Exploring NYC After Growing Up Just Miles Away
It’s hard to believe the spring semester of Newhouse NYC is over. We asked the students to reflect on their time in NYC, and here is what spring Newhouse NYC student (and recent BDJ alumna!) Kristen Eskow had to share about how she finally became a NYC expert after growing up just miles away.
For almost my entire life, I have lived just miles from what many consider to be the greatest city in the world. My earliest memories of New York City date back to when I was just five years old–my parents took me to see the Radio City Christmas Spectacular just weeks before the holiday. I remember standing outside the theatre, staring in awe at the venue’s iconic neon lights.
Growing up in northern New Jersey brings back many other memories of NYC as well. Visiting the Bronx Zoo in first grade on a class trip. Waking up to the surprise of tickets to “Phantom of the Opera,” my first Broadway show, on my 16th birthday. Marching in the St. Patrick’s Day and Columbus Day parades with my high school marching band.
However, I had never been to the city on my own. I had visited Midtown Manhattan, but I would have no idea how to get around by myself. Two summers ago, that changed once I got my first television news internship at Fox News Channel, located near Rockefeller Center. After practicing the commute with my dad, I became acquainted with the numbered grid of most of Manhattan’s streets as I walked from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, at 41st Street and 8th Avenue, to the Fox News headquarters, at 47th Street and 6th Avenue/Avenue of the Americas. To this day, I never walk through that area without taking at least a quick glance at the “crossroads of the world,” Times Square.
But as a summer intern, I never really went anywhere else besides where I needed to be. With the Newhouse NYC semester, however, I was faced with two different experiences unlike my previous summer internships.
First, I had to quickly become familiar with the city’s subway system since I typically take a train from the bus terminal to Columbus Circle, near the offices of CBS News for my internship with “CBS This Morning: Saturday.”
Second, I was suddenly surrounded by a tight-knit group of Syracuse students, and most of them had hardly ever seen New York City. Another student from the NYC area decided to plan an excursion for the entire group downtown early in the semester. After having brunch, we walked to an observation area right next to the Brooklyn Bridge, which I had never seen in person. Then, we walked over to the 9/11 memorial, also a first for me. Growing up in the area when 9/11 happened, this was very powerful for me to see.
After this experience, I became excited about what lay ahead in the semester. Combining this with my knowledge of the New York City subway system, I felt empowered to explore many parts of the city for the first time.
Early on, I walked around the Upper East Side, where many of my friends live in the Educational Housing Services dorm. Near the Fisher Center, I began to explore Midtown East, walking along Park Avenue and visiting Grand Central Terminal for the very first time.
Over the course of the semester, my adventures broadened beyond areas I was familiar with. I went to Chelsea for the first time to see Chelsea Market. I ventured downtown once more to see City Hall (where I saw Mayor Bill De Blasio leaving the building!) and the New York Stock Exchange on Wall Street. I spent one morning at the Museum of Modern Art. I also explored many neighborhoods for the first time by just walking around, such as Soho and Greenwich Village, and I even took the Tram to Roosevelt Island.
In addition, I saw many parts of the city for the first time through my internship at CBS, where I get to go out on shoots for stories running on our show. We once went to Harlem to interview Chef Marcus Samuelsson and met former Beastie Boys member Adam Horovitz (a.k.a. Ad-Rock) at one of his favorite eateries in the Flatiron District.
Soon, I’ll likely be leaving the area to work at a small-market television station as a local news reporter. But I have learned so much about the city right in my backyard over these past few months, and I plan to keep exploring whenever I can. Who knows where my future adventures might take me?