It's that time of the year again, folks. Nothing like the excuse of a sporting event to prolong the holiday eating habits! The 2015 showdown is extra special this year for this Rutgers alum, as one team (the Patriots) has a sizeable chunk of RU kids.
As some of you may know, I'm still currently in the middle of creating opportunities for my professional career. The majority of my interviews, of course, take place in New York. And of course, near-weekly train rides into NYC become costly and quite frankly, a bit tiring when you later find that you aren't quite what the company is looking for, but the cycle nonetheless continues.
And even though I'm also looking out-of-state for my next career move, it's always good to keep life in perspective, so here are five things I love about New York City:
1. The Personalities
Every person you meet will have a distinct personality that only comes to fruition thanks to constant contact with other people. It's a tired cliche, but NY really is a melting pot when it comes to the different types of people you'll meet, as everyone is trying to get somewhere with their own stories to tell. Unlike a small town office where you can guess somebody's life story, at Al Roker Entertainment I worked alongside an LA transplant, a former college professor turned reality tv show producer, and an art school graduate from Ireland with the hair and accent to prove it.
2. It's Incredibly Walkable
So I was basically born and raised in the suburbs for most of my life. Out of milk? Fifteen-minute hop in the car. It's always been a struggle to come home with piping hot pizza instead of the lukewarm pie from the ten-to-fifteen minute car ride. But in New York? Everything is a quick jaunt away, and walking is so very good for you (although the city air isn't so much). Any quick errand becomes just that: a quick errand thanks to the ability to just zip out, instead of the whole ordeal it takes to get in the car and fight temperamental suburban housewife drivers (or is that just me?).
3. The Diverse Neighborhoods
Being able to walk through different neighborhoods just by staying on one particular street is such an experience. I had lots of time to kill one day, so I ended up walking Broadway from the Financial District all the way up to around Columbus Circle. Buildings, people, and energies literally change before your eyes during strolls like this, and I can't recommend it enough to tourists who have the time, or who plan out their days accordingly. Just on one street alone, you can go from getting in the way of harried-looking i-bankers to checking out uber-stylish Soho-ites to bustling past hopeful-looking Knicks fans to giving a lost family from North Dakota directions in Times Square to elegantly elbowing impeccably-dressed Upper East Siders for Laduree macarons.
Jay-Z/Alicia Keys explain it best:
4. The Energy
It's palpable the moment you enter the city. Everybody wants something and are just trying to figure out how to get it/there. Industry titans make NYC their home base, or at the very least, have a sizeable branch in an equally impressive building, so the ambitions of executives trickle down to the temps with a dream. It's a state of mind the city embraces, just as it does (albeit slightly begrudgingly) with its fresh undergrads from Iowa to the SVPs looking to unseat their higher-ups.
5. After Hours Activities are Countless
Post 9-5 grind, the opportunities to unwind are countless. It doesn't matter if you faintly enjoy an activity, New York will help you either get sick of it or expose you into a downward spiral Foodies can literally go crazy here thanks to the plethora of eateries and Instagram opportunities. Sports fanatics can take their pick depending on the season. Are you into libations? You can choose from a kale-pineapple-chia seed juice (my homemade ones have never garnered any complaint) to your local hotel bar's newest take on the Penicillin--or just have both, it's your body (and wallet).
Growing up, I'd join my mother in watching some of her Chinese soap dramas regaling tales of ancient politics in a land I had only some relationship with. As I grew older I'd realized they were just an Asian version of the Bold and the Beautiful, but of course, to me as a child, being only able to understand 60% of rapid, native-accented Chinese only made those shows seem even more magical.
Which is why news of the renewal of Marco Polo on Netflix for a second season makes me so happy. It allows me to connect both with those dramas of my childhood (and now I can fully understand them, thanks to the show centered on Kublai Khan's court being in English with a smattering of Chinese in the background) but also as a Chinese-American who still finds the dearth of Asian-American faces in Hollywood to be disgusting. Much as I relish being mistaken for Lucy Liu, why is she the only Asian actress people can readily name, when Asians make up a sizeable chunk of the world population?
And as for whether it's worth watching? Well, I admit that I leave it on to play in the background as I apply to jobs, so my opinion of it is skewed. I also...ahem..do not have a Netflix account, so it's not like I wasted the subscription fee. From a superficial standpoint, the early episodes seem to have trouble with pacing, but there is much less gratuitous nudity or violence than its most relevant counterpart, Game of Thrones (which should definitely be important to anybody). The titular character is boring and carries a whiff of the "ethnic story as told through a white hero's eyes" but not so much that it stains the entire show--and the other characters more than make up for it. Not only are the actresses incredibly beautiful, but their character backstories in navigating a patriarchal society would permit an A+ from Gloria Steinem herself (theoretically). The show also makes it a point to differentiate the different subcultures living in China at that period in time, which I greatly appreciate. The $90m in production values can definitely be seen, from the sumptuous wardrobe and sets, if you enjoy period pieces and GoT is having you in withdrawal mode.
I'm just still blown away by the nuanced acting, and the fact that the cast is mostly Asian with individualized characters, refusing to pander to stereotype. I'm really hoping that Marco Polo and the upcoming comedy Fresh Off the Boat will really open the door for the Asian-American perspective (that, and the comedy brings back some serious nostalgia for me).
Bridging the gap between my LinkedIn and Instagram.