Author Archives: Rishi Ajmera

Posts by Rishi Ajmera


Having never been to the Opera before, I’m at the disadvantage of being unable to compare Carmen to any previous experiences. The show first hit the opera stage in 1875 and has transformed every year since. As social boundaries were pushed further, directors allowed for more scandalous seduction on the part of the actresses playing Carmen, in this case Anita Rachvelishvili. As it was my first time, I wanted to put a focus on each individual feature of the show that stood out to me.

The opera is different from Broadway for many reasons, mainly the constant singing and the fact that it isn’t actually anywhere near Broadway. However, the reason I was remembering my experiences at several Broadway theaters was because of the extravagant set at the Metropolitan Opera. The massive pillars that served as reminders of Seville, Spain were beautiful in there ability to create an archaic beauty as well as supplement the strength of the military soldiers that were marching around the stage. The dull colors helped compliment the intended effect of the cigarette factory as well as the obviously tragic storyline.

Credits to The Metropolitan Opera

Credits to The Metropolitan Opera

From literally the last row of the Metropolitan Opera, it was far more difficult to visualize and appreciate the costume design of the cast, yet a pair of binoculars seemed to fix that obstacle. The costumes did their job of describing how the cast was to be seen, yet I didn’t see anything special in each individual character. I hoped to see something distinguishing Don Jose or something evoking sympathy for Micaëla. Since the story was set in much simpler times, it made sense to see Carmen’s more conservative clothing and she did a great job of bringing that seductive and scandalous attitude on her own.

I saw the acting as a roller coaster, with certain ups and certain downs (for the most part “up” though). For the most part, each individual character did a great job of evoking an emotion from the audience, whether it be sorrow, humor, or anger. However, at times the show seemed to be stretched out. It could well be that the show hasn’t adapted for a modern audience, or it is trying to bring the modern audience to understand classical opera. Yet I felt that certain scenes could be much shorter. For example, the scene where Don Jose is finally set to confront, and kill, Carmen. It could have been much more compact and allowed for the audience to feel the same emotion. By the end of the scene though, I was almost happy that it was finally over. What made it worse was the terrible death scene on behalf of Anita Rachvelishvili (Carmen). She wandered on the stage after being “stabbed” and again stretched out the scene. This is an area where many of my classmates disagree, yet I feel strongly about this.

Credits to The Metropolitan Opera

Credits to The Metropolitan Opera

I were to assess this show as a whole, I can confidently say that it altered my expectation of the opera. I came in to the show thinking I was being dragged and left appreciating an evidently lost art. I still question if the show was trying to adapt to the modern audience or trying to allow the audience to understand opera and I still can’t confidently state an answer. However, I can confidently say that I am now more accepting of these lost arts that shouldn’t have vanished in the first place.


Photography Packet & Terms

Photography, like any other art, speaks to people in different ways. Interpreting that art is a different conversation and is too often discussed. These readings allowed for me to gain interest in a whole new conversation, the importance of photography. With their reasonings, two authors stood out for me. Berenice Abbott and Larry Sultan had very interesting ideologies as to why photography was appealing for them and it really stimulated my mind to understand why I wanted to pursue it as well.

Berenice Abbott was a photographer, primarily of the 1930s and 1940s. Her story sheds light on her passion for capturing the significance of her time. She acknowledges that it has become a large aspect of human life to try and capture our lives. While living through the depression and World War II, it is needless to say that the times she lived in were interesting. They served as an example of what caused her to get interested, the fact that her time was inspiring. According to Abbott, “there is no more creative medium than photography to recreate the living world of our time.” That belief strongly appealed to me, because when I take pictures and look back on those from years ago, it’s the feeling of nostalgia that pushes me. The feeling of being taken back and having a grasp on another time serves as my motivation and I really connected with Abbott on that aspect.

Larry Sultan had a far different drive, yet it interested me because of it’s refreshing take on the matter. Sultan described how he used to take pictures as a child. His father would question him when he would use thirty roles of film and only take one or two pictures. His father always asked him why he only liked such a few amount. Larry would explain that he liked most of the pictures, but he would only publish the ones that worried him. He described an event where a picture of his mother was interpreted differently by Larry and his father. The understanding of opposing messages from the same picture interested him and although it isn’t what really drives me, it definitely interested me.

Some terms for our class to keep in mind are:

Aperture- A space through which light passes in an optical or photographic instrument, esp. the variable opening by which light enters a camera

Negative- The developed film that contains a reversed tone image of the original scene

Underexposure- A condition in which too little light reaches the film, producing a thin negative, a dark slide, or a muddy-looking print

Vignetting- A condition in which too little light reaches the film, producing a thin negative, a dark slide, or a muddy-looking print

Zoom Lens- A lens in which you adjust the focal length over a wide range. In effect, this gives you lenses of many focal lengths.



Katherine Vaz

The problem with books, and literature in general, is that the author can only try to do so much with their writing to evoke an emotion that the rest is left to the reader. However, at a reading, the author is able to take full control of the situation by really putting the plot into perspective. Such was the case at Katherine Vaz’s reading of Our Lady of the Artichokes. We were on campus all day and were told to arrive sharply at 6:30. We decided it would be best to arrive ten minutes early and went on our way. We turn into the hall, facing the auditorium and the room was packed. It became harder to pay attention from the benches outside the room, yet we managed to get a good vantage point.

The first portion of the reading wasn’t actually a reading, as much as an introduction to the topic and some background information on Katherine Vaz. She came on stage and briefly advertised her new book Below the Salt, which focuses on the impact of the Civil War on a young man’s life.

What I liked about this portion was that she described her methods and techniques, which is similar to a behind the scenes peek. She explained how ideas don’t just manifest themselves in her mind, but she actually has to dig for them. It is incredibly painstaking for her to even get started but just as difficult to keep the fluidity going. It made her seem less of a figure and more human.

She went into detail into what really inspires her. Her spark comes from actually feeling something, a feeling that should take you back and appreciate where you have traveled. It was a trend that seemed to appear frequently in her works such as Our Lady of Artichokes and her coming book, Below the Salt.

Credits to Baruch

Credits to Baruch

Unfortunately, I was only able to listen to her reading for a brief amount of time before I had to leave. The reading overlapped with a religious holiday for me. However, while ending this piece, I wanted to focus on the strength of her voice in helping the text have a stronger effect on the reader.


African Art and Matisse

My idea of African art was a very basic perception of the disproportionate features of the human to their actual body size. I would remember briefly seeing heads far too small for their bodies and breasts far too large for the woman. That was merely how I remembered African art and our trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a great way for me to rediscover and understand the meaning behind the art. It served as an opportunity for me to realize that there is so much more to it than disproportionate subjects.

Our entrance into the exhibit led to a sharp understanding of what encompassed African art. It displayed the focus on specific features and aspects of life that made the pieces more appealing, and explained my previous perception of disproportionate body parts. Some pieces would have a strong emphasis on the teeth, by pushing out the jaw and creating a deep imprint around each individual tooth.

