Multimedia: Little CoMo

As millions of individuals from around the world migrate and settle into New York City each year, thousands of high school graduates pack up their belongings and settle into their respective college towns. While these two groups may differ in age, gender, sexuality, race or religion, both have one thing in common: each is trying to find his or her place. From the two groups, many individuals strive to find a little slice of home: a sense of belonging and comfort in a new and foreign town.

After living away from home both in the United States and abroad, I certainly can attest to this scary and discomforting feeling.

While you cannot substitute many things from the United States in a foreign country, I believed I could adjust quickly after moving to another American city. However upon my arrival to New York, I found this was not always the case. I began missing my familiar Columbia hangouts and go-to spots. I didn’t have my usual places where I could guarantee the food was going to taste good or the atmosphere was going to be just right.

But here, in New York City in a sea of over 8.5 million global citizens, many ethnic groups have proved that is, in fact, possible to find a place of solace. Over the years, certain ethnic groups have claimed specific areas as their own that they can call home: the Chinese people have developed Chinatown, Italians have found respite in Little Italy while Germans have a large population living in the Yorkville neighborhood on the Upper East Side.

So, I decided that I, too, could try to make at least part of this city my own. I embarked on finding similar places to my beloved Columbia spots.

Through this, I put together “Little CoMo” 

(The name being inspired by a cross between Little Italy and NoHo/SoHo).

The following list contains some match-ups and hopes of equivalency. However, it is a reality that the majority of Columbia to New York City places cannot be accurately compared.

1. Shakespeare’s Pizza — Lombardi’s

Location: 32 Spring Street, New York, NY 10012

Shakespeare’s Pizza has been the go-to pizza place in Columbia since 1973. Loved by Columbia residents, students, faculty, alumni and visitors, Shakespeare’s is an institution. It even has a connection to New York City: it’s ridiculous and unique advertisements have even been featured on The David Letterman Show.

Similarly an institution in New York City, Lombardi’s is supposedly the first pizza place in the city and arguably has the best pizza. Lombardi’s is a unique, family-owned specialty that is coveted by New Yorkers and visitors alike. Unlike its biggest competitor, Grimaldi’s, customers are able to visit Lombardi’s without having to wait in line for two hours and sit down at any time.

While the atmosphere is very different between the Columbia and NYC joints, the pizza is pretty similar in composition. Both Shakespeare’s and Lombardi’s “pies” have a similar sauce to toppings ratio and thin – but not too thin – crust. They’re also both extremely fresh!

2. Harpo’s — Blackstones

Location: 245 East 55th Street, New York, NY

Serving $3.00 domestic draughts and bottles and half-priced apple martinis and cosmos from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. every day of the weeks specials, Blackstones on 55th between 2nd Avenue and 3rd Avenue aligns itself pretty closely with Harpo’s. This Irish pub, who claims it is a saloon, has three bars and ten different large flat screen televisions that have cable access to thirteen different sports channels. Blackstones is also very refreshing and warm, as you’re one in the family! The Mizzou NYC alumni group gets together at Blackstones to watch Tiger football and basketball every Saturday or Sunday of the season!

3. Ragtag Cinema — Film Forum

Location: 209 West Houston Street, New York, NY

Ragtag Cinema is Columbia’s go-to independent film theater. In 2000, Ragtag Cinema was opened by an all-volunteer group of men and women known as the Ragtag Film Society.  It is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit, community-supported theater that shows independent, international, documentary and narrative films. Many filmmakers, students and professors visit the theater and its’ Uprise Bakery every day to appreciate and discuss its films. Not only a movie theater, bakery and bar, Ragtag supports local artists by allowing them to perform live music, theater, comedy and poetry readings. Finally, Ragtag is a host of Columbia’s popular True/False Film Festival.  Ragtag invites all citizens of Columbia and guests into encourage “dialogue between people of different cultures, backgrounds, and identities” as they “aim to foster a vibrant geographic core for the city” (Ragtag Cinema).

