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Special KIMYE* Edition: The What-How-When-and-Where

Keeping Up With the Kardashians In Real Life

Imagine it is 3 PM on a seemingly regular Friday as you are walking through 6th Avenue and you see a crowd gathered for a cause. You immediately assume there is something or someone important, well-known, to say the least. You approach the crowd, ask strangers or passers-by about the occasion only to be shown videos taken by them seconds ago. Who are on the videos? THE Ultimate Power Couple: “Kimye.” (In case you live in another universe, that stands for Kim Kardashian and Kanye West!) This visualization that seems to be so out of reach just became real for me and here is a quick recap because you know you want to hear it.

Apparently, Kim and Kanye entered a souvenir store, whose significance does not surpass that of the hundreds of similar ones that surround the city. The crowd got denser and denser as people heard who was inside and it wasn’t until I squeezed myself into the very front row that the couple got out. Once they left the shop, the crowd began to follow them, everyone yelling out their names, trying to get a selfie regardless of how cute they themselves look, one of those being me. They cross the street, surrounded by an inner circle of special bodyguards and an extensive outer layer of fans, from all ages and nationalities. There were women aged twice their ages who were fighting over who gets to take pictures as well as grown men crying out loud, driven by admiration, awe, and anxiety all at once.

What was it like to be so close to the overhyped couple, you may ask. Well, it was surreal. You think you know what they look like because you constantly see them online, I know I do, having watched over 10 seasons of their reality show, yet they are much glamorous in real life. Kim’s waist is unrealistically thin and her hips surely don’t lie whereas Kanye is Kanye with his iconic gold chain necklace and yeezy style. It was literally like entering their lives for a few minutes through a Virtual Reality machine; they were real, not distant at all, walking as human beings yet justifiably treated as superior ones.

I should add that the couple was very warm-hearted, regardless of the often-tough impression they give through their fictional identities on press. The very fact that they entered into a souvenir shop that could so understandably be overlooked by them in its purest form is valid proof of patriotism, for show or not. They not only excessively publicized the place, but also opted to immerse into the land of the general public themselves rather than escaping straight into their private cars aided by their special guards. Let it be to gain positive press for Kanye’s newest album Jesus is King or for an overall positive image for their reputation, they certainly approached the crowd with sympathy and gained back theirs.

Kim Kardashian even stopped in the middle of the street to get a picture with a traffic police and the couple was kind enough to smile in my selfies. The bodyguards, on the other hand, were overprotective, understandably so, considering the crowd’s extreme interest in and demand for them. I personally got blocked and even got hit by them when I crossed the boundaries and got a little too close to the celebrities but it was a small compromise for the experience I had, and the pictures I got! This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is one I’ll surely recall years from now and it definitely makes for another experience worth sharing on my process of Becoming a New Yorker!

Randomly coming across Kim and Kanye was definitely extreme, but there is much more to come so stay tuned💫

Until next time,

Yaprak

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Six Flags Great Adventure: To Fright Fest OR Not To Fright Fest

As the fall season began to unfold, my roommate went apple picking with her parents along with other American fall festivities, and Six Flags opened its Fright Fest in honor of the approaching Halloween season.

(@Six Flags: Great Adventure, NJ)

Just as we were looking up for tickets for the special event held at the amusement park best known for the extremity of its next-level roller coasters, my school announced they will be taking some students to the park as an excursion and I happened to be one of the lucky few who have been selected to attend.

It is worth mentioning before diving into the experience that this was a relief because transportation could potentially be problematic since the closest property of the theme park company is located at New Jersey!

(@Six Flags: Great Adventure, NJ)

Whether you are the type of person who rides the ‘most’ terrifying roller coaster five times in a row or you go to amusement parks just for the various cheat- day food options, Six Flags already speaks highly to your demand. Fright Fest, thus takes it to an entirely different level by further intensifying the factor of horrification.

(@Six Flags: Great Adventure, NJ)

There are people dressed creepily standing at every corner imaginable or they simply pop out of nowhere, just as you are distracted by the smog that adds up to the fear created by the unknown aspect. Their job is basically to scare you, and while they cannot touch or hurt you, they are allowed to push the limits of your patience and courage.

One of them indeed chased one of my friends for a while and she was about to get a panic attack! Kids who appeared to be braver than us, on the other hand, returned the creep attempts of those who tried scaring them by mimicking their actions! Thanks to such challengers, one can enjoy the experience even just by observing the reactions of such visitors.