One piece that stood out to me was the Maiden Mask. As I previously mentioned, it too put an emphasis on the teeth and pushed out the jaw, however, there was so much more to its beauty. The elongated nose created a sleek feeling to it, adding some contemporary beauty, which appeals to the modern taste. There were essentially two main colors on the mask: beige and brown. Both match well and were used to appeal aesthetically. Though the main highlight of the Maiden Mask was on the elegant and intricately made headwear. The mask was a representation of woman, yet men wore it to dance with. The headwear held small little containers, which in my opinion stand as symbols of water containers which women used to carry on their heads (the museums text didn’t specify). It was so well made that when I reminded myself it was from a far older era, in a place with scarce resources, I was left speechless.

Credits to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Credits to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

After the African exhibit we went directly to the Matisse exhibit. In all honesty, I have never been a fan of French art, or European paintings in general. I see people look into the subjects and I feel sometimes they look too far and misinterpret something which should just be appreciated at face value. Now that I have made my confession, it will allow me to better explain how I saw Matisse’s work. The pieces were great, not because of the subject matter, but because of the technique. I can’t even recall some of the subjects which he attempted to portray, but the way the colors were used is still fresh in my mind. It was different from other artists, because he painted each color as a dot and constantly pressed them around the painting, making it seem as a constant stroke from far. I saw the genius when he would place colors side by side to create the illusion of another color. The work was interesting to me because I truly hadn’t seen anything like it and I wondered how revolutionary it must have been for his time. Below is an example of the style which I was referring to:

Credits to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Credits to The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Max Flatow

As this class has proved, just being in the city leads to some of the most amazing sights and stories, most of them are worth sharing. A bustling population is even more of a reason photographers find solace in the five boroughs. Fortunately, we had the opportunity to speak to such an artist.

Max Flatow, spoke to us about his experiences, his works, and his techniques. Flatow’s entry into photography serves as a clear example of his passion for the art and his dedication to success. He attended South Vermont College and was unsure of his career path, yet he wanted to pursue photography as a hobby. The school wasn’t very focused on their photography course, so their single darkroom was left locked and unused. Flatow decided to ask the supervisor for the key and he was granted full access to the room to use at his own whim and desire. This opportunity really helped him learn how to use basic equipment and set the spark in his career.

As someone looking to get into photography, Flatow’s techniques were very helpful in helping me understand how to take better pictures. He explained how he avoids using flash and instead prefers to play with the light in the room. He is a fan of natural light and manipulates it to make a more aesthetically pleasing image. Sometimes he blacks out the the subject, forming a silhouette, to bring attention to the colors of the background. He also showed us about the rule-of-thirds, where the subject is placed in a section away from the center to balance a focus with openness.

Credits to Max Flatow

Credits to Max Flatow

Flatow’s main interests remained in two key areas: weddings and food. He enjoyed working on weddings because he found that every wedding project he worked was different and a new experience. He liked food, because it’s different from human subjects and everything is still and constant. He commented on how food photography can be more challenging yet often more interesting.

As Baruch is largely a business school, I was glad to see that Flatow went on to explain the aspect of business and entrepreneurship in his past experiences. He described how he is forced to wear “the many hats” and be able to socialize, make sales, maintain contacts, and so much more. What I found most interesting was how he goes on vacations. In order to avoid any loss in business, he tries to gain clientele in the are which he’s visiting, often abroad. It was obvious that his business led to a great deal of success, with clients such as Harrison Ford, Adrian Garner, and other well known celebrities.

Credits to Max Flatow

Credits to Max Flatow


Too Much Diversity

In New York, diversity seems to be the characteristic that builds the foundation for everything else. New York is the capital and center of numerous trades and industries. What helped foster that success and still fuels it, is the variety of cultures and ideas that people have to offer. For any society to improve and progress, it must accept change and use it to advance. However, a conversation with my friend led to a very startling discovery.

My friend preferred not to be named directly when I asked him for permission, so I decided to name him Jessy. A few weeks ago, Jessy and I were walking around SoHo and we were talking about the crazy things we’ve seen on the subway. I mentioned that although the subway always smells like urine, I’ve never actually seen someone urinate. He replied, almost shockingly, saying that he’s seen in several times in Brooklyn.

I asked him, “Where in Brooklyn are you from?”

“I live pretty close to the Barclays Center,” said Jessy.

We joked for a while about how Brooklyn has the reputation for the wrong reasons (i.e. gangs). However, the conversation took an interesting turn when I asked Jessy about his own area. He told me how it isn’t that safe and mentioned that more white families are starting to come in. He said it with excitement. “I was walking down the street and I saw a new white family move onto my block and I was so happy!” said Jessy. It caught my attention because I didn’t expect Jessy, a person of hispanic descent, to want LESS diversity. His neighborhood in his opinion was too ethnic and he wanted to see it reach more of a medium level. It was an interesting experience for me, because I’ve never heard too much diversity being a problem.

Jessy says that his dream is to see the neighborhood become a “hipster” area.

The Rise and Fall of Apartheid

For those who have read my previous reviews/posts, it’s quite apparent that I appreciate chronology in any work. It adds a realistic storyline that keeps the piece coherent as well as interesting. It’s easier to follow a story than a collage and more meaningful than a single work or piece of art. International Center of Photography’s Rise and Fall of Apartheid exhibit used a chronological technique to tell the story of Apartheid in South Africa and used the chronology to manipulate the audience’s emotions.

When I entered the photography exhibit, I picked up on a few things instantly. First was the order in which the works were set up. Unlike museums or art galleries, the International Center of Photography wanted the audience to start and end in specific destinations, making the entrance to the actual exhibit very small. Other galleries will keep the layout open so that people have agency and the freedom to walk around on their own desire. Here, the work was essentially dictating the method of interpreting the work, which in my opinion made the experience that much better.

To continue, the entrance leads to the first section of a series of works. Here is where the viewer is supposed to gather background information and an idea of what life was like before the conflict surfaced. There is a poster hanging on the first wall with a list of significant dates and what major events occurred at the time. A old movie plays constantly on a small screen, incorrectly depicting the natives of South Africa as animals and cruelly poking fun at them. The section showed the foundation of the tension between two groups, as well as how their lives were separately. The natives lived peacefully, with pride in their background, while the whites preferred to stay apart from the blacks.

The work moves on to show an era of mixture and prosperity. We see minor occurrences of the two races coming together and working together. This all takes place during a period of economic progression in South Africa, a plausible reason as to why the people didn’t object as much to the races mixing. As the work makes a turn, we see the emergence of the arts and the value of creative thinking in South African society. What came across as striking was the presence of numerous native figures in these new arts.

However, the work also created an abrupt entrance into the section covering the prevalence of violence in society. The photographs often involve a strong inclusion of blood and gore to evoke a sense of empathy from the eyes of the audience. They want those looking at the photographs to understand the pain the natives were going through during Apartheid.

