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Meet Mentor in Residence Michelle Cohen

Michelle Cohen Final

By Caroline Cakebread, Junior Newhouse NYC student and MAG major

Although we miss the awesome Cheryl Brody Franklin while she is on maternity leave (of course!), the Newhouse NYC students are excited to spend time with the four women who are serving as our Mentors in Residence while she is away. To help you get to each one, we will introduce them here over the next couple weeks.

First up is Michelle Cohen, the integrated marketing manager at Macy’s and an ’08 Newhouse grad. Michelle is “obsessed with Syracuse” and excited to be able to use her experience to help the Newhouse NYC students as they navigate their interships and life in the city. She has lived in NYC for the past five years, and we sat down to get her top tips for tackling the city as a young professional.

1. Conquer the Subway 

The subway is essential to living in NYC, and getting on the right train in the right direction is hard enough. But what about the moment when you proudly arrive at the correct station and realize you have no idea what exit you need to take? All of those minutes blankly standing on street corners add up, and Cohen suggests downloading Exit Strategy, an app that tells you which way to leave the station to get to your destination in the shortest amount of time.

2. Eat on a Budget

Cohen tries to be “good” and stay on budget by buying groceries and cooking at home but “cooking for one is hard,” she says. To cut costs she buys all of her food from Trader Joe’s, and all of her produce from corner fruit stands. She was skeptical of the quality at first, but saw all of her friends doing it, gave it a try, and hasn’t looked back since. Everything on the stands is insanely cheap, and according to Cohen lasts way longer than store bought produce. Another grocery hack: Order on Seamless, but choose pickup instead of delivery to save those few dollars on tip.

3. Experience NYC

“I’m one of those people that loves just putting on headphones and walking around the city,” Cohen says. “It’s one of the best things about NYC, you find new things on every corner.” As a foodie, she suggests checking out Vanderbilt, a food hall near Grand Central Station, and when the weather gets warm, the Smorgesboard outdoor food market that pops up at a few places around the city.

4. Chill Out

Cohen is a big fan of finding time for zen, and when the city gets overwhelming she likes to go to the park, put her music on, and zone out for a little while. She says that having a solid group of friends or family to touch base with is also important. Whatever it is that you are stressed out by, they are probably dealing with the same thing. To meet new people, Cohen joined Zog Sports‘ kickball and bowling leagues, and says she is still close with the people she met there.

5. Budget, Budget, Budget!

Cohen moved into the city after three years of commuting for her home in Long Island, and quickly learned that she needed to be on a budget. But she says that even on a shoestring budget, you can still do a lot just by planning ahead. Sticking to a set budget is key, especially for new city dwellers who might get overwhelmed by the extensive but expensive options of fun things to eat and try out.

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