Archive for July, 2010

Home

Saturday, July 31st, 2010

There’s a recent trend within the youth culture in New York City which may have been growing, or might already be in full swing, but it’s bothersome either way. It’s when people who move to New York City from another city, or another town, simply refuse to say anything good about their hometown, or worse yet, find fault in hometown pride.

I was at Siren Fest a couple weeks ago, and I saw this amazing band called Screaming Females. They were an excellent band, they were from New Jersey, and they were proud of both. After the set, walking through the masses, I overheard someone complaining that “they kept mentioning they were from New Brunswick like it’s something to be proud of.” To that person, I say: so what?

There’s a lot that’s said about the wide range of people, nationalities, and cultures that can be found within New York City. Though that’s very much true, it doesn’t all come from people from other countries. A lot of the time, the uniqueness of people found in this city come from people with their hearts truly rooted in other parts of the States. New York City does not exist in a vacuum. It thrives on being a cultural sponge, soaking up what’s best from different parts of America, and feeding off of those who take pride in the land that they call home, and doing what that place does best, but in NYC.

I’ll admit, when it comes to hometown pride, I do sit in a comfortable seat. It might seem a lot easier to be proud of being from Brooklyn, NY than some place like, I don’t know, Dearborn, MI, but I’m not from there, so I wouldn’t actually know. But what I do know is that a sense of place is the most essential thing a person can have. It’s what feeds us emotionally, personally, and creatively. I mean, what would the world be like if Bruce Springsteen decided that he wasn’t proud of New Jersey? It’d be a lot worse off, I can tell you that.

Now, I’m not calling for pride of the overeager, chest-thumping nature. Nor am I telling anyone who isn’t from New York not to be happy and proud calling it their home. But there’s something about knowing where you’re from, and being proud of that, and bringing the best of it to New York City that makes it such a great place to live.

-Andrew Limbong

Get great Student Discounts!

Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!

Don’t forget to sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter for student promotions and coupons and download the coupon booklet NOW!

Share

Why Is It So Hot in the Subway?

Thursday, July 29th, 2010

image credit: blogout.justout.com

As I was listening to the news on TV while cooking my light dinner, I heard something like “there is about 105 degrees inside the subway stations in New York City.” 105 degrees the temperature there is, indeed.

An ex-camper, I love walking long distances, and I do walk whenever it is possible and not too far. Now that it is so hot in the city, walking is not as pleasant as always. And still, waiting for a train is even harder to tolerate.

Imagine: you are standing inside a station for about 10 minutes. You inhale hot air, far from being fresh, not mentioning the smell of garbage or something even worse that people, not too concerned about others, left there. Sweat is rolling down your back. Your hair is all wet and sticky. A little relieved, you see a guy selling bottled water, which seems a bit refreshing for a moment – until you ask him for the price. And you keep wondering: where the hell is the train? And also: why is it so hot in the subway?

Overheated and wet, you get on the train that finally arrives. Sitting inside, you indulge in fresh air and think, “God bless air conditioners.” However, your happiness doesn’t last long: you are slowly feeling colder and colder, as your wet clothes and hair, soaked in sweat, do not feel so good and refreshing anymore.

If you find yourself complaining about being cold now, then just get off on the next station and wait for another train in 105 degree heat. And think about other countries that do not have air conditioning either in their public transportation system or their homes, so maybe, you have really nothing to complain about.

Ekaterina Lalo

Check out my blog at www.nycvalues.blogspot.com

Share

Make New Friends and Keep the Old: Wet, Hot, New York Summer

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

This past weekend, College Girl was up in the city visiting me.  We devoted about two hours only to talking about her split with Navy Boy (after which I promptly defriended him on facebook – I am of the opinion that it’s totally appropriate for friends to hold grudges for each other when one half of the friendship is too nice to be mad on their own behalf, but I digress) and the rest of the weekend enjoying New York City in the summer.

