Wabash Blogs New York 2006 Immersion Trip

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Day 3: Native New Yorkers

Joshua Owens
New York has proved to be an amazing place. So far I have been blown away by the diversity of the city. You hear and read about it, but really each neighborhood is completely different from the others and the make up of all these various areas is unique.

One of the things I was most looking forward to when coming to New York was eating. On Monday we interviewed a native New Yorker about her feelings on the city and her perspective from a lifetime spent in New York.

Afterwards, four of us headed down 8th Avenue looking for a place to eat. We happened across Azucar Restaurant, a Cuban eatery in between an Italian restaurant and a diner. The food was amazing. We all ordered different meals and each one of us said that it was the best food so far on the trip. To date, we have eaten at a BBQ, a diner, a pizzeria, a Cuban restaurant, the infamous bagel shop, and a Vietnamese restaurant. This is like a dream come true for anyone that loves food.

I’ll wrap up by noting something else from the day. We had the privilege of interviewing a native New Yorker and editors from both GQ and Entertainment Weekly magazines.

In these interviews a question came up that we actually talked about earlier in our Cuban feast. Who controls who in New York? A picture cannot explain the sensory overload experienced when walking in Times Square. There are advertisements all over the place, so much so that I am sure any one individual ad has no effect on a consumer at all. The magazines also help in promoting this.

Looking through the latest issue of GQ proves this. This brings me to the observation of who is in control, the consumer or the “ad wizard”? Do the magazines reflect the consumers’ feelings on a particular movie, fashion, or award, or do the structure the consumers’ feelings on these issues? Who decides what is young and hip and is that in line with what people really think? Better yet, do people even question this? When walking in midtown New York it really hit me that this city revolves around itself but in that controls what everyone else thinks about much of pop culture and the world today. I guess it is always a good topic of conversation over a great meal.

Joe Martin
During the day the city is very busy, people loading up on the buses and trains to get to one side of the city to another. As you walk down the street there are street vendors trying to sell you everything from hot dogs and pretzels to purses and “Rolex’s.” At night however, the city transforms into another kind a busy. People are no longer rushing to get

to work or from one shop to another, rather they are loading up on trains to go to different clubs and restaurants. The city’s bright lights illuminate the sky; there are so many options we have no idea where to start. On Sunday night a group of us decided to wander around and explore the city nightlife. As many great journeys begin we started out by wandering around with no particular destination in mind. After a long walk and a short train ride we ended up in Times Square. We continued our way north and saw the bright lights of BB King’s Jazz Club.

It did not take long for us to agree that we wanted to listen to some good live music in the big city. When we walked in the club was dead, the band was on a set break and the crowd was thin, even for a Sunday night. When the band finally started playing again he asked us where we were from (no matter how hard we try to fit into the “New York” mentality, we cannot help but look like a bunch of kids from the Midwest). As soon as we said that we were from Indiana the table across the dance floor shouted “We’re from Texas!” We look over and see a group of women from Houston who were living it up in their week in NYC. Not being one to shy away from the company of beautiful women I went up and introduced myself. To my surprise they were much older than I thought, but were still extremely friendly. After an hour of talking up their daughters to me and taking me out on the dance floor it was time to say goodbye. Needless to say my first New York City experience was one I will remember forever…and if you’re reading this Diane, call me.