While New York City has nearly a half dozen of independent theaters, I believe Film Forum is the most equivalent match to Ragtag. While it is thirty years older than Ragtag founded in 1970, it too is a Film Forum is a nonprofit. According to Film Forum’s website, it is the only autonomous nonprofit cinema in New York City and one of the few in the country. Film Forum is open 365 days out of the year and shows American independent films and foreign art films. Film Forum supports local artists and filmmakers such as Ragtag inviting filmmakers to come speak. Film Forum believes, “As a cinema of ideas, Film Forum is committed to presenting an international array of films that treat diverse social, political, historical and cultural realities…Film Forum’s programs are thoughtfully curated, with attention to unique cinematic qualities, historical importance individually or within a genre and, particularly for documentaries, relevance to today’s world.” (Film Forum). Plus, it does not hurt that they have a delicious bakery too!

4. Déjà Vu Comedy Club — Comic Strip Live

Location: 1568 2nd Avenue,  New York, NY 10028

It seems like we have all been to Columbia’s downtown comedy club: Déjà Vu for one on-campus organization function or another. Established in 1975, the “Vu” serves as Columbia’s most popular, live stand up comedy club. Despite it’s mid-America location and cheesy promotions, it has hosted famous stand up comics from around the country such as: Tim Allen, Larry the Cable Guy, Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White, George Lopez, Drew Carry and Steve-O. In the fall, it will host Rob Schneider and its first international comedian.

Around the same time in 1975, Comic Strip Live, also know as “The Comic Strip” began providing entertainment in New York City’s Upper East Side. After trying out other acts, the club began providing only stand up comics and has been the most popular comedy club in New York ever since. According to their website, more major stars have started their careers at the Comic Strip than any other venue in the world. The Comic Strip first discovered Eddie Murphy, who then in turn discovered Chris Rock. Jerry Seinfeld worked at the Comic Strip for years as well. Other legends include: Adam Sandler, Sarah Silverman, John Henson and many more.

Both the Vu and The Comic Strip are extremely popular and have similar vibes. While Columbia’s club is two floors, it’s upstairs comedy floor has a similar setup to that of the Comic Strip. Customers at both venues are able to see the performing comedian regardless of their seats. Above all, each location provides a great laugh and a great time!

5. MKT Trail — The High Line

Location: The High Line stretches from Gansevoort Street to West 34th Street between 10th & 11th Avenues.

Just want to get away? Both the MKT Trail and the High Line provide refuge for those living in Columbia and New York City.

The MKT trail is a trail built on the old rail bed of the MKT railroad and begins in downtown Columbia. Walkers, joggers, runners and bikers are attracted to the 4.7 mile trail as they are surrounded by nature and separate from the chaos that can ensue in Columba.

The High Line was built in the 1930s, but no trains have run on the High Line since 1980. There were plans to demolish the High Line, but a non-profit group who called themselves “Friends of the High Line” stopped this from happening in 1999.  Friends of the High Line maintain and preserve the elevated trail and park. Construction began in 2006 with the first section opening in 2009. The first section stretched from Gansevoort Street in the Meat Packing District to West 20th. The second section opened last summer in June.

Both the MKT trail and the High Line are man made structures dedicated to serving the community. Both also serve as a natural respite to escape the busyness of each respective city. Finally, both areas have been restored and were built on old train tracks.

6. The Blue Note –– Bowery Ballroom

Location: 768 5th Avenue,  New York, NY 10019

The Blue Note, Columbia’s most popular concert hall, was originally established in 1980. It moved into its Ninth Street location in 1998.  The Blue Note has hosted famous acts such as Phish, Third Eye Blind, Girl Talk, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dave Matthews Band, and many more. They have even hosted Johnny Cash, and Willie Nelson.

Bowery Ballroom was built in 1929, but was used as a store for many years. In 1997, the space was converted into a music hall. Bowery Ballroom has hosted many famous acts such as: Eric Church, The Black Keys, Nada Surf and many more.

The Bowery Ballroom has a similar atmosphere, vibe and setup like The Blue Note. Similarly to The Blue Note, Bowery Ballroom has great acoustics and has an old warmth vibe that resonates within the venue. Bowery Ballroom has hosted dance parties and techno groups, but it is mostly known for having great, relaxed shows. It has a bar on all of its levels as well.

