New York – Dictionary

I have been here more than two weeks already. Time is flying by. In honor of having gotten the geography of the city under my feet, (and subsequently realizing that my friends/family/readers probably do not know New York as well as I do) I have decided to create a set a brief set of descriptions of the places I mention in my blog, in addition to my weekly summary. I am calling it my New York Dictionary. It will become one of the permanent tabs on my blog.

New York Dictionary

Manhattan: One of five of the boroughs of New York City. It is the most famous, and wealthy, borough of Manhattan. Home to one of the most eclectic collection of people in the world.

FIT – Fashion Institute of Technology: A prominent fashion school in New York, as well as throughout the United States. Where I am staying, in student housing, for the summer. It is located in Chelsea, a trendy (notably fashionable) neighborhood in the borough of Manhattan. Home to many creative, and occasionally vapid, minds.

Chelsea: One of the most well known neighborhoods in Manhattan for shopping and retail business. Hip, expensive, and increasingly filled with tourists. Located adjacent to Midtown, the Theater District, and Hell’s Kitchen. Home to many unique new buildings made out of glass and other reflective materials, as well as many buildings which have not been recently renovated.

Midtown: An area located in the borough of Manhattan precisely where its name would indicate- midtown. It is between downtown and uptown. Many corporate offices and major New York attractions are located here. Examples include: the New York Times HQ, the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building, the Chrysler Building, and Carnegie Hall.

Hudson River: The river that runs along the west side of Manhattan. Green, murky, cold. Definitely not for swimming.

Hamilton Heights: A neighborhood uptown located in between 135th Street and 155th Street. Originally home to its founder, Alexander Hamilton, and now home to the City College of New York, many beautiful 19th century brownstones, and a rapidly changing population. Currently recognized for its emerging gentrification, which is increasingly being acknowledged as not providing economic assistance to the underserved communities in the area. My office is in the middle of the neighborhood, on West 141st.

Lincoln Square: The revered, traditional home of classical music and dance in New York City. Hosts the New York Philharmonic, the American Ballet Theater, and Juilliard. Located on the Upper West Side of Manhattan on Columbus Avenue between 62nd Street and 65th Street.

Washington Square Park: A famous park located in SoHo adjacent to NYU. Very popular with both college students and local, it is known for its large archway and fountain. Hosts a wide variety of recreational activities, including cooling off by the fountain, exercising dogs in a pet park, playing chess at picnic benches, listening to street musicians and reading on the grass in the shade.

The Lake: A man-made reservoir in the center of Central Park. There is a 1.5 mile trail which is popular amongst New Yorkers for jogging and afternoon strolls. One of the best places to view the skyline from the interior of the city.

Chelsea Market: An collection of expensive, organic (mostly food) stores in a revamped warehouse in the Meatpacking District selling everything from customized pickled-vegetable sushi to hand-knitted Tibetan scarves to spices and dried fruits from South America. Very popular from the yuppie, affluent hipster crowd. Only worth visiting to smell the scents of fancy food and splurge on a singly item or two of your choice.

Gansevoort Market: A slightly more affordable version of the Chelsea Market, on a smaller scale. An open-air market with similar fare to the Chelsea Market, only slightly more affordable (for a reason undiscernable to me- perhaps because you are buying your food from stalls, not stores). I actually much prefer this market to Chelsea. There is significantly more light streaming into Gansevoort Market (as opposed to the Chelsea Market, which is enclosed and dark), and the people seem slightly friendlier. (I also discovered the Gansevoort first, so there’s also that).

The Meatpacking District: Formerly, as its name would indicate, a grungy part of New York City composed mostly of meat warehouses. Now, a wildly popular neighborhood in Manhattan filled with expensive, “urban-chic” restaurants and shops peddling over-priced locally-sourced food and work-out clothes to tourists and locals alike (as long as they have enough money to blow).

Riverbank State Park: A beautiful park overlooking the Hudson River in Hamilton Heights off of 145th Street. It has a cultural center with a pool, recreation fields, and a lovely shaded picnic area. Frequently used by local organizations to host community gatherings. Also very popular with families who have young children on hot days. A quality public pool for the underserved masses in Harlem.

Levain Bakery: One of the best bakeries in the country New York City. Make a variety of baked goods, but is known world-wide for their amazing, gigantic cookies. Lightly crispy on the outside, gooey and decadent in the middle, these expensive threats are well worth the splurge every so often. Many people are fond of their classic, chocolate chip walnut cookie, but I personally like their double dark chocolate chocolate chip cookie. They have two locations- one on the Upper West Side on the corner of 74th St. and 10th Ave., and another in Morningside Heights, on 117th Street. Expect a wait of at least half an hour on the Upper West Side, and perhaps 10 minutes in Harlem.

Magnolia Bakery: A well known bakery in the West Village, featured in many a New York tv show. Traditionally respected for its classic cupcakes, these have faded from popularity as newer bakeries have popped over the last few years during the cupcake craze that swept the country. Now the locals come here for their pint-size personal tubs of ooey-gooey banana cream pudding.

The High Line: Once dilapidated rail road tracks running above/through the Meatpacking District and up into Chelsea, have been recently (in the last five years) transformed into an innovative raised park overflowing with both flora and tourists. Now is an extremely popular Manhattan tour location, as well as being a great place for locals with children to stroll on a nice afternoon and look out over the Hudson River.

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