Archive for the ‘Uniqueness in NYC’ Category

Where I’ve Been: A Solo Exhibition by Christine Cha

Monday, December 9th, 2013

In this vast city that is New York, art is all around us. Whether we are observing, analyzing, criticizing, or creating, the artistic realm is always at our fingertips, and it is our choice if we want to be a part of it. As a student at The New School, I am surrounded by artists every day. No matter the focus, whether visual, musical, or written, art plays a large role in my life and in the lives of all of The New School’s students. Some of these very artists will extend their craft past the walls of the Parsons, Mannes, or Lang classrooms and develop a life revolving around their artistic passion. As an aspiring musician and writer, watching my peers establish themselves as creative beings in this bustling, competitive, overwhelming city is nothing short of miraculous and motivational. Christine Cha, a former student at Parsons School of Design, and a former intern at The Campus Clipper, has fulfilled this aspiration as a painter, as a city-dweller, as an artist.

Painting by Christine Cha

At her solo exhibition, Christine Cha displayed her works of art, which express the comparison of  the earth and the body through oil paint on canvas. Through a contrast of reds, browns, and yellows against greens and blues, an image of the abstract human form is perceived, resembling the mountainous terrain of our Earth. Her work is sensual, natural, and incredibly conceptual. With a display of ten different works, visitors at the Wix Gallery in Chelsea could view an array of Cha’s work.

Paintings by Christine Cha

Painting by Christine Cha

The experience, as a whole, was worth the trip into Chelsea from my Crown Heights apartment. In addition to the art viewing, free Brooklyn Brewery beer was available as well as free homemade empanadas. Cha also provided a variety of live music, playing softly in the background to enhance the guests’ overall viewing experience.

Live music enhanced the overall experience of the exhibition!

As a first time visitor at the Wix gallery and a first time viewer of Cha’s paintings, I was nothing short of impressed. The dedication to her craft as well as her appreciation for her followers and peers was commendable. In order to fulfill a life in the arts, a certain drive is necessary in order to succeed, a drive that Cha seems to possess. Since her time at Parsons and The Campus Clipper, Cha has motivated fellow students and created a life for herself among the other great artists in this fair city. For this, we congratulate her and wish her the best of luck in all of her future endeavors.



Daniela Bizzell, Eugene Lang College, The New School University.


Something Sweet from Across the Pond: The London Candy Co.

Monday, October 14th, 2013

I had just gotten done with my 11 AM Fiction Lit class. My brain hurt, my eyes were starting to close on their own, and I hadn’t had my coffee yet. It was one of those mornings, and it felt like it would last all day. So, I decided to escape my collegiate walls at the New School and make the short walk to Bleecker Street. A visit to the London Candy Co. might provide just the turn around I needed for this caffeine-less, homework ridden day.

Barely ten minutes went by and I was standing at the front door of a new culture entirely. Spelled out in blue, neon wire was the word “LONDON,” and with a quick glance inside, no further explanation was needed. The store was so colorful! Decked out with bright reds and blues, everything seemed lit up and fun. The shop itself was filled—absolutely, floor to ceiling, filled—with everything and anything English. Don’t be deceived by the title of the store: while there was just about every piece of English candy I could ever imagine, The London Candy Co. is so much more than an ordinary candy shop.

Ready to enter an English candy paradise!

Wall to wall English treats!

Howie, the incredibly friendly manager, who walked me through the ins and outs of the Candy Co, likes to think of this hidden West Village gem more as a British convenience store. “What’s different is that no one else sells this much of a range, we have more stuff than shops you’ll find in England. There’s just so much to offer.” And he isn’t kidding. At a glance, I saw chocolate, gummies, chips (or as the English say, “crisps”) candy bars, mallomars, or the English equivalent, an assortment of English beverages, gift boxes of sweets, and English greeting cards as well as calendars and the like. In addition, this candy/convenience/ English awesomeness store carries Stumptown coffee—they even have cold brew, both a French Roast and a House Blend, on draft, something I’ve never even seen in my multiple years living in New York. As said before, this was at first glance, and I was impressed.