(@Six Flags: Great Adventure, NJ)

My friends in particular weren’t the bravest of visitors so the scariest ride we settled for was a parachute-like lift. If you are driven by adrenaline, however, opportunities are literally endless and there definitely is something to challenge your bravery!

(@Six Flags: Great Adventure, NJ)

Here are some tips I got from experience so that you can make the most out of your experience at Fright Fest: Get yourself passes for the ‘special’ haunted houses, mazes, and shows that are NOT included in your purchase of an entrance ticket.

Apparently, all the things that make Fright Fest what it is supposed to be are offered as extras. If you want to try out many rides and don’t have a fast pass, chances are high you won’t have much time left for haunted houses so pick a side. Roller coasters are always there and if you are dying to squeeze two or three rides in between mazes and other attractions, I recommend that you arrive early and manage your time wisely.

(@Six Flags: Great Adventure, NJ)

Don’t go to Six Flags and not have either a Funnel Cake or your choice of Dippin’ Dots regardless of weather conditions. The ice cream maniac I am, opted for a delicious sundae despite the cold weather but don’t mind me! When you actually get hungry, and not just feel like indulging in those for fun, opt for the classic diners with a modern twist and enjoy chicken tenders or burgers (yes, they now serve vegan patties too) with a side of original French fries. You can wait for the line at Johny Rockets as well if you are that kind of a person.

(@Six Flags: Great Adventure, NJ)

Most New Yorkers don’t have the best impression of Jersey but this daily visit is worth challenging the norm as it promises an adventure. You surely don’t need a seasonal pass since New York has way too many options to limit your adventurous spirit to a single entity but a single trip is definitely worth your time and Fright Fest is undoubtedly the best time of the year to give it a shot!

Make sure to add Fright Fest to your bucket list for this spooky season and thanks for stopping by for this entry’s edition on my process of Becoming A New Yorker.

As always, stay tuned for further experiences on the road!

Best,

Yaprak

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“The” Museum of Sex

Well, Hello Dear Readers!

Today’s highlight is a museum whose very name implies controversial content yet bears great potential for an exciting adventure. When my floor-mate asked me whether or not I have been to the Museum of Sex, I heard of its existence for the very first time but find myself paying it a visit by the next day!

(On our way to the museum @The Subway with my floormates)


Me and my two floormates took the subway and arrived at the museum. The entrance, I have to say, along with the overall exterior was not at all catchy or interesting. Once we got inside through the shop the entire atmosphere changed at a glimpse and the lively environment increased our expectations and intensified our excitement.  Once we purchased our tickets and received our wristbands, things began to get interesting.

(@Museum of Sex, NYC)

You walk from one room or section to the next, each having a different layout; some factual information; others, immersive experiences; visual displays; or interactive play zones. They surely did get creative on providing alternatives to incorporate the subject matter into a public entertainment system.

There are various sexual-themed games you can play inside as well as experiences you can enjoy at the comfort of your seat as various images, splashes of water, hints of air, vibrating sounds, and changing colors come together in the form of a fully immersive sensory show.

(@Museum of Sex, NYC)

It is worth noting here, however, that some of the provided experiences, including but not limited to the bouncy boob castle, the slide that leads to a butt destination, the special five senses show, and the Rodeo ride mimicry require purchasing an additional card with credits up to your choice.

There were also mirrored areas with various shapes and colors in continuous movement in between different sections and they promise a visual feast!

(@Museum of Sex, NYC)

Once we enjoyed the rides, games, and shows as well as got our daily dose of intellectual information overload through the ‘museum’ parts of the museum, we head out for dinner.

(@Museum of Sex, NYC)

If you too end up visiting the museum and get hungry afterwards, pay a visit to Bondi Restaurant located at 6 West 28th Street for an amazing sushi meal. Enjoy a selection of freshly prepared Poke bowls, handrolls, and needless to say, edamame.

On our way back to our dorm, we realized we arrived at the wrong subway station after sliding our cards for a pass but at least we didn’t end up taking the wrong train. We found the right spot soon after but as we were loading our Metro cards the train arrived and we literally had to run and squeeze through the doors as they closed. It sure was an adventure and has made for the perfect ending of such an interesting day.

Stay safe and happy until the next story worth sharing as I Become A New Yorker!

Best,

Yaprak

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Guggenheim, Central Park, Black Tap & Times Square!

Greetings everyone from fall in New York!

As the weather inclines towards winter coldness in New York while still allowing for the mere presence of sunlight, New Yorkers enjoy the not-so-hot but not-yet-so-cold-either season either by engaging in conventional fall festivities such as apple picking or by hitting Central Park for their daily dose of happiness!

