What We Feel and What We Mean
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Category — About New York

The Brooklyn Museum

ok. so I’m just going to put this out there- I didn’t really appreciate “The Dinner Table” as much as I’m assuming I was supposed to be. I found it somewhat vulgar. I appreciate the fact that something so unconventional is titled “the dinner table” which is the iconic image of the typical familial structure against which the said exhibit is “protesting”. The motif of a family sitting around a dinner table, hands folded in their laps, awaiting the father’s leadership, either in prayer, or just plain eating, comes clearly to mind when I think of a dinner table. It’s representative of a formal and rigid structure. And the exhibit exuded this quiet solemness, only not in acknowledgement of this social structure but in appreciation of those who have struggled against it, so to speak. Unless I’m completely off (which is entirely possible), I see this and I still didn’t think it was beautiful. Strange, yes. I realize that’s my personal opinion, so no offense meant to anyone who does like it.

I’ve also been realizing that part of experiencing art is not only about the location in which it is seen but also about the people with whom it is seen. It’s a different experience to stand alone at the Met as part of a huge crowd, admiring the artwork that visiting the said museum with a friend, or a family member, or a tour guide. That being said, I had a great time exploring with Sylvia, Christina, and Aniqa.

My favorite exhibit was the period rooms. The displays mimic the psychological reality of the way people view events external to them. They (we) tend to place ourselves in the center of the action, whether we’re watching a movie or listening to a friend’s story and the period rooms allow for that in a real sense. Granted, it would be much cooler to be able to walk into the rooms and sit on the chairs, but one could get close enough to really imagine what it looked and felt like.

I can’t recall who made it but I also really liked the “piano in the tree” exhibit. I’m not entirely certain what the point is but I like it. The adjoining “man dressing up as clown” adjacent exhibit was not so appealing, though it was powerful. It’s a strong statement about racism- the black man putting on white face paint, dressing up like a clown. The fake “neon” smile is iconic to the clown, and to the frustrated African Americans who felt (feel) as if they were (are) being made to wear a mask of white dominance. It was pointed and disturbing. It reminded me of the Joker from the Batman movie. Which might have been the point….

On a general note, I really appreciated that nothing was behind glass (or at least, most exhibit weren’t). It’s refreshing and it made me feel like I had a right to be walking around and looking, almost like admiring the nice artifacts a person might have in his home, displayed for his guests to see. I suppose I felt like I was being treated like “a big kid” who doesn’t have to look from behind glass and can be trusted to appreciate and not destroy what s/he is seeing.

November 18, 2011   No Comments

What is your destination–My New York

As someone who has lived out of state, in the city, and in the
surrounding suburbs, I feel like I have had many unique perspectives on what it
means to be a New Yorker. Coming from a state like Texas, even though I moved
when I was very young, New York seems like a place of stereotypes. New York is
a foreign land filled with lights and chaos. When I go to Houston to visit
family, the one question I always seem to get from my cousins is, “Do you live
near Times Square?” Sadly, the answer is no. But I find it interesting that the
image that out-of-staters get of New York is that of Times Square and the
hustle and bustle of Manhattan. After living in Queens for most of my life, I have
to disagree.

I recognize that living in the outer boroughs is a much different
experience than living in Manhattan. But despite how different it may be, whether
you live in Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, or the Bronx, your experience
still falls under the wide umbrella of being a “New York experience.” Growing
up in Queens, I was able to interact with different people at school, stores, and
on the street. I took the subway and was able to see for myself the different types
of New York.

At the age of 12, I moved to Long Island. Before anyone mistakes
my area for deep in Long Island somewhere near the Hamptons, I actually live
near the Queens-Long Island border (about a 10 minute drive to Queens). But despite
my area’s proximity to NYC, I live somewhere that is distinctly suburban. Most of
the people in my neighborhood have grown up there their entire lives and my
classmates in my high school had very interesting thoughts about the “city.” Most
only went to Manhattan, but some, like me, had moved from Queens. Spending the
majority of my teenage years on Long Island, I came to a realization of a
property of New York that makes the city uniquely New York.