The second, lower level took a very different approach as compared to the first. I found that because it served numerous purposes, it let go of the concept of chronology and allowed people to walk freely.

Overall, the exhibit at the International Center of Photography was a great experience which really helped me understand and experience the events that surrounded Apartheid in South Africa.

Credits to

Credits to

One More New Yorker

For a few generations, my family has been moving from place to place, often following where business was flowing. We lived in mainland India for a long time, until Burma became an up and coming trade city. My great grandfather settled in Rangoon, Burma and had his first two children there (one of which was my grandfather). However, events took a very sharp turn in Burma and the area became a very hostile area to live in. At the time, Burma was still a part of India and there was a big effort by locals to separate and create a new country. One night, my great-grandparents took their children and snuck onto a boat and out of Burma in the middle of the night. They came to Jaipur, India where my family has been for several years and where I visit once a year.

In Jaipur, my father was born and raised and he even took in the family business: gem stones. When my great-grandfather came here, he started a gem stone business which my grandfather inherited and passed onto my father. At an early age, my father was forced to travel to Europe, Hong Kong, Bangkok and even the United States to help my grandfather do business. I specifically use the word “forced” because India then was much more isolated from outside society than it is now. To my father, familiarity was key and being home was most important. Going abroad was never as convenient as it is now because the language barriers were much stronger (since English wasn’t as widely spoken as today), communication with home was incredibly more difficult, and it wasn’t as convenient to travel.

However, with business booming, my father was forced to move abroad. My grandfather had several offices set up in New York, Bangkok, and Hong Kong and he needed people to go and manage them. My dad was one of them and he already knew he couldn’t live in Bangkok and Hong Kong. Many of his friends were moving to the states so it was the only option worth considering; however he didn’t want to even consider it. As I mentioned before, familiarity was key in India and still much hasn’t changed, which is why the decision proved to be so difficult for my father. He was ultimately allowed to postpone his decision, for a brief amount of time, because his cousin was moving to New York then. My grandfather and father came to an agreement that they would send him for short trips and if he really found it unmanageable, then he could stay in Jaipur. Until then, my dad would spend brief business trips in New York, living with my Uncle.

My dad finally came to New York and fell in love with the city instantly- any other response would have been shocking. He was able to manage life here just fine, and even found a great place of belonging amongst his friends that moved to the city from India. He realized that he wouldn’t find it completely easy living so far away from home but seeing that it wasn’t as difficult as he imagined and that someone needed to manage the New York office, he agreed.

However, what was going on during his constant trips to and from New York was that he met my mother in Jaipur. They met, got to know each other, and eventually decided to get married. However, if my dad was traveling throughout his life and was still reluctant to move, my mom had no intention of leaving her home city. She grew up in Jaipur and was even more confined than my father. Her trips were only outside of the city and to different parts of India, yet she became homesick very fast. To her, moving abroad was a ridiculous idea and to this day she doesn’t know how she managed to agree. When I ask her if she would have preferred to stay she immediately answers with a “YES!” It’s not that she doesn’t enjoy life in the United States, but everything familiar to her is still important and it’s with her parents in Jaipur. She’s always been visiting on a yearly basis, but finds it insufficient.

After a few years in the United States, my parents became accustomed to life here. They had three children, me and my two sisters. My dad began to run the family business and says he is very grateful for moving. For him it was the initial push which caused all the struggle, but he’s never looked back on his decision to move.


BAM- House Divided

As a person who’s only been to Brooklyn about 10 times in his life, I was hesitant to go for a play I hadn’t ever heard of before hand. I was familiar with the BAM theatre and had heard about it, but still didn’t want to go. Thank god I did. This play did a great job of reviving my interest in theatre and in my opinion, spoke more to us as business students.

Marianne Weems’s House/Divided focuses on two of the most devastating financial times this country has ever faced. However, instead of merely telling a story of the two or using them as mere settings, Weems juxtaposes the two in a great play highlighting the emotional toll these economic meltdowns have had. The plot compared how essentially heartless corporate businessmen would make millions trading on mortgages until the entire system comes crashing. Instead of putting the light on how the companies were affected, Weems directed her attention to how the homeowners were hurt. She wanted the audience to catch light of how foreclosures force a sense of detachment from one’s roots. These homes were where families have prospered for generations and Weems appeals to her audiences pathos by pulling them away. She pushes the envelope even further by portraying life after foreclosure, where families are forced to beg for food.

The set was something I hadn’t seen before and was very innovative. Instead of distracting the audience by constantly changing the house set up, the production played with lighting and used versatile equipment to allow the show to run smoothly. The setting would go from the 1930’s to the 2000’s without catching the attention of the audience. Weems had an interesting technique of zooming up on a specific characters face during specific scenes. I found that it was a way to increase the impact of sorrow or anger towards the character in the spotlight.

In all honesty, I didn’t find anything special to focus on the costume design. I found that it served it’s purpose of portraying bankers as bankers, farmers as farmers, etc. However, the audio manipulation was very successful. In the depression-era scenes, the stringent archaic tone stressed the attitude in focus and brought to light the grim atmosphere. In the more modern, recession-era the sound helped characterize the bankers as individuals JUST looking to show a profit on their bottom line.

Credits to NYTimes

The play was a great experience that really spoke to us specifically, since a majority of us are business students. While we all hear of the banking crises, this play did a great job of comparing it to the Great Depression. It took corporate America out of the focus and really stressed the emotional toll on the homeowner.

India Trip

A cultural encounter is an experience that opens your eyes to a different style of living and helps you realize the reality of different communities or societies. Personally, I find that the most interesting and enlightening cultural encounters happen when one learns more about one’s own background. I’ve had such an experience.

Growing up in New York, my family and I still maintained close roots with our family in India. I would visit every year, flying straight to New Delhi and take the drive to the city of Jaipur, where my family lived. We rarely traveled outside because I only had a brief amount of time to spend with my grandparents and cousins before I had to return back to New York. One summer, my grandfather had made the executive decision that we should go on a family trip. He planned out with other members of my family a route passing several cities for about three weeks. Since I hadn’t ever heard of these cities and everyone, other my sister and I, was my grandparents age- I had no interest in going. I also had no choice.

A bunch of us booked out a few cabins on a train and we embarked for Bombay, the first stop of our trip. My parents joined us, but decided to stay in Bombay and return to Jaipur, while we carried on, on to South India.

While India is one country, after my trip, I maintain the stance that the North and South are very distinct areas. I was un aware to the different culture, language, and society until my trip there. I saw amazing sights from high mountains, had a spiritual experience in some of the most ancient and sacred temples, and tried amazing food that the South is known for.

While away, I had to remind myself that I was in India, because the different atmosphere made me feel as if I was abroad again. I was in such awe of what was going on around me that I hadn’t noticed that I was on a trip with my sister and my grandfathers siblings. It went to show me a few things. Mainly that one should keep an open mind to any endeavor, especially the unexplored. Additionally, it’s important to learn as much about the different people in this world, because even one’s neighbors can offer one a new perspective on society.