I have no job, and all of my friends know this.  They know that my life is primarily dictated by how much money my parents are willing to give me at any given time, and seeing as how College Girl is their favorite friend of mine, they weren’t too hard to get money from for the weekend.  However, I set myself to the task of finding free things to do, and as most of us either know or are learning, there’s plenty to do in the city that’s free.  I think I’ve seen a few blogs from some of the other bloggers dedicated entirely to the city’s free events scattered throughout the summer.

Brooklyn Bridge Park and Bryant Park both have movies showing throughout the summer, sponsored by SyFy and HBO, respectively.  In Brooklyn, every Thursday you can see a movie with the sun setting on Manhattan in the background and music provided by a DJ.  Their selection is varied, from Dreamgirls to Rear Window to The Big Lebowski and I’m counting down the days until August 26th when they’ll be playing Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.   Bryant Park is showing old school Hollywood movies, with classic favorites Rosemary’s Baby and Carousel. These two parks aren’t the only places showing free movies throughout the summer, but they’re my two favorites.

College Girl got to New York via the Megabus right around noon, just in time for a day of thunderstorms.  I have this standing theory that whenever I have a visitor, the weather is going to be bad, and the rain starting just as she texted me that she was in her cab is my case and point.  We wandered around my area of East Harlem for a while, not completely out of the rain even with umbrellas, before an impromptu trip to Whole Foods for ice cream, waffles, and pie.  Let it be known that from my stop on the 6 to the Whole Foods at Union Square takes about half an hour, but it’s definitely worth it for the blueberry pie.  After that we decided on an easy night of Chinese food and “Degrassi.”  Laughing at the absurdity of a tornado warning in New York that night, we both relaxed and caught up on each other’s lives, hoping that the next day would bring nicer weather and a chance for me to show off what I’ve learned about the city from living in it on my own for a year.

One of the best things about the city in the summer, not even taking into account the free opportunities offered, is Central Park.  With that said, Central Park is the perfect place for those with few funds to hang out.  Every summer Central Park is host to Shakespeare in the Park, often boasting big name actors that love their craft so much they are willing to put on a free show.  Tickets are hard to come by, free as they are, and can be gotten through an online lottery or standing in line for hours.  Saturday was The Merchant of Venice, and as much as I enjoy Shakespeare I wasn’t that interested until I saw the name Al Pacino.   I haven’t lived in the city long enough to be  immune to the appeal of stars like him, and again, the fact that such a thing is free, blows my mind.

Central Park also has its Summer Stage, and since we were unable to get tickets to Shakespeare in the Park, College Girl and I walked around until we literally stumbled upon a crowd of people all heading to, what we soon discovered, a free performance of the  Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.  With the air cooling thanks to the sun going down, we watched the Alvin Ailey dancers with the soundtrack of live blue music in the background, and it was maybe of my favorite experiences of the city so far.

-Mary K

For great student discounts check out our website!
Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!
Share

Staycation on the Fringe

Monday, July 26th, 2010

A positive outcome of this economic recession has been a slow, but growing understanding of the art of saving money. One example of this is the increasingly popular staycation: a vacation from your normal routine all while staying in the comfort of your home without spending a fortune on a plane to ticket or a hotel room. Luckily, you’re living in a vacation capital filled with out-of-the-box entertainment options for you to enjoy on your guilt free holiday. And out-of-the-box is the perfect term to describe two of the city’s most popular annual theatre events.

The first is the NYC Fringe Festival, which is celebrating its 14th year and runs from August 13th-29th. It’s the largest multi-arts festival in North America with more than 200 companies from around the world and 1200 performances all in just two weeks. Tickets are $15 in advance, $18 at the door, and free for certain performances. What’s more is that because this is a “fringe” festival most of the shows cover a wide variety of topics that you won’t find on Broadway and use some exciting new ways to present the material on stage. Check out the NYC Fringe website for a listing of all the shows and their synopses for you to peruse.