Where I live, the socioeconomic status of the majority of my
neighbors and my peers is roughly the same. Although there are people who are
richer than others, the class disparity is relatively narrow. The city, however,
is not. New York City is home to people from all walks of life, from people that
own swanky apartments on the Upper East Side to people that live moderately in
a place like Midwood. Where I come from, we don’t have that. I can look at the
person in front of me at the grocery store and guess pretty accurately what
his/her life is like.  No piece of art demonstrates this idea better for me than does the image of a bus stand. The bus
stand is unique in that there are buses coming that will take you to different destinations:
whether it be the Upper East Side or Midwood. The people waiting for the bus
come from different situations, some better than others. However, they all
stand together at the same bus stop, waiting to take the bus to different destinations.
All these destinations come together and collectively make up New York City.

A sign at a bus stop

November 17, 2011   1 Comment

My Two New Yorks

I was born in New York City, and spent the first years of my childhood here in Brooklyn, and now, am back in Brooklyn for the first years of adulthood. For me, New York City has always encapsulated a sort of duality. There’s Brooklyn–or really, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and the Bronx–and Manhattan. From an external and superficial perspective, New York City is Manhattan. Manhattan is where you find yourself absolutely dwarfed by the skyscrapers on either side of you or blinded by the pulsating array of lights in Times Square. It’s where the pictures for the postcards are taken and the movies are filmed, and where the famous shows are performed and the fine restaurants are. It’s also where the multitude of well-dressed and powerful people flow into and out of their imposing office buildings and to the subways and taxis and coffee shops and sandwich carts.

If Manhattan is the gleaming surface of the giant machine that is New York, the outer boroughs are the mechanical underside. This is where the city begins to feel like a home–a home for lots and lots and lots of people. Where your life is pushed right up against the life of the next person. In short, it’s where New Yorkers are.

I feel that the dialectic of Manhattan and the outer boroughs is reflective of the dichotomy between New York and the New Yorker. ‘New York’ is the hustle and bustle and bright lights of Manhattan, but the ‘New Yorker’ is only found in the jumble of humanity that is the outer boroughs.

After reviewing the posts of many of my classmates, I feel compelled to embed a video that speaks to my relationship with my city. So, please take a moment to appreciate a small part of a masterful work that does so much to bring the New York and the New Yorker together: Annie. Enjoy!

November 16, 2011   No Comments

My NYC/ Meet the Artist “Clinton Curtis”

First of all, I must thank Professor Ugoretz for urging me to rsvp for this Meet the Artist session. I was hesitant at first, but soon realized that the earlier I get over with it, the better.

I must also apologize, because, while it may seem that I am trying to kill two figurative birds with one stone, I could not post one without the other. After that session, I truly felt the connection between Clinton Curtis’s music and my feelings towards NYC. Therefore, I do hope to post again about Clinton Curtis, but for now, I hope this suffices.

Unfortunately, the way there was riddled with boredom; as I was busy beforehand, I did not have a chance to prepare something to challenge my mind during the trip. Luckily, I prepared myself a personal brain-teaser: figure out where I’m going as I improvised my route and so caused myself to get lost. I appreciate the fact that because I got lost, I stumbled upon a small art gallery hidden within the train station. As we were passing in between stations I glanced upon the walls to find little slits which opened up to a huge gallery of different pictures and shapes, all of which were flashing before my eyes as my only point of view was through slits. It was beautiful, and yet flashing, lingering for less than a second before disappearing from both my sight and my mind.

And then I arrived at my stop, got off and arrived at the Macaulay Building 10 minutes late.

During the talk, Clinton Curtis frequently revisited his childhood, his past experiences, and his excitement about living in NY. As he started his first song, I started to get a feel for what he was talking about. His view on music in NY clarified so much about the city. He truly made me feel different about the music. And his music changed me as well. It was blues/reggae/western/country/a whole lot more, but it made sense! I truly enjoyed it.

The music he played really exemplified NY, at least for me. The highs and the lows, the quickening of the pace to the slowing down at other times.

Just listen to the media file attached! His song, Best You Can, really makes you feel what he feels, and really portrays the world (he said that he wrote this song in response to John Mayer’s “Waiting on the World to Change”, which he felt was the worst song because it symbolized passivity instead of activity.) And it is also what NY is about: being active, doing the best you can do and being the best you can be. That is what NY is for me.