The Occupations of New York

The collage project is one of the opportunities we have in this class to really describe our point of view on a specific aspect of New York. I chose to focus my project on the different occupations of the city. It has always amazed me, what weird things people will do in general and the weirder things people do for a career. In New York, we have such a large variety of backgrounds and resumes that I wanted to capture how they all come under one roof.

While some of these jobs may be common in other cities, New York is one of the rare places where they are all centralized. It is that aspect of the boroughs that keep them so interesting. Nothing seems boring because there is always something new to discover.

One day I was in Times Square and I met a man with a sign that read “NEED MONEY FOR WEED. HEY, WHY LIE?” First I thought he was seriously asking for money with that sign and was confused to whether it was a genius publicity stunt that will help this man get money and attention or whether this person was just incredibly straightforward. After telling some friends about it I learned that many of them heard about “the man with the weed sign.” I decided to look him up and discovered that the person I saw holding the sign is a member of a charitable organization. The charity uses the sign to gain publicity and donate to the less fortunate.

It captured my attention. When we were assigned to create a collage, I knew I wanted to capture some of New York’s eccentric jobs. However, I also wanted to balance that off with some of the daily jobs we all seem to interact with on a regular basis but rarely recognize for it’s importance and uniqueness. It helps emphasize my point of how we hold so many jobs in the same city.

Throughout my collage, I’ve gathered the naked cowboy, beekeepers in the middle of manhattan, subway crews, and so many more. I even managed to include a New York Knick. Which other city will offer these icons?

One of the purposes of focusing on occupations is that many people realize that New York is diverse, and they realize it is diverse in various aspects. Yet, no one pays attention to the different jobs in the city. I was hoping my project could help put a focus on that and help others appreciate it when they next come across any such people.

The Big Apple

What really sets New York City apart is that anything can happen anywhere. The only constancy in New York is change. A walk down any street or avenue will lead to some sort of interesting experience, and I can say so from personal experience.

Over summer break, I went to visit my dad at his office. I really just wanted to get out of the house so I thought why not visit him? After a ride into Manhattan, I went to his office and realized I had wasted my time and reach a whole new level of boredom. I didn’t actually know what I expected to do, but I just sat there watching my dad do business. People would come, people would go. The computer was too slow to keep up with my attention span, so I told my dad that I would be going on a walk. He was hesitant, but knew I didn’t want to be there.

I left the office and started walking up 5th Ave. I figured I’ll go to the Apple store, since it’s a desirable distance and a great store. I went in and out of random stores and by the time I reached the Apple store I was thankful for boredom.

When  I finally managed to pull my eyes away from the big stores I looked infront of me and saw a throng of people coming towards me, but a face stood out. I had to study it for a moment, and when it clicked I sprang up. I had always wanted to meet a celebrity, so you could imagine my excitement when I saw Ray Romano walk by. He was walking in a huge crowd so I didn’t know if it made sense or if it was that much weirder that I was the only one to notice him. I ran up to him to say, “Hi!”

He looked at me, smiled and said, “Hey, how’re you doing?”

The words came running out of my mouth. “I’m a huge fan of Everybody Loves Raymond! Can I please get a picture?”

In a friendly voice, but trying not to attract too much attention he said, “Here let me get that for you.” He took my old flip phone and tried to get a good picture. A few years ago front facing cameras were unheard of.

I thanked him and he went his way. A part of me wanted to follow him but the smarter part thought it was better to stay put. I was ecstatic! It led me to think of how in this large city there is so much going on at once that most of it seems insignificant.


P.S. I lost the picture when my phone broke. Sad life.

Encountering a Southern Attitude

This past weekend, I spent my Thanksgiving with my family in Nashville, Tennessee. I was expecting to have some sort of cultural encounter, being so far from home and hearing of the different culture in the south. However, what actually happened still came to surprise me.

While walking through downtown Nashville, we stopped to wait for my uncle to bring around the car. Out of nowhere, some stranger walks by and says “Hi.”

My dad and I look at each other and decide to just say “Hi” back.

The stranger leaves with saying, “Have a good day!”

I look at my cousin, who had been living in Nashville, and go “That guy was weird.” But I had already figured that this was common. My cousin went on to explain that outside the hustle of New York, people are much more vocal and especially in the south, they’ll just walk up to you to say anything. Now it is very possible that this guy was just weird, but I had seen this trend throughout my whole stay and it became fascinating to see that people actually want to take the time out to get to know one another.

In the city we’re in a rush to get our job done that we don’t care about the people next to us, but it was refreshing to see this new attitude.

A Day in the Life of a (Hungry) New Yorker

When I went about deciding a topic for my street photography project, I didn’t know where to start. I knew there was so much to capture in New York City, but it became intimidating for me to choose any specific route. I wanted to capture the unique aspects of the city, my own views, and it’s vibrant culture.

I joined the three by visualizing the city in my point of view. I walked around New York with a small point-and-shoot camera (Sony Cybershot DSC-TX7) and tried to capture whatever seemed representative of my theme. Now, I enjoy taking pictures, but wouldn’t yet call myself a photographer, so I ask for some flexibility in quality and more attention towards the technique I tried to use.

During some pictures I used the rule of the third, while in others, being in the center helped emphasize the picture’s purpose. I tried to play with lighting, but found that natural light works best, especially with my theme, where I strive to capture it as if it were going on in real time. I also wanted to shed light on the fact that the project is capturing an average day. I tried to avoid setting up my pictures too much and planned for more impulsive and impromptu moments. A picture taken in the subway was special in its way of showing depth and making an average subway cart seem much longer than it actually was.

While I showed some of the city’s culinary staples, I avoided making it the main subject of my project. While New York may be known for some elaborate and artistic dishes, I wanted to keep the food in line with my theme: an average day. I decided instead to capture the bagel stand, the halal stand, Mike’s Pizza and a local bar. With some places showing people getting together to socialize. Do you see a trend? They all follow a pattern. Breakfast, lunch, dinner (debatable) and drinks.

This leads me to reveal another one of my techniques: chronology. A result of my own personality being reflected in my project, organization and order help me provide coherency. By having the pictures start off in the morning and end with the luminous New York City skyline, the work is easier to understand and the flow is more enjoyable.

I could have easily gone to the city’s most popular tourist destinations to include in my project but I chose to abide by something more personal to my own view of the city. Since New York is sch a diverse city, there are many ways of capturing it and I felt that my own view of the city was what I wanted to represent. They move from queens, to my commute into the city, to the night view from my apartment. I chose to end off with the New York City skyline because it is the iconic view of the city and I really enjoy the view from my apartment. I often go up to my roof to see the view, so by including it in my project, it helped provide my own view of the city.