7. The Tiger Hotel — The Plaza

Location: 768 5th Avenue,  New York, NY 10019

Since moving to Columbia in 2009, I have believed that The Tiger Hotel is the nicest hotel in Columbia. The Tiger Hotel is a historic landmark and a newly renovated, luxury boutique hotel in the heart of downtown.  It has an ideal location of being blocks away from shops, bars and restaurants and our beautiful University of Missouri campus. The Tiger Hotel prides itself in providing excellence and luxury for all of their guests. They even provide in room spa sessions.

While I cannot justifiably say that the Plaza Hotel is an exact or even equivalent match to the Tiger Hotel, I can say that there are similarities as the Plaza Hotel is arguably the nicest and most luxurious hotel in New York City, The Plaza Hotel is impeccably located in a landmark as well on Fifth Avenue near Central Park, luxury shopping and many city attractions. The Plaza Hotel provides luxury for all of its guests including being the first hotel in the world to provide iPads for each room.

Both the Tiger Hotel and The Plaza Hotel have been recently renovated providing an even more luxurious and elegant stays!

8. Swank Boutique — Bergdorf Goodman

Location: 754 West 58th Street, New York, NY

While you’re staying at The Tiger Hotel, you can take a stroll over to Swank Boutique. Similarly if you are staying at The Plaza Hotel, you can cross the street and visit the opulent Bergdorf Goodman.

As a female living in Columbia, fine luxurious shopping is hard to come by. Also being the college student that I am, I cannot afford to participate in neither fine nor luxurious shopping. However, when I do treat myself, my first stop is Swank Boutique. Swank provides Columbia residents with the highest end designers and latest in women’s fashion. It prides itself on being Columbia’s most upscale and unique boutique.

Similarly to the Plaza Hotel, Bergdorf Goodman cannot truly and directly be compared. However, Bergdorf Goodman is New York’s nicest and most luxurious department store. Unlike its “competition” Barneys and Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman is unique to New York and is a city classic. It provides the highest end designers across the shopping spectrum. Like Swank, it prides itself on being one-of-a-kind. Similar to Swank as well, its employees are not pushy trying to make a sale. Bergdorf Goodman is also respected for the rich experience it provides.

While some of these comparisons are similar in physical layout or aesthetic, others have similar atmospheres or related relationships. Unfortunately, you can’t import Harpo’s or transplant The Blue Note in the big apple, but you can find pretty close and related cousins. While there are locations, atmospheres and memories from Columbia that cannot be duplicated or recreated in New York City, I think it is safe to say that if you open your mind you are able to find a “Little CoMo.”

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Multimedia Project: Exploring Classic New York

Exploring Classic New York  by Harriet White

The Big Apple. The City that Never Sleeps. The Center of the Universe.

Although there are many names for this majestic city, the feeling of being in New York is pretty inexplicable. If I could try to put it to words, it would be the sublime mixture of feeling on top of the world but while also feeling like one spec in a million among the great and grandiose population. New York is tradition. New York is stylish. New York is the freedom and “confidence of living in the center of the universe.”

But what would I know? I am, by definition, a New York transplant, soaking in every bit of the city and still standing in awe of the Empire State Building’s gleaming authority over the Manhattan skyline. So to get to know New York better, and I mean, the real, classic New York, I decided to explore the timeless experiences and landmarks that make this city tick. And reading New York Magazine‘s “Classic New York” article, this transplant had a perfect idea of where to start…

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1. A Drink at the Carlyle Hotel’s Bemelmans Bar

Drinking Martinis at an Elegant Old Hotel Bar….Media Moguls Breakfasting at the Carlyle…

Okay, so maybe I wasn’t drinking martinis but to kick off my exploration of classic New York, I decided to grab a quick drink at what I suspect would be Don Draper’s watering hole:  Bemelmans Bar at the Carlyle Hotel on the Upper East Side.

