I’m sure a large majority of the people reading this post follow me on social media and have seen tons of pictures from my recent trip to New York City. Whether or not you follow me on Instagram, I’ve found a way to measle information my trip into any conversation possible, so it’s probably been mentioned more times than enough. Anyways, I’ll provide some quick context if you weren’t listening when I babbled on about New York- which, I don’t blame you, it was a lot. I recently attended a two week program with the School of the New York Times in Manhattan where I learned from incredible people about journalism and reporting and got to explore the city at the same time. This made for the most impactful, fun, and life-changing two weeks I’ve ever had.
The instructors and content of the course exceeded my already, super high expectations. Classes ran from 9 AM- 4 PM with a lunch break in between. Everyday was something different, and all equally as intriguing. Unlike a usual school day, I was never bored and I was sad when I didn’t have class on the weekends. Often, we would leave the classroom and visit different communities and places throughout New York and hear from guest speakers working in the industry. I loved taking a field trip to Jackson Heights, Queens for our final project, where a partner and I interviewed a new French bakery and their owner, who had won Iron Chef. Speaking with him was not only interesting- Ahem, he won Iron Chef- but super fun. And, agreeing to be interviewed by two random teenagers isn’t the best use of anyone’s time, so serious thanks to him. Here’s a link to the piece: https://medium.com/writing-the-big-city/a-taste-of-france-in-jackson-heights-da7909481569
Let me talk about the *equally* important and exciting part of this trip: exploring the city and meeting new people!. We stayed at the Fordham University Lincoln Center campus dorms and had easy access to a dining hall, lounges on every floor, and a Starbucks and Duane Reade (New York CVS basically) only a few minutes away. Having Duane Reade nearby meant easy access to Reese’s snack mix. Looking back, not the best idea to purchase before bed. Surprisingly, I only went to Starbucks a few times, because free breakfast at the dining hall was, well free. My debit card thanked me for that later. Another bonus was having an empty dance studio on our floor: perfect for movie nights and just hanging out. My floor was the group I did all non-class activities with and we all became good friends instantly.
Like any camp or program, you create a closer group of friends you spend most of your free time with. My friends made morning runs slightly more bearable and trips to the Met way more fun. They made running around looking for a Socrates painting (long story) some of the best few hours I had on the trip. You never got bored of each other since you had just met a week before and still had so many weird stories and things about our lives to share. In fact, after the first few days with your friends, you start spending every minute together. This meant lots of trips to Duane Reade for snacks right before bed check and early morning runs to compensate for what you ate the night before. I noticed my closest friends weren’t from California so I learned about East Coast and became a little less like a California girl, meaning less annoying. Also, I taught them some -apparently- unique, California things. I mean, none of them had been to Rubio’s or In N Out before- which was so saddening to hear. Leaving everyone had me at the point of tears, which I didn’t expect when I arrived.
New York City was the perfect place for me and my friends to explore. You unknowingly learn a lot about the culture and habits of the city by just spending every day there. By the end of the trip, I was pushing and shoving through the subway as if I’d lived in Manhattan my entire life. I can admit to using these techniques in our dorm elevator too- you gotta do what you gotta do to get out at your floor. Luckily, the streets were not as busy as the elevators and roaming around was fairly simple despite my terrible directions and confusion between avenue and street. Main lessons learned were: do not go to Times Square. Just don’t. Also, bring rain gear and not one jacket. My poor University of Hawaii hoodie was worn everyday and had to be washed midway through.
A huge perk of staying near the Upper West Side was Magnolia Bakery. The best desserts. Don’t @ me. Having the dining hall’s ice cream at lunch and cheesecake for dessert was a hellish combination for my lactose-intolerant self, but it was worth it. Oh, how could I forget Van Leeuwen’s. It was the best of both worlds for me: ice cream that’s tasty and dairy-free. I did have my fair share of healthy and over-priced, yet amazing salads. Sweetgreen will be missed. Please ask me for any suggestions on where to eat, I will go on for hours about certain restaurants.
Aside from my planned shopping and food trips, the School of the New York Times organized many fun activities. My favorite was seeing the musical, Prom, on Broadway. Who am I kidding? Everything we did was my favorite. We had a cruise night with a chaotic, yet fun mosh pit, mini golf, and view of the Statue of Liberty. It gave me the party-like experience I’ll never be invited to again. Going to the Met museum was super interesting, especially the Camp fashion exhibit. I would include a picture, but that’s against their rules. Another activity I enjoyed was the rainy Instagram dessert tour we took around Greenwich village. I had lots of dessert, implied by the name, and a great time.An event I assumed everyone attending loved as much as I did was the New York Times building tour. Seeing my, hopefully, future workplace was just as cool as I imagined.
Overall, the School of the New York Times was amazing, and I’m experiencing severe withdrawals back home. I can’t walk anywhere nearby, I can’t be given journalism opportunities on the daily, and I can’t see my friends who all live across the country. Writing this made me nostalgic for a few days ago when I was in NYC, which is embarrassing to say. So, if I haven’t convinced you to apply next year, or at least take a trip to the city, I haven’t done a good job writing this post. Thanks for reading!