While going about the photography project there were two key challenges I faced. The first was getting the right angle. When capturing a photo the angle makes all the difference because it essentially decides how the moment is seen. I would spend long amounts of time trying out different angles, still unsure whether or not I chose the correct one. However, after a few photos, I believe my ability to distinguish and select the angles from which to take pictures improved.

The second challenge I faced was something I should have expected with my theme. While trying to capture a day in New York City, my camera was often affected by crowds of people moving in a rush. When I would pause to take a picture of something, throngs of people would see no reason to stop and sometimes moved my picture out of focus. Although I should have seen the problem beforehand, I managed to adjust my techniques to avoid increasing the presence of blurred New Yorkers.

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The Aftermath

I spent all of Tuesday on my laptop, in pure of awe of what New York had just gone through. Subways were filled with water. Parts of New York had lost power for days and even weeks. Trees had demolished several cars, houses and unfortunately, lives.

Credits to the MTA for this picture

Once the winds had died down and the rain calmed, I grabbed my jacket and went for a walk. I wanted to see what my neighborhood was like. The first turn I made on my block and I saw a giant tree, completely uprooted, resting on someone’s house. Patches of cement from the sidewalk, much larger than I, were ripped off the ground with the trees. Cars were crushed by trees on top of them, while luckily no one was hurt.

Credits to the CT Post

The whole experience with Hurricane Sandy really helped me realize the importance of the things we rely on. The city was incapable of functioning without electricity. The feeling of not having power made people feel as if they were trapped and needed to get out of the situation. There was no transportation and today we face 3 hour lines for gasoline. Even a week later, we still see how the Hurricane has lasting effect on the city…

Never Saw it Coming

“There are mass evacuations taking place in low lying areas…” I heard on CNN

“The entire transit system of New York City and New Jersey will start shutting down…” I heard on NY1

“Bloomberg is preparing the city for unseen damages, possibly totaling $10 billion…” I heard on Fox News

I on the other hand expected this storm to be rain and just that. When Hurricane Irene was brewing up near North Carolina last year, everyone was afraid for catastrophe and although it affected some smaller states, it didn’t have much of an effect on New York City. I figured that if Hurricane Sandy was only a Category 1 hurricane, it would be nothing to Hurricane Irene.

What was supposed to be a 30 minute ride to the supermarket ended up being a 3 hour disappointment. I was supposed to just run some errands at two nearby stores but faced the problem of finding parking, finding a cart, and getting through interminable lines. Never in my life had I seen so many people at these stores. Everyone was gearing up for a strong storm, yet I still convinced myself that it would be minor.

2 days later.

“They are estimating $20 billion dollars worth of damage…” said CNN

“Hurricane fires have burned down 80 to 100 houses…” said NY1

“In it’s 108 years, the MTA has never seen a storm like this…” said the Governor

I was shocked that a storm I expected to be mere drizzles had such a catastrophic effect. For the first time in history, the New York Stock Exchange was closed for 3 days, due to weather conditions. I spent all of Tuesday just sitting on my laptop looking at the debris this storm left behind. I had never seen New York so vulnerable before, with the entire city shut down. It really taught me the reality of how strong nature can be.

Funny Street Photo

A true New Yorker…

Falling for Dance

Since 2004, the New York City Center has been educating New Yorkers on the art of dance. Fall for Dance is a great show that helps expose individuals to a great way of properly understanding the various facets of this form of art. Every year the show incorporates new works into their show and it makes for a great experience. It acts as a great introductory to the different dance forms and categories, which is especially necessary with today’s fast-paced generation.

While squeezing through the tight aisles to get to our seats, what really caught my eye was the stage. Having been to the New York City Center prior to the event, this time, I felt as if I was in a whole new theatre.

Credits to Metronews

The first exhibition was from Ballet West, directed by Adam Sklute. This particular dance was called “Grand Pas From Paquita.” Paquita is a Russian ballet in two acts and three scenes, founded in the mid 19th century to help shed light on Russian ballerinas. The Ballet West did a great job of carrying on the tradition. Their choreography involved a constant flow of smooth movement that was left undisturbed. All the dancers were in sync and able to follow each other flawlessly. Their costumes were appropriate for their dance and blended right into the atmosphere of the theatre.

The second act was called the “High Heel Blues” brought to us by the Tu Dance Company and directed by Toni Pierce-Sands and Uri Sands. This was, without a doubt, my favorite performance of the night. The dance added an aspect of humor to the show and was greatly refreshing. The darker colors worked perfectly with the general theme, with the black clothes from the dancers to the purple light being cast on stage. As the only dance to provide a voice and words with the movement, it proved as a great way to introduce a generation like mine to the arts. Although the voice was off stage, the dancers did a magnificent job of following the lyrics and guiding the audience through the meaning of the production.

The Nan Jombang dance company, along with their director Ery Mefri, had me wondering if I was in a dance show or a roller coaster. There were moments when I felt I was in the presence of true art and there were moments when I considered walking out.  Their piece, “Tarian Malam,”  (also called Night Dances) was created just a few months prior to Fall for Dance and came from the group’s Indonesian roots. It started out with a woman of Asian descent almost crying on stage. The depth of her voice conveyed sorrow throughout the theatre. The use of weary orange clothes helped reinforce the idea of humility in the dance, along with Asian influences. Then Mefri made the use of live instruments and even music from the dancers tapping their own bodies. The dancers were jumping over each other to get to the next instrument and the rush in their movement made the production very invigorating, as if it were displaying acrobatics. It was great for someone of my generation, who is used to a more fast-paced form of dance. However, Mefri had the show going with infrequent breaks of silence and additional sorrow from the dancers. For someone relatively new to dance like myself, it was a pleasant experience, interrupted by many unpleasant halts.

Credits to Suite of Moldavian Dance

The final dance was “Moiseyev’s Classics,” by the Moiseyev Dance Company. Director Elena Shcherbakova wonderfully ended the show on an artistically playful note. She decided to focus on the dance of the Kalmyks, the Tartars, the Bessarabians, and the Moldavians. The Kalmyks danced to show their connection to animals, however, that was very difficult to infer from Shcherbakova’s work.  The Tartars danced to show life in a small village, which through the dance was easily detected. The Bessarabians wanted to convey a tension between men and women through dance and Shcherbakova did a great job of recreating that on stage. The costumes were far more colorful than the previous performances and helped to keep the production playful and energizing. The final Moldavian dance successfully portrayed the Moldavian folk dance with the dancers forming a “boisterous round dance.”

Fall for Dance is a show that is a great stepping-stone for those willing to get exposed and educated in dance. It provides many elements that keep a fast-paced New Yorker generation like mine interested and simultaneously instills new information in us about the arts. I plan to be there next year as well.

Loie Fuller and Jody Sperling: Innovator and Artist

As I squeezed into class, unfortunately a few minutes late, I took a seat in the back and had to take a second to realize what was going on. I was still out of breath from my run from the vertical campus to the 23rd street building. I looked to the front of the classroom and saw a woman facing the rest of us and while sharing a story with clear passion.