As an art nouveau, old-money bar, Bemelmans typifies the Upper East Side atmosphere: elegant, exclusive and quite highbrow.  Dimly lit, the walls of Bemelmans are adorned with classic Madeline illustrations and the sound of Sinatra tunes flow brightly throughout the room, making the atmosphere feel more like a scene out of Paris than anything else. Named after the illustrator of the Madeline series, Ludwig Bemelmans, the Caryle Hotel, and in turn, Bemelmans Bar, are New York institutions, described as “a favorite haunt for New Yorkers for years” and “a civilized bar with white-jacketed waiters, a little Gershwin in the background and ice-cold Martinis” according to New York Magazine and Forbes.com.

As one would suspect, I strutted into Bemelmans with confidence, steering my nose high and barely pouting my lips; let’s just say I tried my best to channel Grace Kelly. Sipping on martinis and appearing as indifferent as ever, the crowd at Bemelmans was the creme-de-la-creme of New York from wealthy socialites to business tycoons.  Paying $15 dollars to simply sit in the bar, it was clear Bemelmans was a place to see and be seen. Overhearing conversations of society parties, business plans and scheduled surgeries at Lenox Hill, I got a small glimpse into New York’s upper crust. And sipping on a $20 glass Pinot Grigio at the bar, I felt pretty much a part of the elegance and exclusivity.

In the scheme of classic New York, Bemelmans represents the New York elite; the exclusive, society crowd that stays quite north of 40th street, lunches at Fred’s at Barney’s and attends the Met gala. This was the glamorous New York I often dreamed about when I was younger, and I finally got a real taste of what it felt like to be one of the lucky ones, at least for an hour. And I have to say, Frank, I liked it quite a bit.

http://youtu.be/zTZNLgDXURQ

http://youtu.be/FpJlmeaIamk

2. Top of the Empire State Building

“The Skyline…Empire State Building’s Observation Deck when Tourists Forget to Turn off the Flashes on their Cameras…”

“I want you to meet me on the top of the Empire State Building”

These are the classic words we often remember when thinking about New York. Whether Cary Grant or Tom Hanks claimed these lines, a whimsical reunion at the top of Manhattan is the ultimate New York image. With this, I decided one of my classic experiences had to be sitting in awe of Manhattan from the top of the Empire State. And who knows, maybe Cary Grant would meet me there.

Although the top of the Empire State Building can be considered quite a tourist trap, I visited the landmark with the understanding of figuring out why it is such a classic image rather than a tourist location. And may I say, at first, that was quite hard, as my first classic New York feeling was scorn for tourists.

What they don’t tell you in the movies is that you have to wait quite a bit of time in line before you can reach the 86th floor. Feeling like herded cattle amongst a bevy of Midwestern tourists and foreigners, I thought to myself often throughout the line: Did Meg Ryan have to wait when she met Tom Hanks up here on Valentine’s Day?

But despite how I got there, I finally reached the magical top of Manhattan. And yes, it was just as magical as I thought it would be, so much so that you could hardly hear people talk on the deck as they stared in awe of New York City from the tip of the island all the way to Washington Heights.

Erected in 1931, the Empire State Building characterizes old New York, the pre-World War II era where men clad in full suits strolled the streets in top hats and New York was still The Wonder City. Sitting at the top of the Empire State, I felt a combination of nostalgia for that era and a sentimental feeling of being at a place where great “cinema” men had performed their grand romantic gestures.

Although the Empire State Building often gets thought over as a tourist spot, I learned from my time at the top that it represents the classic New York that is romantic, old and increasingly nostalgic. And I bet if you stood at the top, cradling the observation binoculars and staring down at the beauty of New York, you’d feel it too.

3. The Wooden Escalators at Macy’s on 34th

“Macy’s Santa…”

Naturally, in my search for classic New York, I visited the iconic Macy’s Department Store, one of the largest in the world. My goal was to finally ride the Macy’s wooden escalators and take a trip back into time.