Me and my friend, aiming on making the most out of the beautiful weather in NYC, chose the latter option and hit the subway for a visit to the ever magnificent Central Park.

Without an initial expectancy or motive, we found ourselves purchasing tickets for what appears to be a famously renowned permanent collection and special exhibitions spot: “The Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Solomon R. Guggengeim Museum.”

The contemporary art museum with a notable design, located conveniently at 1071 Fifth Avenue on the corner of East 89th Street in Upper East Side, was very crowded to the extent the line formed by visitors appeared as a further motive upon encouragement. Falling in love with the exterior of the unique building, we entered inside with high expectancies and the interior sure fulfilled our expectations as well.

Most of the artwork displayed inside happened to be thought-provoking with some exceptions being merely out of context or simply uninteresting. Some fulfilled the motto ‘Beauty is in the eye of the beholder’; others not so much. But each piece definitely had a story to tell and needless to mention, art is subjective.

What stood out to me the most out of all the pieces and collections the museum housed was Robert Mapplethorpe’s photography section. The controversial nature of his photographs was shadowed by the motive behind their capture and that made his artwork all the more powerful and admirable. His intention to make visible the most unseeable parts of those who are constantly kept under the shadow purposefully resonated in a contemporary context of interpretation.

After visiting all the floors and completing the gradually rising circular-shaped platform, we rewarded ourselves with a much needed coffee break at the heavily demanded Le Pain Quotidien located inside Central Park after a quick walk. Sipping my Pumpkin Spice Latte (with Oat Milk) facing the lake with lots of New Yorkers either chatting, picnicking, riding a bike, walking or running, I surprisingly felt even more inspired than I was at the modern art museum. The people of New York are so unique in not only in the way they dress or look but also in the way they behave that their real-life portrayal offers a considerably interesting vision of life.

Throughout the time we spent ‘drinking coffee’, the crowd did not settle for a less demand for even a single second, if anything, increasing numbers of people appeared. Once we inhaled enough oxygen for a week, we began walking towards the most luxurious streets on Fifth Avenue and did some mandatory window-shopping.

As we got hungry— hungry enough to deserve a cheat meal— we walked through the end of the LONG line of ‘Black Tap NYC’ which is a hit Instagram spot best-known for its house made extravagant burgers and handcrafted crazy milkshakes with more alternatives and certainly more ingredients than you could ever ask for.

After we saw the line, my friend insisted we leave because the approximate wait time was apparently a minimum of 1 hour. Upon my suggestion to wait for a while, we were almost instantaneously seated without having to wait even for 10 minutes because we were a party of two!

As soon as we got seated, the milkshakes with apparent overloads of excessive sugar visually beautified the overall atmosphere of the small but densely populated burger spot. We didn’t have much of a need to satisfy our sweet-tooth so we settled for dinner instead.

I ordered their Falafel Burger with a side of Sweet Potato Fries (they also have Vegan patties upon preference), and my friend opted for Chicken Wings with regular French Fries. Both of us really enjoyed the food and the atmosphere was very lively as everyone was so excited to indulge in their pleasurable food.

I was relieved to not have been the only one who took food pictures as everyone around me seemed to be capturing their burgers, milkshakes, or both, because they were too uniquely prepared not to.

Black Tap is about a 12-minute walk from Times Square so we decided to end the night by embracing our inner tourists by visiting the headquarter of lights and fun. The overcrowded population of Times Square is what makes it as remarkable but after a while it comes exhausting so we left before feeling like so. It implemented in our night just the ideal dose of entertainment and made it even more magical for me to become a New Yorker!

Best, Yaprak

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Buddha Bodai and Vandal NYC

Welcome, Dear Reader, to another volume of unexpected events on my road of Becoming A New Yorker!

Normally, I am not that open to trying out different food but this Friday one of my Chinese friends who lives in Brooklyn came to Manhattan and took me to a Chinese restaurant for lunch. I am a pescatarian — I only consume fish, not meat so the one we went to was a vegetarian restaurant called Buddha Bodai. 

            The benchmark of my 30 minute-walk from campus was about halfway as the diverse New Yorker population suddenly transformed into a Chinese-only atmosphere as I felt I discovered a hidden Chinatown near Soho. Everything written in Chinese, reinforcing their culture, yet taking five steps back meant re-entering New York’s busiest neighborhoods. I embraced my culture shock and arrived at the destination. 

            The menu was in English yet somehow, I had no idea what half of the words meant so I let her decide what we ate. Small plates appeared one after the other and before we knew it, the table was set excessively with food I had no idea consisted of which ingredients. 