“America’s first modern dance…” These are the words Jody Sperling used to describe the legacy that Loie Fuller left behind. Sperling is a dancer, a historian, an entrepreneur, but most of all, she is an artist. Loie Fuller was a dancer, a visionary, but most of all, an inventor. Fuller was able to create new forms of art that affected generations to come, generations like those of Jody Sperling.

Sperling’s appreciation for dance and for Fuller was heard throughout the entire presentation and clearly showed the impact that Fuller had on Sperling’s career. Sperling traced Fuller’s life from the tavern she was born in, to the endless career travels, to her unfortunate death in the late 1920’s. The anger in her voice grabbed my attention when she discussed the producers and “husband” that wronged Loie Fuller. Sperling made it clear to the class as a whole, that many largely popular dance forms of the 20th century had traces that eventually led back to Loie Fuller. It was as if Sperling were protecting her own kin.

credits to

Fuller herself was an incredible woman who went on to accomplish incredible things. From the moment she was born in the back of a tavern, her life was already interesting. Originally a successful burlesque dancer, Fuller knew that her passion lied elsewhere. She created the Serpentine Dance and immediately started climbing the ladder. She vibrantly used extensive yards of silk fabric, making it seem as if she “had a million folds [for] every one yard.” Her career eventually led her to Paris and many obstacles had her traveling back and forth, between the states and Europe. Her success attracted the attention of copycats and placed a big problem. But Fuller decided to push the envelope further by developing patented techniques to use light from different angles of the theatre and phase it into her dance. She served as the prime example of someone who could fight with great obstacles and still accomplish great feats.

credits to

Today Jody Sperling does a great job of shedding light on Fuller’s career and its modern day impact. Sperling herself has gone on to found the Time Lapse Dance Company, produce dance shows, and wear all the hats of a contemporary artist. She discusses the effort required to raise funds for productions and all the means that one must consider, from fundraisers, to grants, to simple email lists. The presentation culminated on a note where Sperling made it evident that the arts industry was difficult and challenging, yet one where true passion, dedication and commitment would yield positive results.

Fuller is a great source of inspiration for Sperling, to the point that Sperling performed one of Fuller’s butterfly pieces in the Library of Congress. Sperling lightly joked of the difficulty in hoisting up two remarkably long poles on her arms and then swaying them as to convey the same beauty that Loie Fuller discovered. The presentation had me wishing I was alive in the era to see the beauty of Loie Fuller’s dances and her innovative use of fabric and light.

Source: Jody Sperling Publications

Occupy Wall Street

Cultural encounters may not only be of different nationalities, but also of different ideas.

On a long weekend, my friends and I decided to celebrate by heading into the city. We were so excited to leave school and enjoy ourselves, that we realized we had no idea where we were going. We were still debating in the subway when I said ” Let’s check out what’s going down on Wall street with the Occupy Wall Street movement.”

At the time, Occupy Wall Street was still a growing effort and we had only heard of it. My friends were very reluctant at first, but I managed to get them to give in. It ended up being a great time. Although we didn’t really agree with the movement’s goals and ideas, it was incredibly interesting to see the passion they all were gathering with. The weather was frigid and yet most of the movement remained intact. I would hear random people stop and stir up a debate with any random protestor.

However, I found it difficult to understand what they were protesting. There seemed to be talk of everything from job creation to a four-hour workday. I tried to empathize with their cause but continuously found myself becoming more skeptical of what they were really doing. At the end of the day, the movement gained all the attention from creating a public scene and mass audience like my friends and I.

Later we left with a sign saying “We are the 99%,” to remember the day.

All Aboard Fugard’s Riveting Performance!

Through his play The Train Driver, Fugard coerces his audience to focus on the issue of apartheid in South Africa. The entire play revolves around an event where a black mother commits suicide, with her child, by standing in front of a train. The Protagonist, a white train driver, Roelf (Ritchie Coster) has his life torn apart when the guilt of the incident consumes him. The mental trauma of the accident builds fury in Roelf and forces him to find and confront the woman’s at the graveyard where she was buried, which is where he meets Simon (Leon Addison Brown).

The setting of the play was in itself an appropriate representation of the influence apartheid had throughout the divided country. A dull graveyard, where tombstones were replaced with debris, was used as a fictitious resting ground for blacks and served as the epicenter of Fugard’s play. The sand was polluted with dirt, shards of glass, and rusted metal. In the middle of the entire land stood a humble little shack, which Simon, the black caretaker of the graveyard, called home.

Interestingly enough, Fugard decides to omit the presence of a physical antagonist in his play. One might say that the unnamed woman who committed suicide or the briefly mentioned gang took on the role of the antagonist. However, Fugard still refrained from including the conventional presence of an antagonist, perhaps to stress on the effect the accident had on Roelf and focus instead on how he would ultimately confront the situation.

To tackle the issue of apartheid, Fugard incorporates several subtle, but effective, fragments into the story. Other than the issue of race in the graveyard, Fugard includes a scene where the local gang may be angered with a black man and a white man interacting. He also reveals a little about Roelf’s life before the accident and leaves it to the audience to juxtapose that one with that of Simon’s. Unfortunately, Fugard doesn’t relate the situation of apartheid in Roelf’s time to present day, where it has improved but many question to what level.

Fugard throws his audience directly into the center of the story by providing a limited amount of background information. The audience is left engaged, wondering, “What is going on?” As the play continues, we are able to peel away at the story. We find that, before the incident, the characters come from rather stereotypical backgrounds but change throughout the play.

Fugard elaborates on the characters and the story line with the use of costume design. The ragged clothes reflect the endless suffering that Roelf has endured. His spoiled attire mixes with his sweat and obvious intoxication to bring a powerful presence on the stage. While Simon’s bulky and grubby coat mirrors his modest lifestyle.

Credits to Signature Theatre

In an attempt to shed light on Roelf’s frustration, Fugard makes frequent use of profanity and vulgar language throughout the entire play. Instead of pointlessly throwing around adulterated language, Fugard shrewdly uses it to engross the audience and simultaneously convey Roelf’s rage. The power of the script resonates throughout the theatre.

Unfortunately Ritchie Coster’s acting was unable to keep pace with the intensity required for Roelf’s character to be properly portrayed. Leon Brown maintained a more tranquil quality, required for Simon’s character. To dilute sometimes silent and stretched scenes, Fugard adds portions of humor to Simon’s character, making him rather enjoyable to watch.

Fugard concludes the play with finally bringing Roelf to peace with what has happened to him. Although certain parts of the play may seem confusing and unconnected at times, Fugard brings the play full circle. I left the theatre, shaken by a powerful and riveting performance.