And back in time, I definitely went. Walking into the department store, I didn’t feel necessarily different or particularly New Yorkish until I reached the wooden escalators. A piece of history stuck in the present, these escalators date back to 1902 when Macy’s moved to Herald Square and were considered quite modern and revolutionary for its time. But let’s just say they certainly don’t sound like it. As you can hear in the video, these antiques makes quite the cracking noise as you ride them, giving them an extra level of charm. They are reminders of what Macy’s used to be: the elegance and excitement of shopping at a department store, taking the modern escalators and possibly visiting the “livestock” floor. They are time capsules of turn-of-the-century New York, an era when New York was beginning to be seen as the “new metropolis” and the seeds of the modern city were beginning to be set with Herald Square and the founding of Times Square.

Like the Empire State Building, Macy’s on 34th street plays to the idea of old New York, to the traditions and to the nostalgia. We think of the holiday season, Miracle on 34th Street, the Thanksgiving Parade and the magically old quality of New York. Or at least that’s what flowed through my mind as I took the escalators up to the 8th floor, closing my eyes to hear perfectly the cracking of the wood as it rotated through its cycle.

Listening to the escalator, I realized instantly that this was New York: the mix of old and new, the nostalgia and the feeling of being somewhere important whether now or in the past. Yep, that’s New York, alright.

http://youtu.be/HpRw13hL_9Q

4. Oysters at the Grand Central Oyster Bar

“The Oyster Bar…”

“Before the 20th century, when people thought of New York, they thought of oysters” – Mark Kurlanksy

Despite the glitz and glam of modern New York, the heart of the city is in its status as a great harbor metropolis. And one great mark of this harbor status is New York’s obsession with oysters. Early settlers in New York from the Indians to the Dutch ate oysters found at the estuary of the lower Hudson. With 350 square miles of oyster beds, oysters boomed in the late 19th century, giving New York the title “the Big Oyster.” Learning this, I went in search of oysters, not in the Hudson but at the landmark Grand Central Terminal Oyster Bar.

Nestled deep down in Grand Central, the Oyster Bar, a restaurant described as a New York landmark since its opening in 1913, is the perfect place to get a taste of classic New York; not the apple but the oyster.

As a landmark, you would think the Oyster Bar would be swankier, but it is a simple restaurant/bar with large signs displaying the oysters of the day. It’s clean cut New York, none of the trendiness of that new New York. Having never had an oyster before, I was nervous to try it. But in the name of exploring New York classics, I ordered a duo of Wellfleet, MA oysters, a small oyster perfect enough for an oyster newbie.

Dousing my oyster in cocktail sauce and lemon, I took the plunge and ate the slimy sucker! Fresh as could be, the Wellfleet, MA oyster was delicious with the perfect tart flavor of the lemon and cocktail sauce. From that first plump bite, I could tell why oysters used to represent the wealth and excitement of New York.

Sitting in the basement of the iconic Grand Central terminal and noshing on a couple of oysters, I felt like a quintessential New Yorker, privy to certain knowledge about the city that others didn’t know. I mean, how many people really know that New York used to be called the Big Oyster? It’s the secrets that make New York tick. And the Oyster Bar, hiding deep down in Grand Central, is just one of many New York secrets. I guess the world really is New Yorkers’ oyster…

http://youtu.be/y1KISf-9jvs

http://youtu.be/58C4lxHw41c

5. Riding the Cyclone at Coney Island

“The Cyclone…The Waterfront…Brighton Beach”

When I was younger, my grandmother used to tell me about how her mother came to the U.S. from Greece via Ellis Island. Residing in New York for a bit before heading to Chicago, she visited the famous Coney Island during her stay in the 1910s. And it was there that she had her first American hot dog. I grew up listening to this story, thinking of Coney Island fondly and as a  landmark.

Except Coney Island is not a classic Manhattan landmark but a classic New York landmark as I’ve come to discover. Nestled in southern Brooklyn, Coney Island represents the old, eccentric, quirky part of New York where hot dogs were a hit and carnivals were still valued. If you can imagine, Coney Island used to be a resort town where people would vacation and walk along the beautiful boardwalk. Although the boardwalk is still beautiful, you get a sense in Coney Island that something beautiful and thriving has faded there. It’s history, not present. Even riding the Cyclone, you feel as if you are stepping back in time and remembering what it must’ve been like for people in the early 20th century to ride this, overlooking the waterfront. Plus, you can feel the history in how the ride jerks you around (Yes, classic New York basically broke my back).

