Welcome to the Big Apple-The Student Edition! 

New York is a vibrant city where you will encounter people from all walks of life. It is a city of history, of change, of immigration, of resettlement, and of contradictions. Everyone is able to carve out a space in this city. Graduate students, artists, scholars, immigrants, tech workers, and millionaires co-exist. Summer is the best time to visit New York. It will be hot for sure, but you will experience the most dynamic time in the City like no other.

   Photo by Element5 Digital from Pexels

First, you will never exhaust food options when you are in New York. Around Midtown where the conference takes place, you can find many food options from Italian cuisine, to Korean BBQ and to Mediterranean food. The food industry in New York is expanding (NYCEDC, 2016). My favorites in Midtown area are Han Bat, a Korean restaurant at 35th and Broadway, and Ravagh Persian Grill at 30th and Fifth Ave. Of course, you should venture further south to Chinatown, and to Jackson Heights in Queens to enjoy dumplings and Indian masalas. If you are in a hurry, food trucks are some of the best options. The Halal Guys is New Yorkers’ favorite. You will have generous portions of chicken or lamb over rice for less than $10. Recently, many food halls have been opened in the City. They offer great opportunities for you to try many different types of food from Döner Kebab to Banh Mi in one location. Chelsea Market, Smorgasburg, or Turnstyle Underground Market will not disappoint you. 

If you are into arts and art history, go to the Museum Mile, which is a stretch along 5th Avenue that is full of museums and art institutions such as Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, Museum of the City of New York, and Cooper Hewitt National Museum of Design (https://www.ny.com/museums/mile.html). One of my favorite museums near the Museum Mile is the Frick Collection. It is a private collection of old-master paintings and fine furniture. Students get discount tickets, and on Wednesdays between 2-6 p.m. you can pay as you wish. If you are interested in modern art, the Whitney Museum of American Art is a must. It is housed in an impressive modern building in the Meatpacking District in Lower Manhattan. Taking the entrance to the High Line, you can exit the museum and enjoy an afternoon walk on this famous public park built on a historic freight rail line on Manhattan’s West Side. I highly recommend you get an ice cream at La Newyorkina after a museum visit. Nothing would complement your museum experience better than having a delicious coconut passion fruit ice cream on a hot summer day.

If Broadway, and off-Broadway shows are your ideal entertainment after a long day of conference, you will have many options. Getting a ticket at one of the Theatre Development Fund’s discount ticket booths might save you up to 50% of the cost (https://www.tdf.org/). New York is also home to some of the world’s best comedians. I highly recommend comedy clubs here. You can book a show in advance at Gotham Comedy Club (https://www.gothamcomedyclub.com), Comedy Cellar (https://www.comedycellar.com/), or Upright Citizens Brigade (https://www.ucbcomedy.com/). If you are interested in attending shows such as The Daily Show, The Late Night Show, or Full Frontal, you can simply enter the lottery on their websites to win a free ticket to these shows.

Each neighborhood in New York has a distinct character; and walking in a neighborhood is the best way to experience it. I highly recommend the Garment District Walking Tour led by Mike Kaback (http://www.mikesnyctours.com/). Mike is a native New Yorker, a former garment worker. He was actively involved in the labor movement in the garment industry in the 80s. Now he shows visitors some part of the vanishing New York that he knows and loves. Recently, the tech industry is increasingly exerting its influence in the City. When you stroll around the Silicon Alley area, which is centered around the Flatiron district in Midtown, you will recognize various signs that the tech industry is changing the landscape of New York.

If you need some quiet time towork or to rewind after a long day of conferencing, Central Park, and its various meadows are ideal. Otherwise, New York Public Library’s 92 branches are a perfect quiet place to work for a few hours with free Wifi. My go-to place in Midtown is the Schwarzman Building, located only three blocks from the SSSP meeting, where one can marvel its beautiful structure (https://nypl.org/locations/schwarzman). Or if you simply need some caffeine, Café Grumpy at 42nd and Lexington will provide you with a perfect cup of coffee, and maybe some quiet place to work.

Finally, transportation is very important. A 7-day metro pass will help to reach virtually everywhere in New York. Or if you want to cycle in New York, I highly recommend Citi Bike. In the summer, you can also take the ferry from 34th street to go to Queens or Brooklyn.  Do take advantage of the subway, and go to Little Italy in the Bronx, or Coney Island in Brooklyn. Again, New York welcomes you.

Nga Than
Ph.D. Candidate, CUNY Graduate Center

Local Arrangements Committee, 2018-2019