IMG_7973           We had vegetarian dumplings, sesame rice, and lots of other traditional items whose names still remain as mysteries to me. Some of them tasted interestingly good and some not so much, half the table I didn’t even get to try because she ordered too much. 

            The taste is not the point here, the interesting road I had to take to arrive there and the conversation I got to have with an Americanized Chinese student is what really matters. These are the special opportunities that make New York, New York. How the entire atmosphere can change with a blink of the eye and how you can engage with people from all backgrounds, always widening your horizons. 

            Another hit event of the week was meeting friends at Vandal, a hit NYC restaurant/bar known for its interesting interior style and social media renowned customer profile. 

IMG_7138

            The vibe you get when you first enter is that the place has been created for Instagram and only for Instagram. The entrance immediately takes you into a room covered in an attractive black and white illusion wallpaper where fifteen women with the same mini, shiny dress and high heels fighting over whose turn it is to get a ‘cute’ picture. 

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            Once you get your Insta-worthy shot, you enter the restaurant through a door covered in the same wallpaper as if you are entering a Wonderland of some sort. The seating area, in my opinion, is not a must-see, it is barely interesting. The customers however, are worth staring at because some really dress up in unconventional ways— so much so you either feel inspired to renovate your closet or to intensify your inner minimalist because seeing how extra they are makes you appreciate the less is more mentality.

            Now, let’s dive into the fun part: Food! For 21+’ers, Vandal offers a wide selection of refreshing cocktails but the minors that we are, settled for non-alcoholic Mojitos. The menu was fine, mostly containing of items that are meant to be shared. We challenged the norm and ordered food separately but the sharing plates of nearby tables seemed to be worth a shot. I ate grilled Branzino (a fancy fish type) and both of my friends had the hyped Prime Skirt Steak of Vandal. Was it the best fish of my life? Have my friends not had better steak before? Would I go again to have it? NO. But the overall atmosphere was definitely worth experiencing but Vandal didn’t appeal to the stomach as much as it did to the eye. 

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            To me, Vandal is nothing more than just another overhyped Instagram destination. I am glad that I have seen it but I do not feel the need to pay a second visit. I took my photo (which took over 45 minutes) and I felt as my mission was accomplished. All in all, neither Buddha Bodai nor Vandal had great food to satisfy my taste but if there is one thing better than great food, it is great time with great people. I have met both my lunch gal and one of my dinner partners in person on that they for the very first time. The power of New York is that it opens doors that are so spontaneous that new opportunities become your best friends and I am so grateful that I have taken the incentive to spend my day full of unexpected twists!

 Best Wishes,

Yaprak

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Artechouse, NY (09.16.2019)

Good morning, Bon Appétit, Good night, from me to you, whenever and wherever you are reading this today!

Every single day at New York is a new, unexpected experience. You would imagine for me to run from one class to another, spend nights sleeplessly studying at the library, drink ten shots of espresso daily, and barely find time to leave for myself. Well, there is all that, except of course, I try to limit my caffeine consumption to four shots a day. Now stop for a second and imagine having hundreds of pages to read and multiple essays assigned for tomorrow in alignment with the midterm season so subtly yet hastily approaching.

            This scenario sounds too exhausting, depressive even. Thankfully, that is not the case — at least it partially is. Classes begun full paced right after the orientation-intended Welcome Week at NYU and I have been assigned new tasks on a daily basis yet somehow, I am not complaining. Well the reason is quite obvious: I am in New York! Every day is a new adventure and the complex simplicity of the unknown factor that is instilled in my daily ‘routine’ fuels me to be hyped at all times.

            Let it be encountering Nina Dobrev or Alec Baldwin on your way to class, having exclusive access to the screening of The Politician with cast members before its stream on Netflix, sitting next to famous Youtubers, photographers, actresses, singers, and even princes at class, randomly winning free Broadway tickets, going to a different concert every day, cheering loudly for Yankees on a Wednesday night even though you do not speak fluent baseball, or simply making friends over common interests like having purple hair, the city has a lot to offer.

@ArtechouseNYC (09.16.2019)

            This week’s personal highlight was a temporary immersive exhibition held at Artechouse, a leading contemporary digital art space located in Chelsea Market. The digital exhibition on display at this time was called “Machine Hallucination.” Being Turkish myself, the fact that the media artist and director of the art installation being Refik Anadol, also of Turkish descent, has sure been an incentive towards my interest. However, the work of the established media artist is guaranteed to attract and appeal to an audience that exceeds the borders of a particular nation.