Give your someone sweet, something sweet!

If the actual products of the store weren’t enough, the staff on hand were extremely friendly, helpful, knew their customers, and knew their supply. It was nothing but smiles from the moment I walked in and why shouldn’t there be, we were surrounded by European chocolate! But Howie does prove a point as to why the staff are so lighthearted, “People get excited to come into the store. There’s always positive energy, you don’t get many frowns, always smiles. People are happy to be here and we share that as well, we provide that.”

Meet the gents at The London Candy Co!

And this is what helps to make The London Candy Co. unique. No one does exactly what they do with the attitude in which they do it. Plus, let’s be honest, there can never be too much chocolate. Howie gave me the low down on some of the best and most popular items in the store, including his personal favorites. First was the Cadbury Flake Bar, a chocolate bar with ribbons of deliciousness inside. Then I learned one of the most popular chocolate bars is the Cadbury Crunchie bar: chocolate on the outside, with a honeycomb and toffee center. Howie’s personal favorite happens to be the Galaxy Chocolate, creamier than Cadbury with a crunchy cookie inside. The shop also has a variety of “higher end” chocolate, for those with a more “advanced pallet,” such as Willie’s cacao. In fact, The London Candy Co is the only store in America to even sell Willie’s.

Like I said though, the store has much more than chocolate. Known for their Maynard’s wine gums, jelly babies, unique flavored crisps, such as T-Bone steak, full line of beverages, such as Irnbru—as Howie describes a drink that resembles liquid bubble gum—and so much more, one could spend hours in The London Candy Co and still find new items that tickle their fancy. Whether we Americans like it or not we’re all Anglophiles at heart, infatuated by the accent, the customs, and of course the divine chocolate. Indulging on our curiosity of English culture is definitely worth doing, especially if the indulgence is spent at the Candy Co.

I think the photo explains itself.

Upon leaving, Howie filled up a fresh cup of iced coffee, on draft, and handed me a palm size treat, wrapped in red foil. Only 50 cents at the Candy Co, Howie claims that this is one of the simplest, most amazing treats they have—a Tunnock’s Mallow. Basically, an American mallomar-turned-Brit. I thanked everyone for their hospitality and made my way back to school to prepare for my 2 o’clock class. Sitting in the New School Café, I unwrapped this chocolate treat and dove in. Even as a writing student, I find it difficult to put into words how heavenly this simple English sweet truly was. Coated in silky European chocolate and stuffed with fluffy marshmallow, I felt I could take on the day. Matched with some of the best coffee New York has to offer, my trip to The London Candy Co was not only a sweet escape to an English haven, but it was a much needed pick-me-up for the hectic day ahead of me.

Everyone NEEDS to try one of these--delish!



Daniela Bizzell, Eugene Lang College, The New School University.

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The High Line

Friday, September 20th, 2013

Looking for something free to do in Manhattan?  We recommend checking out the Chelsea High Line.  You can easily walk the entire park in less than 45 minutes — that is, if you don’t want to sit and read a book or take photos along the scenic pathway.

The High Line, now one of NYC’s great urban parks, used to be a dilapidated historic railroad.  Once used for the commerce and distribution of  meat, milk, and produce,  the historic infrastructure became a voided space in Manhattan in 1980 as the last train delivered frozen turkeys to Greenwich Village.

Since 1980, the elevated railroad was left to natural forces and was devoured by New York’s wild plants and vegetation.  Diller Scofidio + Renfro, the architects who designed the renovation and reuse of the High Line in 2003, wanted to incorporate the wild plants  into the renovation design.  The intentionality of preserving the wild plants lead to the final re-use design of a public park.  While walking in the park, one can still see the original train tracks amongst the wild trees, grasses, and flowers.

The High Line at 14th Street

Since it’s opening in 2009, The High Line has been made itself accessible to the public in three phases; the third and final phase will be opened in 2014.  Right now, the High Line stretches from West 30th Street to Gansevoort Street along 10th Avenue.  We recommend walking the entire Highline from from West 30th and 10th Ave down into Greenwich Village.  This is a fantastic way to clear your mind and enjoy the last bit of summer!