The best quality of Coney Island though is the eccentric quality of it. From the bizarre dancers on the boardwalk to the colorfully old rides, Coney Island feels almost surreal, as if you’ve entered a 19th century circus overlooking the Atlantic. People are allowed to be unusual, the Cyclone can rule, Mermaid Avenue is a street and hot dogs are the staple; this is not reality.

But for not being reality, Coney Island offers a special experience: a glimpse of real New York. Not the trends or Manhattan or the exclusivity of the Upper East Side, but real borough New York. It’s not glamorous, but there’s a real charm to it.

I felt this most when I rode up the first drop of the Cyclone. Going up, I got the perfect view of the crystal clear Atlantic Ocean and behind me the skyline of Manhattan and the view of borough New York. This combination of images showed me just how complex New York is, with so many worlds existing into one. Coney Island just represented a small section of that New York, which is so gritty, surreal and old. Coney Island might be fading, but it is a clear image in the idea of classic New York. You can’t get this experience anywhere else, especially when it comes to the hot dogs. Although my great-grandmother wasn’t a fan, Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs were divine, perfectly juicy and the perfect cap off of my trip to the surreal and utterly classic Coney Island.

http://youtu.be/BylEWNVtV_4

http://youtu.be/-VzuBAQlW6k

6. Eating a Pastrami Sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen

“Corned Beef or Pastrami on Rye… Katz’s”

Food is deeply embedded in the idea of classic New York. Food makes New York tick. But what makes New York tick even more is a hot pastrami sandwich at Katz’s Delicatessen. And although I was skeptical, it was one of the most divine meals I’ve had so far in New York.

Pastrami was introduced to New York in the late 19th century by Jewish immigrants in the Lower East Side. Although there is a debate about which deli served it first, Katz’s is one of the first delis to serve hot pastrami (and corned beef) on rye. So naturally I went to Katz’s to check out what this sandwich was all about, as nothing is more New York than one of these sandwiches.

Katz’s is a simple deli where you get a ticket, walk up to the counter and order your sandwich. Packed on a Saturday afternoon, I waited in line, feeling anxious about the meal. What even was pastrami? I was convinced I wasn’t going to like it but knew that I couldn’t explore classic New York without a bite of this sizzling sandwich. As I approached the counter, I told the waiter my order, and he began slicing the pastrami, giving me a slice to taste test. Grabbing the meat, I slipped it into my mouth only to realize how absolutely delicious pastrami was! How did I live here three months and not eat this before?

Grabbing the enormous sandwich off the counter, I anticipated the idea of eating at least a pound of this smoky, chewy and absolutely delicious sandwich. Being conservative, I only asked for a bit of mustard to accompany my pastrami and rye. Sitting down, I took the first bite. Trying to attack this monster of a sandwich, I had pieces of pastrami falling out of mouth. Let’s just say it wasn’t an elegant meal. But that’s the thing, it isn’t supposed to be. Katz’s represents a part of classic New York that was built by Jewish immigrants. With parts of the menu written in Yiddish, you get a clear sense of this heritage at Katz’s, which I hadn’t experienced before. This wasn’t elegant or romanticized New York; this was the real roots of New York: the immigrants and the culture they brought with them. They crowned pastrami and corned beef sandwiches as an art form, and Katz’s celebrates this art form. It’s simple deli food, and I can say one of the best meals of my New York experience. I now understand the phrase that there is nothing more classic in New York than a pastrami sandwich; it encompasses a whole subculture that made the real New York what it is today. I didn’t have what she’s having, but I took a true bite of classic New York…

http://youtu.be/EY82LSElvcY

http://youtu.be/tfdeyJe-gXI 

 Wrapping it Up

Venturing through the different lenses of classic New York, from elegant to surreal to even the Big Oyster, I got the real sense that nostalgia is the typical feeling of classic New York. Wherever I went from Katz’s to Coney Island to even the Empire State Building, I felt nostalgic, reminiscent of another time and thinking of how I was standing somewhere that was so important both in the present and past. I was surprised to find just how many worlds exist in classic New York, so much so that it is hard to define classic New York. With New York Magazine listing hundreds of random phrases as their compilation of “What is New York,” I understand now that it’s simply indescribable. I guess that’s just what makes it New York.

