Monday, June 29, 2009

Are There Trees in New York?

When I was looking at apartments a few months ago, one of my mother's biggest concerns was where the nearest park was (that, and the fact that the Police Department be across the street from my apartment - check!). I laughed at her of course, I mean who really cares where the closest park is? Who even goes to parks? 

I think part of the reason I never really appreciated parks was that I grew up in Florida. On the water. There were palm trees in my backyard, so I really never had to go far to feel close to nature (yes, I consider palm trees nature). Although I laughed at my silly park-seeking mother a few months ago, I now completely understand her park obsession. Not that there have been many park-friendly days since it's been monsooning pretty steadily since I moved here, but on the rare days that the sun comes out I go straight to a park.

Last summer, I lived 6 blocks from Central Park so that was my go-to park. I actually may not have even realized there were other parks in the city. While Central Park is still my favorite, I've been trying to branch out now that I live in Gramercy, a good hour walk or 20 minute subway ride from my beloved Central Park.  Here are a few of my new favorites...

Stuyvesant Square (on either side of 2nd Ave, between 15th & 17th Streets)

Washington Square Park (at the foot of 5th Ave, between Waverly Place and 4th Street)

Madison Square Park (between 23rd & 26th, 5th & Madison).

Okay, so maybe Gramercy Park shouldn't be on my list since I don't have a key to actually get inside, but I do enjoy walking past it almost every time I leave my apartment since its just a block down. Goal while living in Gramercy = to get inside the park.

According to Wikipedia, there are 1700 public parks in NYC so it looks like I have much more exploring to do. What is your favorite NYC park?

Sunday, June 28, 2009

These Are A Few Of New Yorkers' Favorite Things

Every city is known for certain food: Philadelphia has its cheesesteaks, Boston has its clam chowder, New Orleans has its crawfish. However, if I had to pick one thing New York is known for, I'd have a pretty hard time. While the most common answer would probably be pizza, there are a few other random things I've noticed New Yorkers are obsessed with.

Frozen Yogurt. I'm partial to Pinkberry, but there are thousands of places in the city that are the exact same concept. It's not that bad for you, especially when topped with fresh fruit instead of chocolate sprinkles.

Cupcakes. Of course everyone loves cupcakes, but New Yorkers seem to be particularly obsessed with them and there are fancy cupcake shops every where you look (Crumbs, Magnolia Bakery, etc.)

Bagels. I'm pretty sure people in the South don't even know what real bagels are. True story: I had friends home from school for Spring Break and they really didn't know what to do when my mom brought us home a dozen bagels (we all know Florida is more similar to New York than the South when it comes to food/just about everything).

Falafel. I'll be honest, I had my first falafel experience last night so that may be why I felt the need to include it in my list. There are stands on every corner, they're super cheap and soo good! Side note: gyros are equally as cheap and delicious. 

The list goes on, but these are a few of my favorites that I've noticed seem to be widely appreciated throughout the city. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to end this post before I try to eat my computer screen...

Saturday, June 27, 2009

One Month Down, Many More Fabulous Ones to Come

I can't believe I moved to NYC a month ago today. In some ways, that month has flown by since I've been so busy, but in other ways I feel like I've been here forever! That first whirlwind week of furniture shopping, apartment decorating, and settling into the city seems like ages ago. 

A lot of people lately have asked me how long I've been in the city, I feel weird saying a month since I feel like I've been here so much longer.  After living here last year, I knew the basics of what to expect so it was an easy transition.  Maybe that's why people are surprised when I tell them I've only been here a month - I'm not stumbling around wide-eyed, taking everything in - I've done this before.  Sure, it was only three months last summer but it made all the difference in the world. Not to mention, I've known in my heart since last summer that I would be back here after graduation so it just seems so natural for me to be living here.