It is, quite simply, a huge honor for me to live in NYC, and I love it here. The atmosphere is amazing, and it keeps you on task, towards your goal of becoming the best you possibly can. The rush that you feel here is the rush of keeping your objectives and your priorities intact and keeping yourself on the right path to success. Clinton Curtis mentioned that NY is the hardest place to stand out, but if you do, it is the most rewarding. NY is, for me, the perfect place to become the best I possibly can, and as long as I have this blessing with me, I know I will strive for that perfect version of me.

Joey Kabariti

**Update: I added the youtube video so that everybody can see what I mean.**

November 15, 2011   2 Comments

My New York

Considering that I was born and raised in Westchester County, I never seemed to really fit the status of a “New Yorker.” Ask any “true New Yorker” and they will tell you that where I live is upstate. I may only be a 50-minute train ride from the heart of Manhattan, but according to “New Yorkers” my hometown qualifies as “country.” For the first eighteen years of my life, New York City seemed to be this magical location, where everything glistened and shined. For most of my teen years, a trip to the city was a getaway from the sometimes humdrum lifestyle of home. Whenever I travelled into the city, I would hop aboard a Metro North train and be transported from the so-called “country” of “upstate” into this bustling, thriving metropolis of New York. The ride along the Hudson River journeyed through several small towns and then through the Bronx. The final leg of the trip was underground. The last ten minutes of the train ride is beneath the streets of New York. And once the train has been disembarked, everything changes and I entered my “New York.” I was not quite a commuter because I was never headed to work, but I was not a tourist either as I felt that New York City was too close to home to be considered a travel destination. Living in New York City is quite different from living in the suburbs. Over the past three months, my “New York” has transformed quite a bit. After moving to Brooklyn in August, I became a “New Yorker,” but there remained this tinge of foreignness. There is a divide between my home in Brooklyn and my home in Westchester. Over the past few months, I have acclimated to a New York lifestyle—learning the subway and bus routes, exploring the streets of the different boroughs. I have spent a lot of my time re-establishing my definition of New York. For me, it can be a place full of movement and progress, but it also holds a sense of confusion and puzzlement. My New York is ever changing and evolving. However, it has become my new home away from home and I’m still always looking for somewhere or someplace new to discover.

Even though I don’t think there is anyone out there looking for me, I’m still “Somewhere in Brooklyn.”


Somewhere in Brooklyn–Bruno Mars

November 15, 2011   No Comments

Where the Stars Light the Nights, New York

I’ve crossed many bridges and scoured all the boroughs. I’ve wandered through the blocks and rode the subway far. I wake up every morning and breathe that New York air. But the city that I know is a city no one knows.

I’m a commuter. I commute. To every nook and cranny. I’ve never solely walked to any place I had to go. They say that walking is specific. Specific to city life. But the only walking that I do is walking from the train.

I’ve passed through many a streets, but not by walking through. I would stare outside the car window as the views ever-change. My mind would wander with the sights I took in.

And because I spent most of my younger years traveling from house to site, New York never felt like home. It felt like a world where things from far and wide converge. I was always on the go. To visit a relative, to walk down the Bronx Zoo, to drive through Times Square, and to watch dragon boats race. And every weekend and every vacation, my family and I would drive to different cities, different states. They all felt so long. A never-ending voyage.

Still today, my trek to school and my journey to other neighborhoods all feel so long. Distant in time yet close in distance.

Actually, I never really knew New York City until recent years. I grew up sheltered, moving from home to school to home to doctor. And despite all the times my father took me around New York, I didn’t consider that as me knowing New York. I didn’t know how to use the subway. Nor did I know that Houston St is not pronounced the same as as Houston, Texas. I didn’t know that Soho and Chinatown are neighbors. Nor did I know what Union Square looks like. I suppose I never felt the urge to explore back then. I was content with staying at home. But when people asked where I was from, I would say “New York City.” Beaming with pride, I hoped they would reply with envy. But the New York City that I live in is not the one they know. Since when does the city have houses decked with vibrant green lawns and wild backyards with massive growing trees whose branches hold three swings? That’s right, my city has that. And since when do people in the city drive a car to get somewhere four blocks away? That’s right, the people in my city do that.