After the walk, why not pick up a bubble tea on your way back to school?  Be sure to get your discount by using this coupon —


Eliza Moore, Brooklyn College

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Spoken Word

Wednesday, September 11th, 2013

No matter how many years pass by, my initial assumption that beginning a new academic year will start of easy always seems to prove itself wrong.  I always seem to anticipate that the first class will be dedicated to playing a name-game as a means to ‘ease’ me and my fellow classmates into a new semester.  We have all played them — games in which a student tells a little about himself or herself and then listens to other students and faculty try to describe themselves — they are often contrived, witty, and awkward.  In the past, name-games have usually aided the possibility to zone-out for the first week or two of the academic semester.

I’ve always hated name-games; this past week, I gave huge sigh of relief when the professor said that instead of playing another name game, she was going to assign each of us a passage of William Carlos Williams’ “Spring and All” to read out loud in class.

You ask yourself, how reading out loud to the class could be better than a name-game?  But my fellow student, it is!

Reading poetry out loud in front of a bunch of strangers could seem daunting unto itself, but in my humble opinion, it is a more productive exercise to really learn about everybody in the class in comparison to a contrived name-game.  In fact, one of my professors once said that reading out loud “is like getting naked in front of everyone…”   This analogy couldn’t be any more precise.

Sure, you might embarrass yourself: you could mispronounce “ignominious,”  you might read a meaning that wasn’t intentionally structured in the original poem, you might just freeze up and panic and not be able to say anything at all,  but this is all apart of the awareness that manifests while reading out loud, in particular, reading poetry out loud.

If you are one of the lucky-ones to be able to take it easy the first few weeks of the semester, I would recommend finding one of many venues in NYC that hold some sort of an “open mic” or “speak easy night.”  These poetry spots are usually free of charge and are a great space to be exposed to an underground-sort-of-assembly where an exchange of radical ideas truly manifests itself.

Calendars for spoken words are easy to find online; but the best venues are the ones that you stumble upon while walking down the street.  If you have a favorite place to hear and participate in poetry readings, be sure to comment below.


Eliza Moore, Brooklyn College

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The Things I Miss The Most

Thursday, September 5th, 2013

I’ve been out of New York City for almost a week now (with many more to go), and I’ve realized I miss a lot of things I wasn’t expecting.


My college is pretty much in the middle of nowhere, so the only thing you hear is students talking, partying, playing their instruments. And crickets. I honestly miss the sound of people going places, the subway rumbling beneath the sidewalk and the soles of other New Yorkers’ shoes scurrying off to start their days. I miss being able to hear the fireworks from Coney Island (every Friday night until autumn hits) from my house. I miss the constant buzz of excitement, the sense that things are always happening.

Coney Island


 There is an amazing street artist of the name De La Vega that puts his creative stamp on the city. The first time I saw his work was on the sidewalk by my high school, on the Upper East Side. It was a very simplistic chalk drawing of a fish with the words: BECOME YOUR DREAM written in bold letters.


I know this probably sounds weird, but when you have to eat all your meals in a single dining hall, you realize how unique NYC food is. While I do miss the bagels and the pizza, one of things I miss the most is actually all the stores that sell only one item. S’MAC (East 33rd Street or East 12th Street), for example, sells only mac and cheese. (I promise it will be the best mac and cheese you’ve ever tasted.) Wafels & Dinges (trucks located around the city, one stationary cart on the Great Lawn in Central Park, new café in the East Village) sells only waffles with a variety of delicious toppings to smother them in. If you’ve never tried a Liége wafel with spekuloos, you haven’t really lived. And, my personal favorite, Pommes Frites (2nd Ave between 7th and St. Mark’s) serves only french fries with a menu full of interesting and strange sauces to dip them in (try the pomegranate teriyaki mayo, one of the best/weirdest). Savor these!


