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How to Maximize your New York City Experience


Senior ADV major and Sunshine Sachs intern Lydia Chen reflects on her semester as a Newhouse NYC student. 

With the sounds of Christmas music and the scent of pine trees in the air, this wonderful semester in New York City is coming to an end. Having been a student for 15 years, for the first time, I’m not looking forward to winter break because there is still so much left to do in NYC. Even though I experienced so much, I still wish I could have packed more into my 109 days in NYC. For future Newhouse NYC students, here are five tips for getting the most juice out of the big apple in just one semester.

1. Never eat at the same place twice, not even for take-out.
There are more than 1,600 pizzerias in NYC. If I were to try a new pizza place for every single meal (and assume I eat three meals a day), it would take me a year and a half to check all restaurants that have “pizza” or “pizzerias” in their name off my list. This example is a little unhealthy, but you get the picture.

2. Walk when you can, take the subway when you must.
The NYC dorm is a five-minute walk to the 6 train which runs vertically through Manhattan, so I’ve been spoiled by the subway. Despite the convenience, you won’t be able to see the beautiful boutique window decorations, smell freshly baked bread from bakeries, or say hi to puppies that joyfully run by. Though I check into every single new place I visit on my phone, one thing I wish I had done was to highlight every single street I walked by on a physical map of Manhattan. If you can complete this quest, you’ll gain the bragging right of saying you’ve been to every corner of NYC…literally!

3. Make every weekend count.
Thanks to Netflix, TV shows can wait. There are so many fun things to do in NYC every day, you shouldn’t take any of your off days “off.” In addition to museums, Broadway shows and seasonal festivals, you can always find more things to do with apps such as Time Out New York and Eventbrite, or by simply Googling it. Everyone should sign up for The Skint newsletter, a list of free and cheap events in New York. PS: If you are into Broadway shows, go to TKTS 20 minutes before the shows start. Most of the time, you can get very cheap center orchestra seats and don’t need to wait in line very long.

4. Talk to people in the elevators.
I intern on the 17th floor. Sometimes, after rushing into the elevator, I would see an unfamiliar face and a lit number 17; and then I would smile and wait for the long elevator ride to end. You should never do this. Although we’ve met so many alumni during panels and field trips, networking doesn’t only happen during class. Step out of your comfort zone and start conversations with people you meet in elevators, or anywhere else. This program is the best “excuse” to introduce yourself, so use it while you can.

5. Embrace the fact that you aren’t a “New Yorker”…yet.
After living in the city for a while, I found myself knowing the subway etiquette and getting impatient with slow walkers. But it is okay to look up and admire beautiful architecture, to ask people for directions, and to freak out when celebrities casually pass by. And at the end, you will know you are more than just a visitor to the city when you can write a blog post on “How to maximize your New York City experience.”

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