But that’s only one of my views of New York City. The personal one. The one that’s not all like New York City. The one where my dad walks down our road and everyone says hi to him. The one where my neighbors go to church and bring back my family a month’s supply of food. The one where children ride bikes until early evening and teenage boys play basketball on the streets til the dead of night. And everything’s okay. That’s my view of New York City as a “commuter.” A place non-conforming to movie-portrayed ideals.

But at the same time, I also see New York City as a hub of thriving culture, of winding cobblestone roads. Of street performers on every corner and of fancy merchandise sold. Of tourist attractions and of crowded places, filled with people who ignore one another. Of art and music bursting through the air and of diversity, no culture not there. But that’s the New York that most people see and the New York that is boring to me. Well, in the sense that it’s self-evident once you’ve explored this place long enough. I love this New York as an escape from the blandness of my life. But at the end of the day, the New York I really know is the one I grew up in. The New York that doesn’t seem like New York, but it actually, technically is. Where the stars light the nights, and the crickets disturb the silence. Where the tall buildings stand far and I rest home in quiet.

November 15, 2011   No Comments

My New Dublin

Note: I have always been interested in old, yet unsung connection between the Irish and Puerto Ricans. Not only did each have an impact in the modern foundations of the other, but they also are undoubtable connected to New York City. With that in mind I went a little out there in my brainstorm and created a New York that was taken over by… the IRA! This is my envisionment of a different New York, a sort of historical mutation right in the middle of Operation Bootstrap (Industrial development project in Puerto Rico that led to the mass migration).


New Dublin

Valleys of steel, cement, and damned souls not worth saving as far as the eye can penetrate through the smog; Rows, rows, rows of decrepit buildings reminiscent of the lost America. Empire State no longer, The Spire; Brooklyn Bridge no longer, Ha’penny; Rockefeller neither, Donnelly.

Smoke slowly rising somewhere distant, but it doesn’t matter anymore, ‘cause it’s probably shadier than the darkness cast by the buildings, no one will bother investigate and the smoke’ll continue to rise and spread. Its heart purrs, hisses, and dies. Smoke still rises though, refusing to be put out, to be evicted as its victims.  It rises rises rises, it engulfsthe clouds above it like if they were marshmallows. From the white centre, the blackness breaks through, further polluting this “beautiful” city; but sarcasm is unnecessary.

This city is beautiful, a collection of hidden flaws. Well perhaps that would be true for some folks if you never really got off the plane. New Dublin was new, now, and naked, but not untouched. New York wasn’t much different (less Irish if you can believe that) just as dirty, just as dark, and just as shiny.

O’Dwyer was the last “mayor” which doesn’t mean much anymore I suppose; he wasn’t expecting it, poor soul. I wonder if he was used to these streets; if everyday he walked passed the hussies, the pushers, the knaves and wondered, why? Did he used to creep through the sinuous alleyways of the loisaida trying to avoid the bad men? Did he visit the tattered, battered, happy flushing brothels; was he attended to by the abused women; did he feel their scars, did he smell the alcohol on their breaths, did he see their souls? Probably not, he would just have used them like everyone else; and he still wonders why. Why has this brilliant city of artists, muses, and corruption died? It will remain mystery; the first victim of the IRA revolution, poor fool.

Among the chaos, the Irish screams, Chinese bullets, and Latin blood, there is silence still. A silence you can feel all take you like a furry spider crawling slowly almost sensually over your body. It’s hidden though, the spider’s nest, within the dark corners, at the end of this citywide labyrinth silence still lives; more than lives, it thrives. Perhaps on the isolation in which it has survived through everything or nothing at all as is silence’s nature.

This city is wilde.






