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The First Weeks: 6 Fun Things I’ve Done in NYC So Far

By Daniel Denning


Even though I’ve only been in New York City for a little less than three weeks, I’ve done a lot of exploring. Being from Long Island, I’ve always been close to the city, and though I’ve been here quite a few times, this is my first experience living here and feeling like a true New Yorker.  Surprisingly, I’ve quickly learned how to get around–and it’s helped me do some amazing things. Here are six of the most fun things I’ve done (in no particular order).

1. Being a Part of a Talk Show Audienceharry

When my friend asked me to see “Harry,” Harry Connick Jr.’s daytime talk show, I was confused because I didn’t know he even had a show. The last time I saw him was as a judge on “American Idol.” Regardless, I decided to attend just because I’ve never been part of a real TV show audience. Boy am I glad I went because I had such a fun time!

One of the most interesting things was talking to the camera crew about their jobs. One cameraman (pictured above, bottom right, in the gray sweatshirt)  told us all about working on “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve with Ryan Seacrest.” “Trust me, I’m team Mariah,” he told us. Maybe she didn’t deserve all of the hate she got after all.

We also got to see supermodel Naomi Campbell teach Harry how to walk a runway in high heels.


However, I think the most fun part was when he invited the audience to dance on the floor with him. He even shook my hand! I would definitely recommend attending a talk show at least once, even if it’s on a show you didn’t know existed. One warning: be prepared for a lot  of smiling, standing, and clapping!


2. Going to an East Village Comedy Clubcomedy-club

Image source: Eastville Comedy Club website

On the first weekend of the Newhouse NYC semester, I visited the Eastville Comedy Club with a couple of friends. I’d never heard of any of the comedians before, but they sure were funny. The coolest part: political jokes were not out of the question at all. The Donald Trump jokes were endless. It showed me for real just how liberal New York City really is.

Side note: I also learned that it’s common for places like this to include a purchase minimum. When we went, it was a two-drink minimum. The hot chocolate my 20-year-old self was forced to order wasn’t that bad–but it was a lot better than having to pay for a ticket to get in.


3. Going Out to Eat with Friends

  Back on campus, we go out to eat with friends all the time. However, in New York City it’s a lot different for two reasons: It’s more expensive, and more fun. When you save a little bit of money for going out, it is definitely always worth it!

First, we went to Cloister Cafe (pictured above, left) on a whim because all of the other places had long waits. Another day we went to Rubirosa, a planned trip because one of my fellow Newhouse NYC peers, Carrie Kaiser (ADV ‘18), told us we had to try the Tie-Dye pizza. Both random stop-ins and planned trips are great options because most food in NYC is amazing. Carrie was right, by the way, that Tie-Dye pizza (tomato sauce, cheese, and pesto–pictured above, right) might just be the best pizza I have ever eaten.


4. Attending an Open Mic Nightopen-mic-night

Image source:

Since my roommate is a musician, we decided to check out an open mic night, another popular attraction in the East Village. We went to a small place called Sidewalk Cafe. There were so many people there to perform! Most of them were musicians, but there were also comedians, motivational speakers, and poets. As much as I love a good night at Funkin’ Waffles in Syracuse, this open mic night blew any other away.


5. Seeing the Bowery Muralbowery-mural

The Bowery Mural is located on the corner of Bowery and Houston Street and is a famous spot for street artists. It is painted over all the time to include all kinds of amazing images. For the latest mural (pictured above and below), my friend Ada Lam (ADV ‘18) and I got to see the artists paint it!


6. Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

Finally, one of the best things to do in NYC is walk the Brooklyn Bridge! The view is breathtaking. I’ve seen the NYC skyline many times while driving over bridges and driving near NYC, but to be on foot and taking it in slowly was such a cool experience.


Yes, it hasn’t even been three full weeks, but I’ve already seen so much of what New York City has to offer. Fortunately, I’ve barely scratched the surface. With three months left of the program, I am going to continue exploring and trying things I’ve never done before.

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