It's nice finally feeling settled, and I really feel like my apartment is home. It's so tiny and cozy, I really love coming home to it and knowing that of all the crowded craziness of the city, there is a tiny little piece of it that's all mine. My internship is going great, everyone is so nice and helpful and I really feel like I've got a good handle on my accounts.  I'm having a blast exploring, going out and meeting people. I really couldn't ask for anything more right now, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world to be living the dream I wanted to live after college, as cliched as that sounds. Living in a small studio and living paycheck to paycheck may not be "the dream" most people have for post-graduation, but it's all I've wanted since last summer.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Southern Hospitality

After work on Wednesday, I got to go to my first "SEC Alumni Happy Hour," which I've heard about for months now.  I gathered up as many of my SEC friends as I could (okay, so they were all UGA or UF alums/students but I tried) and off to Soho we went.  The happy hour felt like a big tailgate, I really felt like I was back in Athens! It was so fun seeing people I knew, and got that same feeling that I have had so many times at games, home or away - the SEC is one big family, filled with love/hate relationships. Football brings a healthy amount of friendly rivalry, and there will always be trash talking between schools in the same conference, but when it comes down to it we were all just there for a good time.

This all seemed perfectly normal until I told a friend that I was going and he was confused by the whole concept... "There's a happy hour for your conference? Do other conferences have this?" It never even occurred to me until then that they probably don't. The SEC is the most fun conference to be in because it's a big social network.  Being around people who had the same traditions as I did in college made me feel right at home. Stepping into Firefly that afternoon made me feel like I stepped out of NYC and into the South! While I'm absolutely loving every minute of being in NYC, it's good to know there's a big group here to hang out with that knows the meaning of southern hospitality and won't make fun of me when I let "yall" slip out.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Always Carry a Camera, Volume II

Another week, another collection of random pictures.

I pass this every day on the way to work and really wonder how nobody has realized "mistakes" is spelled wrong.

Gramercy Park, the beautiful park right down the street from my apartment that you need a key to enter.  I'll get in there one day...

"Tiles for America," Greenwich Village.

Only in New York... clothing stores for dogs.  I guess they're getting ready for the 4th of July?

Not really sure what this means, but thought it was cool regardless.

Questionable ad for a wine company. Apparently if your small child likes it, that means it's good wine?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Twitter Does it Again

I've been contemplating all week if I should write something about the whole Twitter/CNN situation but haven't yet because I (a) just haven't had the time and (b) don't feel the need to "re-invent the blog post" so to speak, since there are so many great articles out there already (check out The Power of Twitter, written by a PepperDigital co-worker, or scan through the latest New York Times articles - there are new ones every day!).

The bottom line is that Twitter has once again made a huge impact on current affairs, and continues to beat out traditional news as a means of communication. We saw this a few months ago with the first pictures of the U.S. Airways crash being posted to Twitter before they made it to a broadcast news station. Today, Twitter once again "beat out" traditional news with the quickest updates on a story that hit close to home for me. Or should I say, close to my old home.

Having gone to the University of Georgia, I fell in love with the sweet little town of Athens over the last four years. Athens, affectionately known as "the Classic City," has an amazing downtown scene with tons of old buildings and hundreds of years of history. There are so many landmarks around the town that are well-known and loved by students and locals alike, but today there is one less.

When I woke up this morning, the first thing I did was check my e-mail, Twitter, and Facebook like I do every morning (okay, after I hit the snooze about 4 times - Fridays are rough). One of the first tweets I saw was about the Georgia Theater catching fire. WHAT?? I was immediately wide awake and began frantically searching the news for more information. (For those of you who don't know, the Georgia Theater is an old movie theater in downtown Athens that was converted into the most popular music venue in Athens, with headliners like R.E.M., Widespread Panic and other Athens legends over the years.)

I first did a Google News search to see what was going on... which gave me frustratingly few details (the theater caught fire this morning, more information to come..).  So, I posted a question to Twitter...

... and within minutes had responses from complete strangers filling me in on what had happened.  All morning, people have been posting live updates, pictures and videos.  Even now, there are few details to be found on traditional news outlets but Athenians continue to post the latest snippets of news on their Twitter feeds.  

When the U.S. Airways crash happened, people started saying that "it would only be a matter of time" before citizen journalism truly overtakes traditional media.  Where do we officially draw that line? Did it start to happen with the Twitter picture of the U.S. Airways plane down in the Hudson River? Can I say today, since I have relied solely on Twitter and have stopped bothering checking the local news sites, that Twitter has actually taken over? Or what about the situation in Iran, where citizens there can only rely on this one means of communication and all others are blocked? When will people stop saying it is "going to happen" and realize it is actually happening before our eyes?

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Just a Poor College Graduate...