November 15, 2011   1 Comment

My New York City

Being born and raised in Bay Ridge Brooklyn, I feel like what I call New York City is a mix of what I’ve experienced throughout my life. Many people automatically imagine the city life in Manhattan and the MTA when they think about NYC. For me though I feel like city life might actually only be a small part of what I consider to be my New York. Sure I love going to the city once in awhile to look at the skyscraper buildings, shining lights and to watch the constant movement. However when I take a step back and look at my life, how much of my life have I actually spent in the city? I can’t imagine my NYC life without the picnics I’ve spent in Central and Prospect Park or going to a nearby playground to enjoy the swings in the middle of the night. Below are 4 pictures that mix together to form what I consider my NYC because I feel like my NYC can’t be complete without all the other parts of it.

As someone who loves exploring, I’ve traveled around the city a lot, and I’ve found many things that make our city so unique. The form of expression we have is incredible and I feel like the city is what it is because you get a different feeling when you travel from one part of NYC to another.  NYC wouldn’t be as amazing as it is if people could only feel one thing from it. The first picture is a picture of Shore Road which is about 3 avenues down from my house. The view from Shore Road is amazing, whether you go there for a morning jog, to admire the ocean at night or to watch the sun rise and set. I love going at night and it’s especially amazing during July 4th with the fireworks. Shore Road has always been a place where I can just stroll around at, admire the scenery and smell fresh air. In the morning it’s so quite that it’s unbelievable and you feel like it’s just you and the water.

The next picture is a picture of Prospect Park. I feel like parks make a huge part of NYC. It’s what makes the city even more amazing because even though there are so many buildings and roads we can still find a huge park encompassed by greenery. The parks is what gives our city the serene side where families bring their kids out to the park to just relax and play.

Compared to the park, Times Square itself brings out a whole new image of NYC but it’s also the main image that people see NYC as. NYC wouldn’t be what it is without the constant motion of people and cars. We’re known as the city that never sleeps and in Times Square you’ll always find people there, no matter what time it is. Times Square is where all the main attractions of the city is from Broadway shows to huge department stores. It’s where everyone usually goes to have fun at night. This is the “other part” of my NYC and it’s a more adult like or party like compared to the Shore Road and parks part of my NYC.

The last picture is a picture of the playground near my house. Compare to Times Square the playground is more secure but yet the same level of activity is going on. Even though I’m 18 now I’ll still go to the playground to go on the swings. To me my NYC isn’t defined to a single image because my NYC simply isn’t limited to that. My NYC is a mix of what I’ve experienced and what I’ve taken from this city. There will never be a single image for my NYC because without the other parts, that one image won’t seem so significant.

I feel like the song  A Whole New World from Aladdin would describe NYC perfectly. It’s a song with amazement of the new found scenery and I feel like a lot of people who come to New York City are amazed by what they see and it’s totally differently from their own life.


November 15, 2011   1 Comment

New York City

No offense meant, but this is NYC

I think of Manhattan when I think of NYC, even though I know it includes Brooklyn, Queens, etc…

My New York is encapsulated in this poster.

I took this picture years ago. It’s a poster on a construction site, somewhere in Manhattan. Or actually, I doubt the site is still under construction. I am certain, too, that the poster is no longer there. I couldn’t say what street it was on because I didn’t know when I took it and I still don’t know now.

My friend and I had been wandering around the city when we stumbled across this sign. It just made sense, given the circumstances. We were lost, with no phone between the two of us…. nuf said. We did have a camera, though, which -as we all know- is what really counts.

Looking back at it, I appreciate that it represents a spot that no longer exists. The fence on which it was posted is probably gone, because in NYC, buildings are constantly going up and fences coming down.

And most of what I discover in NY (or Brooklyn or Queens or Staten Island) I never intend to find. I’m usually lost.

It also doesn’t really matter what it was advertising. It didn’t pop out at me then and it doesn’t now. NY is all about advertisement. Everything anyone sees is trying to sell something- electronics, happiness, beauty supplies, comfort, stability, home goods… It’s not so much the actual message so much as the ambiance. I expect to be bombarded in NY. It comes with the territory.

…the wandering…the buildings…the transience…the stupidity…being lost….

This poster speaks of movement and action and life (because who doesn’t do one or two stupid things in life) and that is MY NYC.


November 15, 2011   1 Comment


This is a little abstract. Sorry guys. Click the link, if you please.


November 14, 2011   2 Comments