The second event is the Midtown International Theatre Festival (MITF), which closes August 1st. The MITF is in its 11th year and unlike the NYC Fringe festival is a bit smaller and focuses more on the local Off-Off Broadway scene. However, like the NYC Fringe festival, you can expect to see something slightly off the beaten path and unconventional. Student tickets are $15, general admission is $18, and all staged readings are free of charge. I’ll be in a staged reading this Thursday of a new children’s musical called Safari’s Song and all are invited to check it out :)

So enjoy your break from work, live on the fringe, and let the staycation begin!

-Roni Tessler

Share

Make New Friends and Keep the Old: Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

After seven years of dating, Navy Boy and College Girl have ended things.  Five months into an engagement that surprised absolutely no one, the two of them called it quits quietly somewhere between New Jersey and Washington on a cross country road trip they set out on together.  I’m sure there’s a metaphor in there somewhere, them driving to Washington together and her flying home, alone.  I think that if this was a movie, she would have gone to the airport only to be stopped by him at the last moment with a grand gesture and a “Stay with me!”  But it’s not.

Navy Boy and College Girl breaking up is a difficult for me to accept as it is for a young child’s parents getting divorced.  I said it before that I don’t like change, and I really don’t.  Navy Boy is being deployed somewhere in two weeks, and I think his deployment involves being in a submarine for three months or something but I can’t remember and it’s not something I feel right asking either of them about.

The two of them were the basis of every argument I’ve ever had about things working out if you try hard enough when it comes to distance and those you love, but I think now they’re working more towards the “If you love something, let it go” end of the cliché spectrum.  My dad actually brought that saying up when he first heard about the two of them, and it’s funny to me that he would say that, that he was as invested in two kids’ relationship as much as any of their friends were.  I think, more than anyone else, my two friends know what it’s like to deal with growing up.  Both know what it’s like to sacrifice for someone you love, and to know when giving up on each other doesn’t really mean giving up on each other, but that it’s still the best thing to do even if it hurts.

College is a time for meeting new people, seeing new things, experiencing new experiences.  They’re both going to get that chance now, though in different ways, and that’s a good thing.

-Mary K

For great student discounts check out our website!
Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!
Share

Networking: the art of knowing a guy who knows a guy.

Monday, July 5th, 2010

I attended a pretty blah networking workshop the other day but managed to walk away from it with some  not-so-blah food for thought:
Networking–you can and should always be doing it. Although workshop instructors make it out to be a science, it’s really more of a life philosophy. It’s the the acknowledgment that anyone we meet at any point can take us to new and exciting places regardless of whether they help us out or we help them out.

Networking is about coming to terms with the fact that by yourself you are a pretty small entity, but with links to others, your reach is infinitely broader and your possibilities increase exponentially.

Sound good? Okay, so where do you start?

With the very next person you encounter.

It means genuinely taking an interest in the people around you without a specific end goal in mind. After all, you can’t pin point a goal until you have some information, so just go information digging. Make it your mission to keep searching until you discover something about the person that
surprises, intrigues, or excites you. Keep exploring till you hear yourself saying: “Oh! Really?” And focus on listening, asking open ended questions, and thinking of how you or someone in your network could help this person out. Introduce people to one another whenever the opportunity arises. Remember also to network with people you already now. The person who is now your physics homework buddy can also turn out to be an event planning guru or know someone who is.
So connect yourself, connect others, then reconnect–as long as it’s genuine and you are interested in the give as much as the take. Let’s make this world a more collaborative sandbox.

Get a great Student Discount!

Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!

Don’t forget to sign up for our bi-weekly newsletter for student promotions and coupons and download the coupon booklet NOW!