Critical Terms

Protagonist – The leading character or a major character in a drama, movie, novel, or other fictional text

Antagonist – A person who actively opposes or is hostile to someone or something; an adversary

Anticlimax – A disappointing end to an exciting or impressive series of events

Ad lib – This is short for the Latin word ad libitum meaning freely. Essentially, it is the same as improvising lines. Usually used when lines are forgotten

Libretto – The text of an opera or other long vocal work

The Occupations of New York

What makes New York so unique is the diversity that surrounds the city. From its food to its clothing, New York is known as the home of vast ideas, peoples and cultures. Another aspect where New York is rather diverse is in its occupations. The five boroughs are home to job titles such as beekeepers, undercover restaurant testers and even artists like the naked cowboy.

By displaying new and unordinary positions, I believe the class and I will benefit from gaining a new perspective of the city we live in. We will have the opportunity to learn about interesting experiences and maybe even take a part in them some day. I would like to capture all the eccentric and unconventional professions in one collage to showcase them and reveal that there is more to New York than just corporate America.

Temple Run

As vegetarians, my family only has a few options when we want to dine out in a Chinese restaurant. On my cousin’s birthday, we found a good excuse to try a new vegetarian restaurant that opened up nearby. The food was amazing, but what we really remember from that dinner was yet to happen.

On the way out, the restaurant manager approached my uncle and asked him if he would like to see the temple. My uncle was confused about which temple she was talking about, but he was fascinated by foreign cultures so he agreed anyway. The manager pulled aside our family and led us out of the restaurant and into an apartment building directly adjacent to the restaurant. All of us began looking at each other skeptically, with our parents still oblivious to the fact that this temple was strangely located on the second floor of a quiet building and the obvious language barrier between us and the manager. The elevators doors opened and we walked through a maze of hallways to finally be led into a small ballroom with three massive structures of the Lord Buddha.

The manager was now accompanied by another man and they both came in and out of the ballroom with notebooks and even changed into formal attire. At this point, even our parents realized that they had no idea what was going on. Our parents started negotiating  with no idea what they were negotiating for, they signed up for programs they didn’t even know the name of and eventually even became members to a Buddhist temple they had just walked into. My cousins and I were told to sit in a partitioned room where we could look into the ballroom through a glass window.

Our parents were guided through a ceremony that involved continuous kneeling and bowing and culminated in them receiving a membership card to the Flushing Buddhist Temple! The entire time we were laughing, not because of the temple, but how we went through the entire situation because of a language barrier. They didn’t even know they became members until they received ID cards with their names on them!

It was so late that I texted my cousin saying “next time we’re getting take out!”

A Sweet Story

When I reflect on my personality and character, I see a large part of it come from my mom and her business. The intensity of her entrepreneurial spirit actually came from a soft and sugar-soaked cheese ball. A round sponge of sweet flavor, the rasgulla breaks apart into chewy morsels with a surge of refreshment bursting from the center. The rasgulla is just one of a wide variety of Indian sweets, which mark the start of any auspicious occasion; even the smallest of celebrations is incomplete without a candied palate to remember it by. Although an integral part of Indian culture, sweets have played a very different role in my personal life.

Ten years ago, my mother transformed that one rasgulla into the base for her own South Asian desserts business. I was amazed how she was simultaneously able to bring our Indian culture to New York, run a company, and raise three children. She cultivated her interest from one admired by her friends at local dinner parties to one that was catered to the White House. Along the journey, I found that as the business continued to grow, I began growing with it. Inspired by my mother’s devotion, I began to take on more responsibilities to see the business succeed. Her persistence has become a driving force in my life and her business savvy has showed me how ambition, hard work, and passion can bring a vision to reality.

Over the last few years, I have played an active role in all aspects of the business, looking for operational efficiencies and new opportunities. I took the lead on the digital media front and updated the website, designed and launched our holiday advertisement campaign, and took pictures of the newest sweets, to share with our customers. To market the company, we went to trade shows and presented the range of products we offered to clients. I was thrilled every time a person I spoke to called back to place an order. My mother’s business has taught me that with initiative and perseverance, any goal can be achieved.

Admittedly, it was often challenging to help my mom and manage my own schedule. I focused on my grades, represented my school’s Model UN program at conferences, interned at a local accounting firm, and found time to meet friends. By striving to balance several responsibilities at once, I learned a priceless lesson in time management and prioritization.

After all these years, I am still mesmerized by how a rasgulla can be filled with mango, dipped in chocolate, or infused with a cream filling. The different colors, flavors, and textures are a testament to my mother’s creativity. Today, when I see our sweets on the other side of a showroom window, I see my mother’s vision manifest in front of me but I feel proud that I had a large role in putting them there. That sweet and refreshing rasgulla set off a series of changes in my life that has, and will continue to, guide me through any future endeavors. And to think it all started with a cheese ball.

A 12-Hour Cultural Encounter

The Helsinki sign in the city’s Main Square

Every summer it was just implied that my sisters, my mom and I would be traveling to India to visit my family. We take a direct flight there, enjoy ourselves for about a month and a half and then come back home. One particular year, I came home from school and was informed by my mother that the tickets were booked and she managed to save 1200 dollars. The catch was that we would be staying over in Helsinki, Finland for 12 hours. At the age of 11, I didn’t quite understand the value of 1200 dollars and was just upset that we were going to be spending 12 hours in a country I knew very little about. However, once we arrived in Helsinki, I knew I was in for a treat.

When I heard “Finland,” I automatically just pictured thousands of miles of farms and villages, but nothing special. Helsinki completely changed that. The city has an antique beauty the liveliness of a bustling metropolis. The architecture and design of the buildings was ornamental yet contemporary. The clean brick streets brought a sense of peace and splendor into the city, something I wasn’t familiar to in the bustling concrete streets of New York. The city fascinated me from its luscious food to its philanthropic casinos (which fund the public school system in the entire country). On the drive along the waterside I knew that cultural encounters like this would really open my mind to life-changing experiences and I thanked my mom for those amazing 12 hours.

A Messy Cultural Encounter

One of my most distinct qualities is that I’m always willing to try something for the experience. As absurd or embarrassing the task may be, I have always believed that to be well rounded, one should be open to trying new things. That very ideology has played an integral role in shaping my personality and who I am today.

When on vacation in Thailand, I was introduced to one of the most memorable festivals of my life, Songkran, as my aunt described it. Songkran is a Thai take on the Indian festival of Holi. During Holi, the festival of colors, family and friends toss colored powder at each other. However, Songkran involves massive amounts of water, white powder and rose essence. So when my aunt handed me a water gun filled with all three ingredients I shrugged my shoulders and started aiming at my cousin, who picked up his gun as well. Although we may have looked foolish, slowly my entire family joined in and we were 40 people creating a playful chaos on a thai beach. To get all the powder and essence off, we jumped into the ocean, which led to yet another water fight. My cultural encounter with this new festival led not only to me discovering a new festivity, but also to providing me with memories I will never forget.

