The Macaulay seminars have always been about our city and its different dynamics that makes it unique. This seminar however, was unique in its own way because it allowed us not only to learn, but to also shape our knowledge in ways to actually be involved in the city. The ‘Shaping Future of NY’ Seminar was about empowering ourselves as citizens and learning about our surroundings in order to be part of the change. This was an amazing way of ending the seminars. Though we spoke about the past and the present, we are all working on projects that will shape the future and prevent mistakes done in the past to be repeated again. I enjoyed every single topic discussed in this seminar (and found none of them useless or confusing towards the seminar goal) and I am glad to have learned so much that will influence my critical thinking, writing skills and morality as a citizen of New York.


In terms of preparing me and my group for the presentation, doing in-class presentations provided a great deal of help. We were able to condense our presentation into ten minutes, and be able to deliver a concise yet thorough explanation of our project. Through getting critiques from our peers, we were able to hone down on our issues in the presentation, and anticipate these same questions that will be asked by the moderators at the presentation. Anticipating counterarguments helped us to shape our argument, and answer the questions that were asked to us with ease and confidence. If me and my group can do the presentation over, we would try a bit harder to stay right on time

Feedback we received centered around focusing on how the public would interfere in the gentrification cycle. It allowed us to see a more clear approach must be given in terms of explaining the role of the residents of Long Island City. Feedback to other groups considered hyper-focusing on the role of education to help the residents of the city. This helped us consider future implications of bettering our research proposal.

Thought provoking ideas that other groups’ research projects centered around was the idea of opening a university to increase self-sufficiency in Red Hook. This would increase apartment buildings that can be afforded by college students, and younger adults. The influx of a university may also bring on a slew of restaurants, cafes, and more commercial businesses. I would give advice to future Seminar 4 students to focus more on a broad view of bettering the future of New York City, and make sure to be thinking of this idea each time you do a lesson during the seminar class. Takeaways from the conference and the experience, I personally feel, should be more centered together. Conferences of this sort allow Macaulay students to meet each other, but this conference did not allow for that. It would have been better to have a conference that was similar to Seminar 3, in which we propped our posters / presentations on display for all the Macaulay students to walk around. Upon a moderator’s request, we may be able to present to them. This would allow us to see and meet more students’ presentations, as this conference mainly sectioned us off into separate rooms to present to a small number of individuals.

This class, however, proved to be extremely insightful and one of my favorite seminar classes. It allowed us to see the city we live in, and decipher the movements behind who truly holds the power in this gentrification era we are prospering in. We are able to see the economic and political aspects of the leaders behind the cycle. This seminar will allow me to utilize the concepts and principles I have learned in the outside world, and inspect the workings of the political and economic background behind the zoning and urban planning changes made in the city.

Reflection- Common Event Seminar 4

As a second semester sophomore at the Macaulay Honors College here at BC, this is my fourth Macaulay Common Event. I can definitely say I felt the most prepared for this event and most comfortable with this presentation, even though it seemed to be the most “intense” one compared to the previous events. What really helped me (and my group) in terms of preparing for the presentation was practicing in front of an audience. Practicing the presentation in class and constantly editing it was a big help. Writing a script was very helpful as well. Although, we didn’t follow a script exactly, writing out and discussing what everyone was going to say using parallel language was very helpful. Feedback regarding presentation style was particularly helpful because I feel like that was our biggest weakness when we were starting of.

All of the presentations were very interesting. Particularly, I liked how many of the presentations had very specific targeted solutions down to what NYC department should make what changes. I also liked how although there was a similar theme in each room, there was variety in the presentations we heard. It was interesting to see how every topic on bettering the city was so interconnected. The coordinator in the room asked very good questions. They were difficult questions, but the kinds that really provoked thought and discussion, which I think this event was all about. The only criticism I have is that I wish that the coordinator would’ve spoke more about her experiences and  background and that there were more adults working in relevant fields present. I think this would facilitate even more discussion and would take the projects a step further.

If I had to give advice regarding the common event to future Seminar 4 students, I would say to tailor the presentation to bettering our city. Furthermore, to be excited about this presentation instead of dreading it. It’s really not an environment where students should be worried and tense. Instead, it’s more about being proud of a solution you’re proposing to a problem that is relevant and significant, but at the same time being open and dynamic because all of these problems are incredibly complicated and an easy cookie cutter solution doesn’t necessarily exist. In this advice also lies my key take away from the conference and the ultimate experience I had. This was truly a learning experience and a realization that NYC is a vigorous city. There are many great things about NYC, but it is also very problematic. NYC belongs to all of us and as the rising generation, the future of NYC is in our hands with both the good and the bad. Fixing the bad is evidently much more complicated than I imagined before learning all the pertinent information during this seminar. However, the challenge doesn’t scare me or drive me away; instead, it pushes me to be more creative, and I really think that there is a lot of hope in the future of our city (especially with all of the great ideas I heard during the conference).  Ultimately, I had a great experience and am proud of our project and everyone else’s. I am excited to see some of our potential solutions be implemented decades down the line. With that, I’d like to extend a great thank you to Alexis, Professor Alonso, my group-mates and the whole class!