I’ve visited cities with subway stations that are clearly cleaner than the ones we have in New York City. But none have been more creative or alive. A lot of the street performers/musicians are actually painfully talented in the way only the undiscovered can be. But people set aside, the stations themselves have a lot of personality. On the NQR train platform at Herald Square, for example, there are green pipes that hang from the ceilings. If you put your hands over different holes, different sounds come out. Just a little something fun to do while waiting for the train. My favorite of these stations is, of course, Grand Central. But not for the constellation-covered ceiling or the analog clocks or even the shops. I love Grand Central for the whisper gallery. There are four columns, and when you speak into one of them, the person standing at the opposite column can hear what you say.

Whisper Gallery, Grand Central


As intimidating as the MTA subway and bus system may seem, you will eventually learn to navigate them like a native. I really miss being able to hop on a train and go anywhere, all by myself. (Up in Vermont, where I am, I have to rely on friends with cars.)


The benches in Central Park have the most lovely, funny, and witty engravings on them. These are for and by your fellow New Yorkers. Read them all.

Central Park, Upper West Side



Katie Yee, Bennington College

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A Look Inside Vada Spa and College Discounts for Students

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2013

First-time-spa-user here. I’m not really one to make a big fuss over nothing, even crazy college savings,  but I have to say– there are certain things you must try in life, and one of them is getting a professional massage. This is a level of pampering that will absolutely erase your bad day, and the Vada Spa employees go well out of their ways to make sure you leave feeling like royalty. I want to take a minute and describe my trip to you.

Vada Spa, located in downtown Manhattan, is committed to excellent service that is affordable and accessible to anyone. It has two floors: the nail salon on ground level and the hair salon and spa upstairs. When I walked in to make the appointment, I was greeted warmly at the front desk, and was even offered a glass of wine to sip on while I waited for massage. (I mean how classy is that? That’s what I mean when I say they go the extra mile.) I decided I’d get a manicure before my appointment, so I picked out a pale pink Essie color and took a seat at table right away. The woman who did my nails was extremely thorough when she was prepping them, and very neat with the polish itself. I learned that all of Vada Spa’s employees all had at least five years of experience before coming there, and anyone who’s ever gotten a messy manicure knows that this really makes a huge difference.

When I was finished drying my nails, it was time to get my massage. My masseuse came to meet me at the front desk. He introduced himself as Tibor and then escorted me to the spa on the second level. It looked as though there were about four or five separate massage rooms on this floor. My room was dimly lit as if by candlelight, and there was soft music playing in the background; it was easy to get comfortable there. The massage itself was one of the most relaxing experiences I’ve ever had, both mentally and physically. It’s funny how you have no idea how tense your muscles are until someone works out all the knots. I’d had backrubs before just from friends, but this is on a completely different level. By the end of it I was so relaxed that I didn’t want to get up– I couldn’t believe an hour had gone by!

This is one experience I’d like to repeat. Those of you who’ve had massages before, you know exactly what I mean! Those who haven’t? Well, you’ll just have to take a trip to Vada Spa!

Check out this college discount before going!


Laura DeFrancisci, Manhattan College. Check out my Blog!

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The Brooklyn Book Festival

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

September is the best month to be a book-lover in New York City.

I discovered this last year, when I had just started interning for a Brooklyn-based literary magazine, The Coffin Factory. As a member of the team, I was asked to go out to the Brooklyn Book Festival, an annual celebration of all things literary. ( ) It’s the perfect place to be, whether you’re an aspiring writer, an avid reader, or just a college student looking for something interesting to fill your time with.


The editors of The Coffin Factory at the Brooklyn Book Festival

The festival itself takes place on one Saturday (this year it’s September 22 from 10am – 6pm). However, there are a plethora of free literary events hosted by various members of the New York City literary scene for the entire week leading up to the big event.

Last year, The Coffin Factory hosted a panel entitled “Who Gives a Sh*t About Literary Magazines?” with editors from Granta, Tin House, and The Paris Review discussing their opinions on literary culture, readership, and the future of print magazines. I remember sitting at the back of the independent bookstore (Book Court) where the event was held and thinking that it was wonderful that such a thing could exist and that so many people cared enough to come. I guess a lot of people give a sh*t about literary magazines after all.

