Sunday, August 24, 2008

October 23rd

My interview for American citizenship is scheduled for October 23rd at 11:10 a.m. Wish me luck! I have to start studying for that civics exam...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

the great outdoors

Some of you are out there thinking, oh, poor Suvi, she does so like to go hiking in the summer while she was living in utah, how on earth is she surviving living in a huge city? Well, you can set aside those concerns, because I am spending more time outdoor now than ever before. And, I would actually argue that new Yorkers are more in touch with nature and their communities than people living elsewhere. You may disagree with me, but you can’t argue that at least I feel that way.

1) No cars. Since this city is ridiculous to drive in, I don’t have a car, and neither do most people that I know. We ride the subway and buses, and with the beautiful weather, people are known to walk dozens of blocks to their destination and just enjoy the sunshine and scenery. People walk everywhere, and people ride bikes everywhere. Even I have a little bike that goes just fast enough for me that I zip around Brooklyn on (no way am I near brave enough to take it to Manhattan yet. But maybe one day). We are constantly outside, and never, ever in parking lots. While in Utah I had the mountains and great hiking close by, it was by no means a daily occurrence and my universe would consist of the inside of my car from my home to work to the grocery store. I’d be outside for the 48 seconds it took to walk from the car to inside. Now, to get anywhere, I usually need to at least walk a few blocks from my apartment to the subway and then from the subway again to my destination. No cars = more time on feet = enjoy the summertime.

2) Parks. New Yorkers have a love affair with parks. Seriously, there is an obsession with green spaces. Maybe because we are so aware of the massive monoliths of concrete that surround us, that we find ourselves craving and cultivating the little patches of life that pop up in between structures. Everywhere you go there are tiny neighborhood gardens and mowed squares in the streets. There are neighborhood parks surrounded by iron wrought gates with keys only for the residents. There are patches of park, with some grass, but mostly sidewalks and trees and benches and pigeons and musicians playing guitar for dollars and men challenging you to chess in every area of the city. Washington Square park right across from NYU, Madison Square Park… all littered with lunch eaters and sunbathers and dog walkers and children in strollers. And of course then we have our massive green spaces like central Park and Prospect Park, where you forget that the city exists except for the fact that you share nature with a million other people and hot dog vendors. But they don’t really matter at all. They are just there, and they add to the beauty of the parks, the feeling that here we are, escaping the city in some small way, all of us together. Plus, there are ALWAYS amazing fun things to do in the parks—movies, picnics, concerts, plays, amazing people watching, and of course, simply walking around holding hands. Watch out for the squirrels and very brave rats, especially at night!

3) Water, water everywhere. Manhattan is an island, just in case you didn’t know. And so, we have these amazing places to wander along the rivers and over the rivers and on the rivers, staring at the view especially at night time. Some favorite places to walk along the water are the promenade in Brooklyn Heights, the Southstreet seaport, and the Hudson River walkway. And no trip to NYC would be complete without a walk across the Brooklyn Bridge, which means I’ve walked it probably 10 times this summer (and it never, ever gets old. I could walk across every day and be happy as a clam). Of course, one of the coolest things about the water these days are waterfalls created by the Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson. Sure, they are most definitely man made, but who can resist giant waterfalls under the bridge and randomly placed in the river around the city? Mmm, I could stare for hours, and I do. Of course, waster must be appreciated while on it as well, such as on a ferry taking you to one of the islands like Roosevelt Island, Governors Island, and Staten Island. Ask yourself, when was the last time you got to take a ferry to an island? Probably not three times in the last two weeks. Ah, boats. Ah, the salty smell of the sea breeze. Speaking of...

4) Beaches. Oh, so you think that since we are a city, we have no beaches? Think again! What better way to appreciate nature in the summertime than on a beach. Can I just say tell you, that when i discovered that Brighton Beach is a mere 20 minutes from my door, my life got about 10 times better than it already was (which is a lot, since my life is already amazing). But seriously, I adore swimming in the ocean and napping in the sunshine, so this has been ideal for me. And it is so convenient that I can even take a quick dip in the middle of the night if I were to chose to do so... But if hanging out with old Russian men and women lathered in tanning oil isn't your thing, there are countless beautiful, secluded options on Long Island. Ahhh, maybe i'll make my way over there tomorrow...

5) People. People are all over the place, people are happier since the sun is shining, people love being together, especially at farmers markets and concerts and outdoor movies and listening to music in parks and watching fireworks and eating picnics and playing Frisbee and walking and talking and laughing and swimming... My favorite conversations this summer have taken place outdoors by the water. My favorite meals in Prospect Park having a Sunday potluck. The best background music was listening to Bob Dylan playing live while enjoying the company of friends. Favorite commute has been riding my bicycle. Every restaurant and bar in this city has outdoor seating.

So, while it is a different outdoors than maybe you have, I think I've presented a strong argument that whatever you think of New York, this is a place where people love the great outdoors. Perhaps not in a traditional sense, but by gum, we love being outside in the summertime and it shows. Wanna join us next year?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Externalities in the classroom: How Children exposed to domestic violence affect everyone's kids

Since i'm interested in domestic violence, economics and statistics, this study was really interesting to me. Read a summary of it on the Freakanomics blog here.

I just used craigslist to find a roommate

This is a first. I hope it works out. She seems pretty nice. I was going to respond to the guy seeking a sublet, who has been traveling in Europe and claims to be a clean-cut guy, and offer him a place to stay. But I paused for a moment after composing the email and in that moment had a clear realization that I would surely be raped and murdered in my own bed. Because you can never tell from the internet. So I didn't email him.

Disclaimer: yes, there are bad people on the internet. But probably not this poor guy just looking for a place to live in the city. My imagination sometimes runs away with me. And I've been through rape crisis training.

On to other news... I'm so far behind on things to post that I'm just going to focus on little things to write about from here on out. rest assured, my summer has been lovely. I'm now on a slight hiatus from working. I have an a/c and spend a lot of time in front of it.