Project: A Mass-ive Summer

St. Peter’s on Staten Island

Entering this summer, one of the factors of New York City I was most excited for was the plethora of beautiful Catholic churches just waiting to be visited. Instead of finding one and habitually becoming comfortable with that church by attending Mass there each week, as I do with my ‘home’ churches in Missouri and Colorado, I knew I wanted to see as many different, beautiful churches as possible. I had 10 Sundays in total – which ultimately led to a great, enlightening journey across all ends and to each corner of the Big Apple.

St. Francis of Assisi in Midtown

In the end, I learned quite a bit about my faith and the historical ties of the Catholic religion to this history-driven city. From the quaint parish around the corner to the revered Cathedral, you can download and view the path of my journey and details of it all by clicking here: My Catholic Summer. (Clicking the link will download a .pdf file, which contains the project in its entirety)

Zach Garcia

New York Artistic

Thanks to more discount deals, I was able to see two of New York’s most reputable art museums this past weekend. I was very excited to finally connect with the city’s renowned art culture, something I’d marked as a must-see prior to coming to NYC for the summer. Looks like I just barely fit it in.

I started out at the Museum of Modern Art on Friday afternoon, or MoMA, as everyone calls it. MoMA was exhilarating. I was amazed on a few levels during my quick visit, the first of which being the sheer size of the giant museum. Floor after floor, each of which could undoubtedly take an hour to fully explore, culminated into a wide collection of wonders. I enjoyed and was really quite stricken by MoMA’s style of art – a category of which I considered to be abstract but in a real-life, every day sense. Perhaps this image of a MoMA-displayed work to the left can better explain what I’m trying to say. I became enamored with MoMA in my brief visit, and didn’t want to leave when the museum announced that it was closing for the night.

The next day, I tried my hand at visiting the famous Guggenheim Museum along the “Museum Mile” portion of 5th Avenue. Guggenheim is the crazy, swirl shaped building across from Central Park – which is quite a work of art itself as a structure. Aside from being absolutely crammed inside the museum with fellow frugally minded artgoers, Guggenheim differed from MoMA in the sense that it decidedly featured a much more traditional style of art. And this is definitely not a knock – as I found myself entranced by some of the brilliant, complex abstract works that Guggenheim displays.

All in all, I learned that you can’t really lose with these two legendary art havens, or even more any location that houses New York’s vibrant art.

Zach Garcia

Bookmarc & the West Village

This week I went to Bookmarc, Marc by Marc Jacobs bookstore.

Ashley and Jamie had mentioned that they had found cute necklaces and school supplies there so I headed there one day after work. I took the 6 down from 23rd street to Union Square. I tried to transfer to the L, but the L wasn’t running (oh so typical).

So I set off on foot. The walk was actually really pretty, and I’m beginning to regret not spending more time in the West Village.

 

 

The buildings were very residential, and I spent a lot of time peeking into windows as a I walked by. I loved all of the little front porches, stoops and scraggly trees.

 

At Bookmarc I bought a few Marc by Marc Jacobs Sharpies. They come on a cute key ring and were only $2.50. I figure they will make great “thinking of you” or “thank you” gifts. The store has all kinds of great coffee books and accessories for all of your electronics. They also have great and affordable stationary and school supplies. It’s a bit small, so the selection is sparse, but I think it would be worth going back every trip to New York just to see if they had gotten anything new in.

 

And guess what! On the walk home I saw Jonah Hill! He was walking down the street with a woman holding a tennis racket.

Yankees Game — Adventure Point

On Sunday night I went to the Yankees vs. Red Sox game.

I’m not a huge baseball fan, but I wanted to go because it felt like an experience that I couldn’t miss.

It was much easier to travel up there than I though it would be. The train was express, so we were able to get up there in about 40 minutes. Getting into the stadium couldn’t be easier. We exited the subway station, and we were right there.