Share

Late Night Creations

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

written by Sabina Ashbaugh

We always substitute an egg with two tablespoons of vanilla soymilk—a slight variation that leaves the dough runny and easier to mix with the cracked wooden spoon. The timer is set for 12 minutes, not 14 as the cookbook suggests, with a reminder at the six-minute mark to switch the top and bottom trays in the oven. Despite these careful discrepancies, accumulated over countless nights, our creations are never completely predictable. We speculate whether it might be the heat of the dimly lit kitchen, and that volatile summer breeze that seeps in through the windows and seems to soften the contours of the room.
Despite our many trials, my sister and I never fully plan our baking efforts, or even carefully measure out the ingredients of our amended recipes. The soymilk substitution, now a permanent step in the cookie making process, came from a late realization that the egg carton was deceptively empty. As if to support this impulsiveness, the planned desserts baked for family dinners—the pumpkin or apple pies, the blueberry cobblers, the cinnamon buns, the madeleines—are never as good as the spontaneous endeavors to satisfy late night cravings. The immediate satisfaction of these creations quickly assuaged the worries and anxieties amassed during school or work. Tasks divided and ingredients laid out, my sister and I get to work setting right the wrongs of the day.
It has been a year now since I moved away from home. Some months have flown by while others have painstakingly inched to a close, with pangs of homesickness and late night baking cravings that seemed to arise out of nowhere. Family, a concept that had seemed so natural and tangible just a year ago, has slowly been abstracted to stand for that sense of place so radically reconfigured after leaving for school. In times of stress, I often caught myself about to call the house with a confused plea of “What should I do?”
With distance I have come to realize how often I unintentionally underappreciated this form of support. I cringe at the thought that the ease and spontaneity of those nights spent baking are a lost bridge between my sister and I—treasured memories to look back on fondly but ones impossible to recapture. And yet the removal of this crutch has also forced me to examine how I will right the wrongs of the day in my own way—not by baking, but through the careers and choices that lie ahead.
Moving away is an exciting step towards independence and deciding how and what one wants to change in the world. In the midst of so many choices, the advice offered by family is a means of grounding oneself in times of transformation. Finding a niche in college involves exploring how one will contribute to society and improve the lives of others, but it also requires the recognition of the debt owed to those at home.
Growing up compels us to accept these recipes, relationships, and plans for future change. Family rituals become memories as traditions are re-made. It is important to maintain ties with those that helped us get where we are, and continue to want to see us succeed. Helping others starts by looking out for and appreciating those at home, and paying tribute to those left behind.

Find out more about Student Discounts!

Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!

Share

Free Activities In the City!

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

written by Adam Davis

It might be tempting to stay in the office or the apartment during the hottest months, but New York City offers plenty of free summer activities that don’t involve huddling by the air conditioner.  And what better time is there to relax, meet new people, and enjoy some arts and culture?

SUMMERSTAGE
The best part of summer is Summerstage, a performing arts festival that includes dancers, singers, and even poets and novelists.  This year Summerstage is expanding to include performances in parks throughout New York City, thus making these can’t-miss shows available to people in all five boroughs.  During its 25 years, Summerstage has hosted over 1,700 notable artists and writers, including David Bowie, M.I.A., Toni Morrison, and Joni Mitchell.  This summer’s lineup consists of 91 free shows, including artists such as Dan Deacon, White Rabbits, and Public Enemy, along with a four-night concert featuring the alternative rock band Pavement.  See www.summerstage.org for specific dates and times of various shows.

NEW YORK PHILHARMONIC, OR THE “BIG FIVE.”
If you appreciate classical music, you have to check out the New York Philharmonic, or the “Big Five.”  They are the oldest orchestra in America by almost four decades and had their record-setting 14,000th concert in 2004.  During the summer, the “Big Five” perform for free at parks in all the boroughs, but most often at the Great Lawn in Central Park.  All shows begin at 8 p.m. and are followed by fireworks.  Check out http://nyphil.org/attend/summer for a full schedule.

TODAY SHOW SUMMER CONCERT SERIES
On the other hand, if Sting, Christina Aguilera, Maroon 5 and Lady Gaga are more your taste, the Today Show summer concert series offers a chance to see them for free, if you are willing to get up early enough.  The concerts are hosted at Rockefeller Center at 7 a.m. on Friday mornings, but you have to get there up to two hours earlier (depending on the popularity of the performer) to ensure you get in.  For more info, go to http://today.msnbc.msn.com and click on “Concert Series.