The events prior to the actual festival are always fun, engaging, and sometimes intimate enough to get to talk to the hosts afterwards. There are pretty much always opportunities to win free print issues or subscriptions, and most importantly, you get the chance to be a part of the conversation.

The festival itself is like a maze, with booths for popular publishing houses and lesser-known literary magazines alike. The event welcomes people from all aspects of the literary community, from all over the world. You never know what you’re going to find there. Maybe you’ll strike up an interesting conversation with the staff of your favorite Saturday-morning-read; maybe you’ll stumble upon an internship opportunity. Or maybe you’ll discover a writer or a magazine you’ve never heard of and fall irrevocably in love.

Because that’s what the Brooklyn Book Festival does: somehow, every year, it beckons to people from all different walks of life and manages to coax them out of whatever chaos they are in the midst of. It manages to swallow them completely for one week or weekend out of the year and get them all down to Brooklyn Borough Hall. And when they emerge from the Court Street subway station, they will inhale the distinctive but subtle scent of a good book, hear snippets of conversations revolving around their favorite writers, and see stacks of polished pages awaiting them.


Katie Yee, Bennington College

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Stay Strong & Carry On (and get some college discounts while you’re at it!)

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

There was a story not too long ago about how a kid in NYC licked an entire handrail at the entrance of the subway for a dollar. It may be advised to lick a toilet seat instead. Each subway car can hold about 240 people at one time, both sitting and standing. With every stop, the pole exchanges owners.  With every breath, the air changes just a little. Wrap your hand around the pole, lean your tired back against the doors that say “Do Not Lean” and you are automatically in contact with a million other people.

I must say, its important not to become that crazy lady who carries a yoga mat everywhere just so she can sit on the train, or the man who wears gloves in a hot subway car just to avoid direct contact with the pole.

One way to solve the problem of germs on subways is to master the skateboard stance. The way to do this is to stay free of anything that would support you from falling. Comfort obviously does not come first. You must learn to balance on your own two feet during the fast and sometimes bumpy ride. This might be a bit hard when you are carrying a heavy bag and some sketches under your arm, but it’s worth a shot.  Maybe it’s your hidden talent!

The second thing you can do is to lean against the door with your book-bag (if you wear one). That way, you get support without actually having your body touch anything. You should keep in mind the safety issues that come with leaning against the subway door. After all, the ‘Do Not Lean’ sign is there for a reason, but let’s be honest everyone leans on the doors, you just have to stay awake for the duration of your ride. Remain alert and make sure to not lean on the door too much so that you don’t fall out when the subway stops and the doors open. It’s not so hard when you get the hang of it.

In addition, keep the germs in mind when you plan your outfit for the day. If you plan to wear a skirt, it would be advised not to sit on the subway. Walking up and down the stairs during transfers is a hassle on its own, but doing it in a skirt is even worse. Plan ahead and wear some boy-shorts under to avoid any mishaps, especially if you know you will be tight on time.

Try as you might, it is inevitable that you will end up touching something on the subway, to keep your balance at the very least. So just make sure to carry hand sanitizer with you and avoid touching your face while on the subway, just in case. Now that you know the ins and outs to how to ride the subway, go to Cuba, a restaurant on Thompson street for a Campus Clipper discount!

Bon Voyage!


Sofia Khiskiadze, Baruch College.

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Interactive Art Exhibitions at the MoMA: The Rain Room and “Blood-Splattered” by Imran Qureshi

Thursday, June 27th, 2013

From the staging of free concerts to the screening of films in various parks, the onset of the summer has been replete with stimulating, cultural occurrences. In addition to the former and the latter happenings, the months of May and June have also been marked by a proliferation of ground-breaking interactive art exhibitions. Within this grouping, a wide breadth of acclaim has been allocated to MoMA’s Rain Room installation – a breathtaking exhibition wherein motion sensors allow participants to activate streams of simulated rain through bodily movement. Bringing recent technological developments and human movement into a fluid parlance, MoMA’s Rain Room installation allows its participants to transpose the most pristine and malleable of the four elements into graceful, cascading fugues.

