Monthly Archives: May 2014

Looking for Old New York

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I am a mutt, not in the canine sense but rather in regards to my ancestry. Take a peek in my genealogy and you’ll find Italian, German, Lithuanian, Swiss, and English heritage. My Grandmother on my mother’s side spent a years upon years collecting the names of family members long past. She traced our ancestry as far back as the 1500s and discovered that one of our distant relatives signed the magna carta. Discoveries such as these are fascinating to me and spark a desire to study the history of not only my family but of others as well. So far, New York City has not failed to provide ample amounts of intriguing historical facts for me to learn about. The history buff that has been dormant while living in the suburbs of Georgia has been given a chance to awaken and feast on the rich history that New York City has to offer (which isn’t to say that Georgia doesn’t have rich history because it most certainly does).

One of the first places that we went to as a group was the Tenement Museum. Here we followed a tour guide below the old tenement buildings and into a basement space where a German salon used to be in business. We spent a decent amount of time listening to the tour guide talk about the struggles and triumphs of the immigrants who ran this business, and continued on to an adjacent room to learn about where a butchery shop, auction house, and lace lingerie store used to be. Jewish, German, Austrian, and Puerto Rican families pursued the American Dream beneath the brick tenement buildings. They endured xenophobic treatment, the Great Depression, and intense competition from rival businesses throughout the decades that they lived in 97 Orchard. Here beneath the bustling streets of New York City, true American spirit and hard work were at play.

While exploring the underground tenement businesses was fascinating, I was even more eager to experience Little Italy. Like I mentioned before I have Italian heritage and I was interested in experiencing the Italian community of New York City. It did not disappoint. A small group of us went out last night with the intention of eating dinner at China Town and then finding a gelato stand in Little Italy. It is quite a strange experience to walk down a street full of Chinese stores and restaurants and then turn the corner to find yourself surrounded by Italian food and wares. I was enthralled by the mixing of two radically different cultures and had a fantastic time sampling the food from both communities. The dinner we had in China Town was delicious and inexpensive, but the gelato in Little Italy paled in comparison to the real deal. Still the Italian in me was happy. I was reminded of the streets in Rome while walking in Little Italy. Tonight we plan to return and eat at an Italian Ristorante. I have high hopes that the food will be on par with the food in Italy. We shall see…

 

 

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First week in NY

Time flies. It’s been 5 days since I arrived in New York. The place we’re staying is almost perfect to go around New York city. New York University dormitory is located in the center of New York City. I only stayed in Columbus GA before going to New York in America. Columbus and New York was so different. I cannot say which place is better. But obviously, unlike in Columbus, I could go anywhere with subway in New York. And New York, is so crowded with people and dogs.

From Monday to Friday, I’ve been to many different museums and famous spots in New York. The first place I wanted to go was the top of the Empire State Building which represents New York city with the Statue of Liberty. We cannot imagine New York without recalling Empire State Building. Many movies and songs admires this building, bringing fantasies to many people. My father went to the building 30 years ago. Even though the building was built so long time ago, the meaning  and symbolism which the building possesses is still undiminished, hardened by its history. On the top of the building, I could see the whole view of New York. I also want to see the night view as well sometime later.

I’ve been to 4 different museums and each places gave me different inspirations. In the Guggenheim museum, I could see lot of artistic works of Italian Futurism. Not being satisfied to describe past and present, many artists headed by Italians started to seek and observe future area.  Through their works, I could see how artists in early 20th anticipated their next generation and struggled to create new worlds of art. New attempts are reflected in their paintings, pictures and music. Surprisingly, the future they struggled to expect was partially became realized in our current lives.

The Met(Metropolitan Museum) was the biggest museum that I’ve ever been. The scale of museum was amazing as its name shows. In Met, each different section classified as age and region showed different beauty of arts. I cannot tell which section is the most beautiful. I realized that every culture has its own beauty and every part of these has to be equally appreciated. I learned how preservation and appreciation of past tradition  is important even though the world is becoming globalized and uniformed.

In Moma(Modern art museum), every art works around the world in modern period were being exhibited. From Vincent van Gogh to Monet, I could see every famous masterpieces that I’ve only seen in the textbook when I was in middle and high school. I took a lot of photos of these works.

 

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Into the Concrete Jungle

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A few days ago I arrived in New York City and began my three week long trip. The night before the flight I was a mess of nerves, with an abundance of fears and anxieties plaguing my mind. I was afraid, afraid that I wouldn’t fit in with the group or that I would fall ill and be unable to see the city for all its chaotic beauty. I say chaotic because that is in essence what New York has felt like so far. Upon arriving in New York I felt overwhelmed by all the sights, sounds, and smells of a city full of life. This isn’t my first time in a big city, but it is my first time in New York, which is, without a doubt, a city like no other. The buildings tower over the bustling crowds and cars screeched at each other in a sort of constant chattering along with the rumbling of the subway beasts below. Everything was moving, everyone had somewhere to go and I felt lost in this chaos.

There never seems to be a moment of silence. The cliche that New York  City is the city that never sleeps has proven to be true. Even though the sun has fallen below the horizon, the city is no less alive. Neon lights replace the sun light and illuminate the busy streets of avenues such as Broadway and East 14th street. Food carts emit savory and smoky smells that tempt me to stuff my face with Italian sausage or lamb gyros. It is a shame that my stomach isn’t large enough for all this amazing looking food. I would eat like a king if I could. I have done my best though, eating typical New York food like pizza, deli sandwiches, among other delicious treats.

Along with satisfying my stomach, New York has given my eyes plenty to enjoy as well. Just by walking down the streets I have seen beautiful 20th century buildings juxtaposed with towering skyscrapers and sensed the thread that connects the old with the new. New York City is a world of contradictions: old and new, organic and geometric, pristine and grimy. All of these contradicting elements work together instead of clashing. It’s a beautiful mixture, one unlike anything I have ever seen before in the United States. The people are just as diverse as the other elements of the city. People from all over the world walk these streets, bringing with them their rich culture. Chinese, Indian, British, French, Puerto Rican, Nigerian, Italian, and many other cultures exist side by side. With all of these elements and diverse cultures, New York City is very much like a kaleidoscope. I am excited to see what else the city has to offer.

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