Comments by Rishi Ajmera

"This post is great because it really helps you understand the effect slang has on our lives. It's as if it's a language of its own. I've had similar difficulties both here and in India. Great job of adding humor!"
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Do y’all got chicken? )
"This piece really shows the power that food can have in helping open people's cultural expectations. A little act of just Chinese food on the table led you to discover an amazing revelation and helped you understand the importance of appreciating your heritage and family on days like Thanksgiving. I guess the holiday really does help you realize what you're thankful for!"
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post A Twist on Thanksgiving )
"To address your first comment on how far phones have come, I wanted to share one amazing fact. Today's modern phones have more computing power than NASA did in 1960, they put a man on the moon and we throw birds into pigs (I'm referring to the game Angry Birds). It shows how far we've come but how we don't use it to the full advantage. As for the debate of Android vs. iOS I had the same opinions. I like iPhone for it's intuitive features and useful apps. Androids allow for some flexibility but I feel that the iOS format is already better set up, so it doesn't even require that much adjustment."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post More than just a phone )
"It's good to hear about your experience at the store. I actually didn't appreciate it as much. I had often walked by the store and heard of it, but never wandered in. I was at the apple store with a few friends and we decided to check it out. A few things like the walkable piano and certain displays caught my attention, otherwise I failed to see everyone's amazement with it and it is now an official landmark."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post New York’s 150 Year Old Toy Store )
"Coming from India, I know exactly what you mean. If someone offers you something or asks you to do something, it's very rude to just say no. You often have to try to get out of it with some type of excuse, like the ones you mentioned. However, it's more the case when a younger person is talking to an older one. People of the same age don't act the same way, unless it's a formal encounter. Friends or family are more comfortable in that aspect."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post The Art of “No” )
"This piece is great because you do a good job of putting the reader in your perspective. It's as if I see each place you're going. The whole time it seemed as if you didn't really want to go through the experience because you were jumping around from store to store, I was curious as to how much time you spent commuting. It was kind of funny how you decided to drop all your plans and just sleep at the end. Good decision."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Black Friday )
"I know what you mean here. My first Black Friday, I didn't even go to sleep. I met my friends at the mall and we ran into stores as if there were no tomorrow. When we actually started picking things out, we found that the sales weren't worth it, somethings weren't even on sale. I came home with a sweater and that's when I turned to online shopping, better deals and less work. The most entertaining people are the ones that come prepared with plans and directions as if they were creating a war strategy."
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Black Friday )
"I think you pulled a good Walker Evans! Who was she making the face to?!"
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Funny Picture )
"I know exactly what you mean when you say that the city changes on you. It was interesting that you didn't think that before, because it's usually a stronger idea in those that don't live in the five boroughs. The city is always on full gear, but it's fascinating that clean up crews in the subway helped you realize that. I guess that shows that New Yorkers have such different perspectives and we all see things in different lights. Good piece!"
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Private: The City That Never Sleeps )
"This piece was really interesting because no one really questions that aspect of taking pictures. I really enjoyed how you compared it to cultures around the world as well. I was just curious as to how you came across noticing this and what reminded you about it for this piece? Great job of including phrases from other cultures!"
--( posted on Dec 18, 2012, commenting on the post Say Cheese. )
"Ms. Bernstein has contacted me to tell you that you have automatically failed the class for posting this picture."
--( posted on Dec 2, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Funny Photo )
"Wow. I didn't know that it was common in some governments to punish their people so publicly. It's possible that in Eastern countries, stature and status hold such value that for someone to be reprimanded in the open is the ultimate punishment. Do you know if it's still used in some countries?"
--( posted on Nov 30, 2012, commenting on the post Caning )
"I found the observation of the family to be the most interesting. It never occurred to me how true that was, that families don't often travel together. I also found it very interesting how you associated a passive attitude with New Yorkers. I'm curious as to what other changes you've seen in yourself?"
--( posted on Nov 30, 2012, commenting on the post You Must be New Here )
"I agree with your point, but I really found the way you told the story to be most interesting. It's needless to say that bullying should be put to an end, but your story puts the reader into the situation and makes them want to help. I felt as if I was there watching Tom, Paul, and even you in the background. It made me feel helpless but I wanted to take action."
--( posted on Nov 30, 2012, commenting on the post “Punch Tom in the Face” )
"I loved your introduction with the use of hunger and costumes. Although I didn't see it at first, it makes a lot of sense now. I really like your way of describing the performance, it's as if I were reliving it. I found it interesting how you referred to the third dance. I looked at it more from face value and was a little annoyed by the change from roar to silence."
--( posted on Oct 27, 2012, commenting on the post Fall For Dance Program III : a conglomeration of cultures )
"This post is incredibly different from what I expected it would be like. From the introduction you spoke of the stadium and the amazing music, however, what really caught my eye was your mention of being intimidated by the music. That's a fascinating way of looking at a new encounter and especially with music. You go on to talk about the depth of Jay-Z's comments affected you afterwards. I completely agree with the importance of exploring new cultures and keeping an open mindset. Great piece!"
--( posted on Oct 16, 2012, commenting on the post “Nobody is built like you” )
"This is a great insight into how minor/brief events can have a strong impact on a person. Similarly, I look back at how a short encounter teaches me a great deal about myself."
--( posted on Oct 16, 2012, commenting on the post “I Don’t Want Any Trouble” )
"I really enjoyed this post, because I never actually knew some of those facts about Lucy. However, my interest in visiting museums has gone downhill, primarily because I've visited most of the major museums, so it feels repetitive, but it's good you still enjoy them!"
--( posted on Oct 1, 2012, commenting on the post Ancient Cultural Encounter )
"I can definitely relate to this situation! I've always had some opinion against foods like avocados, thai food, even raw tomatoes. But when I try these foods prepared in special places, my opinion completely changes. Glad your trip was good!"
--( posted on Oct 1, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Cream of Carrot Soup )
"Traveling in other cities is always an interesting experience. I've heard a lot about how much better the subway system in China is compared to the one in New York. I like how you focus in on the condition of the ticket machines. When I traveled to Washington DC I had a similar reaction. The subway system was cleaner, cheaper and far more efficient than the New York's and it's more than a few years old. Good piece!"
--( posted on Sep 19, 2012, commenting on the post Same but Different )
"I like your piece, especially because I feel as if I can relate to it. I really don't enjoy being around smokers, which is a problem when I stand outside the vertical campus. My uncle had picked up smoking a few years ago and we had the same problem of trying to confront him without trying to show disrespect, especially since he's the oldest of his generation. Eventually my aunt was fed up with the habit and wouldn't even let him in the house when he wanted to smoke. I agree, we are lucky to live in a place that regulates smoking zones."
--( posted on Sep 19, 2012, commenting on the post Private: Cultural Encounter )
"I like your piece because you manage to focus on the issue in your community but make it easy and enjoyable for your reader. It's really sad that this still happens, as you put it, in a place as diverse as brooklyn. I'm interested in knowing how the opponent actually handled the situation of the flier. Congratulations on the win!"
--( posted on Sep 19, 2012, commenting on the post Racism in Brooklyn )