 As with the Rain Room, Imran Qureshi’s “Blood-Splattered” installation – situated on the roof of MoMA’s main building – represents one of the most ineliminable artistic experiences of 2013. From an initial exposure to Qureshi’s work, the macabre hue that constitutes “Blood-Splattered” has led many visitors to testify that an initial exposure to Qureshi’s style is both highly provocative, as well as singular in its treatment of violence and mortality.

 According to Qureshi, the composition of “Blood-Splattered” stemmed from a desire to address the  psychological trammels that have resulted from recent events, from the Boston marathon bombing to terrorist actions and infighting in the Near East. Rather than attempting to justify these wide-ranging occurrences, Qureshi in “Blood-Splattered” seeks to impart a sense of consolation to those who have undergone them through the modicum of painting.

 Even in the absence of this background information, it is clear that Qureshi’s intention in “Blood-Splattered” is to transcend the concept of mortality by bringing it into dialogue its direct antithesis: that of resuscitation. Emerging from the stark matter that composes the work, the vivid forms of foliage, wings, and feathers come to attain an ever-clearer distinction in the viewer’s mind. As many visitors have testified, the contemplation of Quershi’s wondrous work before the wide expanse of Central Park is a testament to the beauty and the incorruptibility of life.

For students that express a desire to witness art that is exceptional in its formal qualities, or for those that merely wish to wile away the afternoon hours in a calm and meditative setting, a visit to Qureshi’s “Blood-Splattered” exhibition is highly recommended. Remember to present your Student ID to gain free admission to MoMA, as well as other cultural institutions in the New York City area. Stay tuned for more museum-related postings in the near future!


Pietro Crotti, New York University. Check out my Twitter!

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Overhearing or Oversharing?

Friday, April 20th, 2012

One of the greatest things (which also may be it biggest flaw) about New York City is that it is full of many different kinds of people. Maybe it’s the loud cacophony of vehicles and conversations, we cannot deny how the city is just inherently full of loud people. While not intended, we have all come across a situation where we may have overheard a conversation someone else was having with their friends, perhaps on the phone, or maybe even with themselves.

Nevertheless, even though we are trying to sleep on a train and hearing the murmuring of our neighbors makes us create our own threatening murmurs in our head, sometimes you come across interesting conversations.

Last week, I was on the train, coming home late at night from a class, and had the lovely luck of sitting next to a big man eating burgers and talking loudly to anyone who would hear. While I usually ignore people on the train, I could not help but hear and listen to what he was sharing. He talked about a woman who he considered the only person he could trust and that he no longer travels to a certain area because a fight broke out and he got shot there. Even if it was just the tall tale of a man desperately seeking attention, it was interesting and slowly I transformed the story he told to the train inhabitants into a movie in my mind.

He began getting repetitive but then he mumbled how you can’t trust anyone and how nowadays people aren’t afraid to backstab you and shoot you without remorse.

Yes, very morbid things I overheard, or maybe he was just oversharing, but it depends on how you look at it. Here was a man who had learned a very harsh lesson and was telling it to anyone who could hear. In one train ride I learned a personal secret and lesson from a complete stranger.

Ending note? Listen to others and what they say. You don’t have to intently listen in to strange homeless men but don’t reject a person’s words right away as soon as they seem a little crazy. Take their words with a grain of salt because it is how you view the world that changes how the world affects you.

But not everything you overhear  has to be morbid. In a complete change of tone, Overhead Everywhere is a hilarious site containing overheard conversations all over the country. It has mature language and content but all in all, I find myself skimming through these pages for a good laugh every so often.

If only when I went out, I could keep track of things I overhear. It’d make great fodder for stories or sharing with friends. You could use your money to get a digital recorder or even simpler get a fancy notebook with a student discount at  an art store.

The possibilities are endless when your ideas come from crazy New Yorkers.

Sophia, Rochester Institute of Technology

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