the very next day with the Elon in NYC group.

When I arrived at Gershwin Theatre the next evening, I was amazed at the massive crowd that lined the sidewalk. After experiencing a completely empty theater the day before, it was remarkable to see a packed house. Families, friends, and groups walked through the theater  looking for their seats in excitement. The anticipation was infectious, and I became excited as well as the light dimmed before the show started.

The production of the play was breathtaking. From the lights, to the effects, to the storyline and the talent… I was blown away. Wicked is a Broadway musical about the Wicked Witch of the West. The Wizard of Oz was one of my favorite movies when I was younger, so it was fun to watch the story of the infamous, Elphaba.

After the show, we were able to tour the stage and backstage courtesy of Matt Shingledecker, who plays Fiyero in the musical. Interestingly enough, Matt graduated from Elon a few years ago. Although I am not a BFA, it was inspiring to see a fellow Elon Phoenix living out his dream performing on Broadway.

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Take a Walk

As everyone knows, the most efficient way to get around New York City is by subway. and as many would agree, the subway, while efficient and speedy, is not always as pleasant an experience as there could possibly be, either from dealing with crazy passengers, the sheer, uncomfortable heat of the place, especially during the summer where it has been hotter in the subway than it ever was on street level.

I’ve also had the pleasure of seeing some of the most interesting sights in the city while I was just walking up and down 6th Avenue and Broadway. I remember one day on my walk to work, I saw an entire family of people with the exact same, almost perfectly spherical haircuts, just walking up Broadway. All of them were hauling roll-away suitcases. You can see pretty much anything walking around this city. From people waving signs about the end of the world that have just one integral word incredibly misspelled, to the parade of people walking to and from parts of the city. I will admit it does get very crowded in the streets depending on the time of day but, I have seen my favorite things in the city while I was walking around.

On Broadway, near Herald Square there is the best Belgian waffle in the world at Wafels and Dinges (yes that’s how it is spelled and it is delicious.) There happens to be another one in Bryant Park as well. I would have missed this just taking the 5 train up to Times Square and going to work. IMG_3362

I love walking around in this city. I found so many cool spots just walking around. On 2nd Avenue by St. Marks I found so many smaller restaurants including Paul’s Da Burger Joint. Great place with even better burgers. Not to mention my discovery of The Cut which is located in a section of the East Village that seems to be called little Ukraine. It’s a great place for a decently priced haircut. I just decided to take a walk and found the place not 15 minutes away from Loeb Hall.

My advice, really is just to find a place you’ve heard about and walk towards it, assuming it’s not like two hours away. I’ve found that a lot of the time you can find whatever you need just wandering around. Bookstores, small little restaurants or diners, the really interesting stuff that you see that you can’t from the underground. For example: This antique store selling a giant, bronze pelican.

Pelican for Sale

Pelican for Sale

Another thing you should really take a look at, are the things within a brief walking distance from Loeb hall itself. For example, the Whitney museum, which has a ton of exhibits of American art and photographs is all within a good walk from 14th street. Just head west and you’re heading through the West village and you’ll end up hitting the High Line. It’s a great place to go in the evening too. Lot’s of good restaurants in that area too.

Another thing I found that may be my favorite thing in the city is the small displays in the Lego stores, either the one in Rockefeller Center or the one next to Eataly on 23rd street which has a full display made entirely of Legos, both of the statue of liberty and a Lego mural of famous sights and sounds of the city.

As a personal addendum, please go and check out as much of the wild and wonderful area as you can. There is something for everyone, and I’m certainly not talking about the Starbucks on every single city block. Adventuring has gotten me the best meals in the city so far, and if you’re a fan of food, this is place to search around for whatever you like.

Really, all I have to say is, that if you ever find yourself on an afternoon in this city during the two weeks we’ve got left, do yourself a favor, find a place you’d like to see and take a walk. You certainly won’t regret it.

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