It seems like there has always been a stereotype of poor college students.  You know them, they eat pizza and Ramen noodles and go to whatever bar is serving penny beer that night.  It may be a newly emerging phenomenon, but why does nobody talk about poor college graduates? I guess up until recently it has been expected that the cheap lifestyle ends once you get a diploma and make a seamless transition into a career.  

Let's be honest... how many 2009 graduates actually jumped right into a full-time position?  I have quite a few friends who did, and I'm so proud and happy for them.  But of all my friends who just graduated, a ridiculous number of them are living at home or going to grad school.  These are the options if you can't find a job: either live with your parents (I couldn't do it), incur even more debt at grad school (hellooo, why do you think we're in this mess?), or throw yourself into the real world and try to make it.

I fit into that last category.  Maybe it wasn't the smartest financial decision to move to the most expensive city in the world right after graduation, but what can I say... I'm an optimist.  And I'm determined.  I know I'll make it and one day look back on my poor college graduate days and laugh.

For now, I'm enjoying being a poor college graduate.  I'm okay with having a budget, I think it's a right of passage.  I'm 21 years old, I don't need a huge apartment with a doorman on Park Avenue.  I don't need to go out for nice meals every night and go shopping on 5th Avenue.  I happen to love my tiny studio apartment that's still barely furnished, buying groceries from Trader Joe's and looking for sample sales to buy clothes.   

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Always Carry a Camera

I said I was going to start taking more pictures of random things that catch my eye around NYC, so here are a few from the week...

One of the amazing parks right by my apartment.

The Flatiron Building, my favorite building in the whole city.

Only in NYC can people walk around this and not get strange looks.

Big Apple BBQ... good in theory, but a bit of a letdown.

Washington Square Park.

I love this, it reminds me of something from Europe.

Random festival in Washington Square Park.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No Day But Today

As I mentioned in my last post, I started a "picture of the day" blog about a month ago.  Each day, I post a picture of something I did that day or something that caught my eye.  When I started this, I figured it would just be cool to look back on in a year.  I know, without a doubt, that this first year after graduation will be the most exciting and life-changing thus far.  I'm living in a new city, interning for the summer, and for the first time paying my own rent and supporting myself the best I can (hello, 2 jobs).  I literally have no idea what I'll be doing in a year, which I'm actually really excited about for once.  Up until now, I've always known where I would be a year from the day.  Life was always dictated by what I was "supposed" to be doing... elementary school, middle school, high school, college, with some traveling, jobs and internships thrown in the mix.  For the first time ever, I have no plans, which is a great mixture of thrilling and terrifying.

Anyway, back to what I intended to write about.  Rather than something I'll look back on, my picture blog has turned into a part of every day.  Now that I have an iPhone, I find myself snapping pictures of random things I pass in the city that make me smile.  There are so many cool/funny/quirky things going on at any given moment in this crazy city, and I always end up with many pictures to choose from. 

Taking a picture every day makes me truly appreciate what I did that day.  Even those relaxing days where you do nothing but read 100 pages of Twilight and watch an entire season of Sex & the City (oh... just me that has days like that?) are special, and everyone deserves them every now and then.  It will definitely be cool to look back at the end of the year (well, May 2010) and see what I've done and where I've been, but for now I'm enjoying every day and what it has to offer... even if it's just vampires and HBO re-runs.

Monday, June 8, 2009

There IS Such a Thing As Life After College

I realized as I was posting my "picture of the day" that an entire month has passed since I graduated from college.  I can't believe how fast that month has gone by, and I really can't believe how smooth the transition has been.

For your four (or five or six, depending on who you are...) years of college, all you ever hear is, "These are the best years of your life! It's downhill from here!" Of course I loved college, and my four years in Athens were incredible.  I had a blast, met so many wonderful people and got a great education to prepare me for where I am now.  However, I truly dreaded the responsibilities of adult life because that's what I was supposed to do.  Its ingrained in your head as a college student that this is the only time you'll have true freedom, and you should want to stay a college student forever.

I have to admit, being a college graduate isn't so bad.  I'm living in a great city that I fall more and more in love with every day, I'm enjoying my internship and I'm meeting interesting new people everywhere I turn.  I even kind of enjoy the "adult" responsibilities of going to bed early on weeknights and keeping up with paying my own bills because it gives me a sense of accomplishment.  Sure, I still go out with my friends and have fun on the weekends but I'm easily settling into a routine and loving it. 