The stadium is huge.

Yankee’s fans are unlike any fans I have ever encountered. They boo, scream and yell, not only at the other team — but at their own players! This might not be surprising to so people, but I was shocked by their behavior.

During the game I was playing around on my phone taking pictures and a man behind me asked, “What are you even doing here? You’re not watching!” Yankees fans are SERIOUS about their team.

Other than that one incident, I had a great time (this made up for it),

It was a beautiful night and the game was close near the end. They went into extra innings and the Red Sox ended up winning. The game ended around midnight and people flowed out of the stadium and on to the subway.

Luckily the ride home wasn’t too bad either. The train was absolutely packed, but everything was pretty efficient. All the trains on that track switched to express, and we zoomed back down to Fulton Street.

It was a bit late for a Sunday night, but I made it back in my bed by 1:30 a.m. with pictures and a full belly. I’d say my Yankees adventure was a success.

 

Manhattan’s Must-See Museums: Multimedia Project

I could probably live in New York City my entire life and still not see everything to see. The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan, make up the five boroughs of New York City with an unlimited amount of places to see and explore. There is so much to learn about in New York, and the best way to do that is to visit the variety of museums. As a part of the New York Program, we live in Lower Manhattan, so these are just four of the museums I visited close to home. But if you feel like getting out of the neighborhood, I included one of my favorite museums while I’ve been here—Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Times Square. Get a feel for each museum with a little information about each and then take A Walk Through Manhattan’s Museums. Either sit back and watch the slideshow or click through the pictures to read captions containing interesting facts about the photos.

American Indian Museum

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian features exhibits all year round to display and teach about the lifestyles, cultures and religions of Native people. The current exhibit is Infinity of Nations, which shows the path and history of Native people. You can learn about almost every aspect of their lives, from tools they used to the types of clothing they wore. Outside the exhibit is a collection of boards that establish the 500-year connection between Native Americans and African Americans by addressing their shared questions of identity and heritage and their struggle to gain legal and social acceptance.

Jewish Holocaust Museum

I have been to a few Holocaust museums, but this one was an interesting new angle. Its main focus is the life of Jewish people before, during and after the Holocaust with a floor dedicated to each phase. While I learned some new facts about the Holocaust, I learned a lot more about the lifestyles of the Jews who were a part of it. More than 900 Jews from Germany boarded the St. Louis heading to Cuba. They had applied for U.S. visas and were going to head there after they reached Cuba; however, the ship was forced to go back to Europe, taking the passengers. They took refuge in other European countries, but they still ran into trouble when Germany invaded those countries. With little knowledge of Jewish life before visiting the museum, it definitely presented a new angle to the Holocaust.

The Skyscraper Museum

The name of the museum says it all. This museum, which is ironically only one floor, is all about the start up and evolution of New York’s skyscrapers. It details everything starting with the first skyscrapers in the textile business as New York grew to become the fashion capital of the world. It continues the timeline all the way up to today with pictures and plans for the new World Trade Center buildings and the memorial. And here’s a bonus! It’s right across the street from the Jewish Holocaust Museum, so you can just hit both in one day like I did! Learn interesting facts about how they’re built and check out pictures of famous skyscrapers around the world.

The Museum of American Finance

When thinking of interesting museums to visit, the Museum of American Finance might not be on the top of your list, but it should be. This museum is not just facts and figures of our country’s debt. It actually tells the entire financial history of how our country was built, and how it has grown and changed since that time. You can start by meeting Alexander Hamilton, J.P. Morgan and Andrew Carnegie and then move along to see how the Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg Business came into the scene. It’s more of a history lesson than a budget lesson, so its definitely worth the time.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum

Ok, here’s your break from the educational type of museums. There is nothing to learn here—just relax, walk around and enjoy the  unnervingly realistic wax figurines. Take pictures with your favorite celebrities like I did, enjoy the miniature haunted house (or should I say haunted room?) and embarrass yourself by mistaking one of the figurines for a real person (not like that happened to me or anything…). It’s a little pricey, but it’s definitely worth the money and the time spent inside.