BRYANT PARK’S SUMMER FILM FESTIVAL
For those who look forward to summer blockbusters, Bryant Park’s Summer Film Festival shows movies—albeit classic ones—every Monday night. The lawn opens at 5 p.m. for blankets and picnicking and the films begin at dusk, usually between 8 and 9 p.m., but make sure to get there early in order to secure a good spot and enjoy some classic animated shorts. Some films scheduled to appear on the 20-foot screen this summer are Goldfinger, Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and Rosemary’s Baby.  To get a complete list of films and dates, visit
www.bryantpark.org and click on “Summer Film Festival.”

BROOKLYN FLEA MARKET
Another interesting thing to check out is the Brooklyn Flea Market, which moves outside during the summer. The flea market has recently expanded from its original venue in Fort Greene to include a second location at the Brooklyn Bridge Park.  The Brooklyn Bridge Flea Market features over 100 vendors, with antiques, jewelry, and local artwork galore. If you get hungry while browsing, feel free to sample some of the unique local foods like McClure’s Pickles, Early Bird Granola, or fresh lobster rolls from Red Hook Lobster Pound. The Brooklyn Bridge Flea starts June 14th and takes place every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  To see the latest finds, check www.brooklynflea.com.

Find out more about College Discounts!

Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!

Share

The Melody Of Unexpected Rhythm

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

written by Angela M

Illustration By Tao Zao

I grew up on Disney and nightly walks with my Russian grandparents, sunflower seeds sticking to my fingers, old lady tales dripping from my ears like borscht. I was never told not to smile at a cute Asian boy, or to repress a casual wink at a dashing Spaniard.

Maybe I was never told to not do these things because: 1) I don’t smile often, and 2) I can barely wink. Regardless, there was never any objection to multicultural friendships. Romantically speaking, though, it was never really spoken about, perhaps because it was never really expected.
My first legitimate ounce of interest in the opposite sex could have something to do with my current situation.
I was in the first grade, and his name was Timothy. He was everything I wanted in a boy. He never spoke to me; he rarely, if ever, held the staircase door open for me; and he cheated on me. I don’t know whether it counts as cheating if we were never in a relationship, but my heart was temporarily in shambles. Did I mention that Timothy was Asian? Did I also mention that I’m white and Jewish and from Brooklyn?
At 22, and not a bit less romantic than my first grade self, I find my heart taken once again (this time, in a less make-believe type of way). I am in love with a writer who just so happens to be outside of my race. Raised Muslim but not practicing, my Indian love connects himself with the folk of Jackson Heights, Queens before anything else. To sum things up, not only am I dating a fellow who’s a hundred beautiful shades darker than my pastey self, but I am also dating someone outside of my borough.
We met at a house party. His band was playing, and I later on learned that he had asked our mutual friend to invite me, since he was too shy to do it himself. The night felt like something taken out of one of those typical teenage movies where the girl seems to be playing coy, not realizing what’s going on, and the guy is fumbling over every other word, crossing his fingers that he doesn’t look as dumb as he feels. It took me half the party to realize that I was falling heavy over someone who I had never expected to come across.
Surprisingly, my mother was more accepting of my new found love than some of my friends. When I say some, I really just mean one. My Jewish friend Rebecca* was stunned to realize that I was romantically involved with someone so far from my religion. I kept it secret from her for as long as I could, afraid of the very reaction that I got. She started telling me that being a Jew meant that I was part of the chosen ones, and how keeping religion alive in my family was imperative. Basically, she made me feel like the black sheep of the herd. A day after her attack, she apologized wholeheartedly and told me that I have her full support in any decision that I make in life. (I can only imagine how Rebecca’s reaction would have been if I had confessed that I was getting married!) Just to be clear, I consider myself Jewish more in terms of culture than practice. Echoing Keats, “Love is my religion.”
In a city where love has an astigmatism and hearts beat to their own bongo, interracial coupling is more common than ever. Every way my head turns, I see it: hands of different colors holding on to each other. It’s beautiful, really. And now, I am part of it. We grew up hearing different languages being spoken at home, eating foods synonymous to our cultures, but we were also scolded by our parents for leaving cookie crumbs in our beds, and watching too many T.V. shows instead of doing our homework. Plenty of people in college date people who they didn’t expect to be with. We aren’t really all that different, though. We both love literature and writing, we listen to the same type of music, and, obviously, we both enjoy a good house party.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

Find out more about Academic Discounts!

Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!

Share

Cheap Eats Vegan

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

written by Christina Roylance

Think being a vegetarian means expensive specialty restaurants, and lots of drama when you go out to dinner with friends? Do you feel that you’ll have to be the most finicky customer of all time and waiters will hate you? This could not be further from the truth.  Living in NYC is getting easier and more enjoyable every day to be a vegetarian or vegan.  There’s tons of options, and you don’t need to drag everyone to your all-veg restaurants; there are simple ways to get cheap awesome vegetarian food by being knowledgeable about good places and keeping a few things in mind.
NYC is a mecca of different cultures and backgrounds. Ethnic foods abound in the city, and there’s often cheap, local places for whatever foreign flavor you want–Indian, Thai, Japanese, Italian, Middle Eastern, Mexican, whatever.  Many of these cuisines are sensitive to vegetarians, and can easily be requested vegan, as long as you know what to ask for.

Middle Eastern food is a great resource for vegetarians.  Falafels are cheap, vegetarian fast food sandwiches: deep fried tahini balls with hummus and veggies!  It’s a great, simple, yet filling option.  Aldiwan Lebanese restaurant is located on A if you want a sit-down Middle Eastern dinner.  It also has a great selection of vegetarian appetizers, as well as a tasty vegetarian Mousaka entrée that’s big enough for two.

At lunchtime, there’s always Indian food all-you-can-eat buffets for cheap.  Indian Taj on Bleeker has a $10 deal that’s even cheaper with a Campus Clipper Coupon.  Indian food is hearty and flavorful, and you can just ask the servers which dishes do not have any meat or cheese.  These buffets are usually huge, so there’s bound to be a selection of vegetarian things to eat.

Thai food is a personal favorite of mine.  Entrées tend to be large so you can cut the cost by splitting dishes.  There are always a great deal of vegetarian options, but just ask if there are any eggs in the dish and it’s easy enough for you to be accommodated.  Boyd Thai on Thompson has great vegetarian options, and vegan treats and desserts available as well!

Mexican cuisine is great because if that’s what you’re craving, you can either get fast and cheap take-out style places or sit down to dinner.  Vegetarian and vegan burritos are easy since you often custom order them.  With rice, beans, veggies, and guacamole, (and cheese and sour cream if you’re not a vegan) a vegetarian burrito is filling and quick.  Try grabbing one from Burritoville, and use your Campus Clipper Coupon to save $1.

Surprisingly, lots of sushi restaurants can accommodate vegetarians as well, with veggie filled sushi rolls. It is important to make sure the restaurant doesn’t use fish sauces or oils in the preparation though if you’re a strict vegetarian.  Sushi Yawa on 8th street has tons of vegetable rolls (cucumber, avocado, sweet potato, spinach, and more!), and a bunch of vegetarian appetizers as well.  Plus, everyone I know loves sushi, so non-veg friends will be happy to accompany you.

Italian food is everyone’s favorite–who doesn’t love pasta?  It just takes a few easy questions when ordering your pasta dish to know if it’s vegetarian or vegan.  Just ask if there’s meat in the sauce, request no parmesan, and ask for your food cooked with olive oil instead of butter.  Most dishes are prepared that way already, but if you just check it should be easy to make any changes.  Grotta Azzurra in Little Italy has an affordable $10 prix fixe for lunch, as well as a Thursday night ladies night, with free appetizers and half-off on drinks!

So just because you’re vegetarian or vegan doesn’t mean eating out has to be boring or expensive!  You can still eat your favorite things; just be a little conscientious and ask the right questions.  You don’t have to miss out on any great deals or fun nights out just because you have different dietary needs.  So remember to use Campus Clipper coupons to get the best deals, and be sure to experiment and have fun.

Find out more about College Discounts!

Download our NEW App on iTunes!
Become a fan on Facebook and follow us on twitter!

Share