Last summer, I remember one of my co-workers telling me that she actually had more fun in her first few years out of college than she did in college.  I laughed at this silly statement at the time, but I'm actually starting to understand what she's talking about.  

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Takeover of Twitter

When I first joined Twitter back in September, I had no idea what I was getting into.  I was participating in UGA's Connect Conference which featured a "social media boot camp" and many influential speakers from the world of public relations and social media.  One of the first things everyone did was set up a Twitter account, and although I had never heard of it I quickly got the hang of it and was live tweeting the conference in no time.  And so the obsession began...

It took me a few months to really get into it, but once I started following all of my PR friends (they seemed to be the only people who knew about it) from classes I got hooked.  It was an easy way to communicate with everyone and as addicting as Facebook.  I also started following PR professionals and news services, thus turning Twitter into an educational tool as much as anything.  But while Twitter became immensely popular with the PR people I knew, my "normal" friends still had no idea what it was.  I can't begin to tell you how many times I had to explain Twitter, and even once I did I usually got blank stares or questions along the line of... "so what's the point?".  

Fast-forward to now, almost a year later.  My "normal" friends from other majors have started popping up on Twitter.  It's all over the news.  I'm even doing Twitter searches at work as part of a daily monitor.  When did Twitter become cool? My friends that didn't understand it three months ago and thought it was weird/"stalkerish" are now jumping on the bandwagon! It's funny to see these social media trends evolve, and it's even funnier to tell my previously skeptical friends, "I told you so!"

A year ago, Facebook was the hottest thing in social media with people my age, and started the "stalker" element that Twitter has continued.  Everyone has had the experience of starting to tell their friend something they did over the weekend, only to be cut off by "I know, I saw your pictures on Facebook."  Now it's not so much this as, "Yea, I saw your Tweet about that." Is Twitter becoming more popular than Facebook?

According to this article on TechCrunch, Facebook is still "worth" much more than Twitter, and therefore has a bigger following and more popularity.  However, I can't help but wonder if in a year from now Facebook will be long gone (like Livejournal... anyone remember that craze?) and Twitter will still be around.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Week 1, Accomplished

Good news first... now that I have Internet in my apartment, I can finally start posting more frequently than once a week when I go to a coffee shop that has free wifi! 

So I finished my first week of the internship, and it was great. It was a short week because we started on Tuesday, and Friday was a half day because we have "summer Fridays" where we get out early every other Friday (assuming our work is done for the day).  I'm working on some really cool accounts and they're all very different which is exactly what I had hoped for! No day is the same, and there's so much work to be done so I've been very busy.  To top it off, everyone is so nice and helpful! It's obvious that everyone in the office gets along very well, and they have a lot of fun social events (that interns are included in) so there's so much fun stuff to do.

I've been thinking of a lot of things I want to write about, so check back soon and there should be some good posts coming up!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Here I am again, borrowing Internet from Gregory's Coffee... just 5 more days until my cable and Internet get hooked up!  Aside from my lack of cable though, my apartment is really coming together.  I'm making a trip out to Ikea (my first time, I'm very excited about it) on Wednesday to get some more furniture but I'm finally done unpacking and decorating!  My parents have been asking for pictures, so I figured this would be the best place to post them.  They're a little blurry since they're from my iPhone, but they're better than nothing...

The "bedroom" ... okay, so it's a studio but I still like to pretend there are separate rooms.

The "dining room" / table that made me cry because it had to be taken apart to fit through my front door.

The "living room" ... I'm planning to put a dresser between the windows, put my TV on top of it, and have a couch across from it. 


Little pieces of Athens in the kitchen (go dawgs!).

More UGA stuff...

So that's pretty much it! It probably looks bigger than it is because of all the different wall shots, but I'm okay with it being tiny and I love it.  Having pictures of all my friends and family definitely makes it feel like home, so I'm happy! 

Tomorrow is my first day of my internship at Peppercom, I'm so excited to get started and meet everyone! Everyone I've talked to and met so far that works there has been so friendly and nice, and I know I'm going to love it.  I'll report back after my first week/whenever I have a reliable Internet connection next!