            I entered the space fully unaware of what to expect and perhaps it was for the best. In its simplest form, you enter a room surrounded with and consisting only of large screens displaying high quality images. As you take a seat on the floor, you find yourself being a part of an illusionary movement. As colors, shapes, and concepts shift seemingly spontaneously yet indeed quite purposefully, you enter a state of becoming both delusional and entertained. You have complex emotions because following the constant movement is too demanding a task yet you find your curiosity surpassing that tiresome resistance and you can’t help but willingly keep up with the pace.

            Would I recommend this experience? Absolutely yes — Assuming you are a typical 21st century individual with a decent interest in what your Instagram feed looks like. This exhibition provides you various alternative backgrounds to get creative and make your next Instagram post stand out. You are literally meant to stay inside the same room for 45 minutes so chances are high that you will capture an artsy pic that doesn’t even need any editing!

            All that said, I wouldn’t worry if I were to miss this particular exhibition because this is New York and a similar or even slightly improvised version of it will likely be offered soon.

            My recommended time frame for this event would be after 7 PM so that you can get out of school or work, bring your A-game on for putting together an Instagrammable outfit and just fully immerse in the experience. Just to give you a heads up if you are interested in this digital art reflection: you will find yourself feeling dizzy, almost nauseous towards the end of the duration. A smart thing to do could be to leave not as it actually ends but as you get all your pictures taken so avoid such unpleasing distress.

            The exit door of the exhibit will magically open to Chelsea Market with more food options than you can ask for. Considering your inevitable need and desire for choosing the most Insta-worthy picture your friends have taken inside, you will have to be seated. If you are lucky enough to find a real seat to grab any food, good for you — If, and unfortunately more likely, there is no seat available for your friend party of five, do as I did with two of my older accompanies: find yourself a nearby restaurant! No matter how late it is, there is always Joe’s Pizza to count on after all.

My accompany for the exhibition, Melis Al (09.16.2019)

            We went to Serafina for some Italian food indulgence and the atmosphere matched our mood as we were neither dressed too streety nor too swelly. At the end of the day, this experience sure was a way of spending a Monday that is specific to New York and the best part is that it wasn’t planned months ago, contrary to how such events are schemed way prior to the dates. This freedom of exploration and living Mondays entertaining at an extent indistinguishable from that of a Monday is just this week’s example of how Becoming a New Yorker is a magical process worth sharing.

Till next time’

Sincerely, Yaprak

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Why New York? Why Me?

The city. That never sleeps. The one with all the lights and all the fun; Endless cabs and harmless crazy dudes; Pink haired Gothic’s and Pierced Lolita’s. Nothing and Everything all at once. Where every day is a Saturday and limits do not exist. Where no one could care less about how you look or what you do yet where how you look and what you do sets the global trends. Where opportunities are endless and spontaneous decisions are somehow carefully implemented in schedules that operate on split seconds.

There is always something to look for, something to fight for, something to get excited for. A new shop, a new exhibit, a new restaurant, or that next gallery opening three blocks away.

The city where dirt and noise seems admirable. Where dreams come true. Where you use the subway more than you use the restroom. Where you walk for 25 kilometers without even noticing. Where you can be entertained by doing nothing and just staring at random passerby’s.

Why New York? Because opportunity. Because inspiration. Because freedom. Because having a purpose. Because working hard. Because having fun. Because you only live once.

I, Yaprak, am an 18- year-old who used to be an ordinary teenager who grew up with a vision of the American Dream. To whom New York was only a summer destination with an inflexible expiration date. A movie scene. A two-week long trip. An unreachable standard. A DREAM.

What was once my biggest aspiration is now my life. I am a proud freshman at NYU, living every second to the fullest, studying in the greatest city possible, appreciating and embracing every opportunity, pursuing every challenge and tackling every obstacle.

As I adjust to the city life not as a tourist, a temporary visitor, but rather as an embodiment of ‘Becoming a New Yorker’, I seek to share my experience with anyone who has any interest whatsoever in New York (The) City and the process of becoming an insider.

More precisely, this blog will take into account what I encounter on my daily life. What is new to me. What is unbelievably true. What I recommend and what I hate. A personal but relatable account. A genuine insight to life in New York.

Nothing too exaggerated; nothing too simple. Nothing unreachable yet nothing too ordinary. Capturing both the hidden and overhyped locations of the city. Get yourself a bucket list out of this content, broaden your horizons, either or both. 

No formality, no informality. Somewhere in between. From me to you. A shared experience— An intangibly immersive one. You will be kept posted as I explore further.

Why New York? Because no one knows what the next day, hour, or minute will bring. I invite you to join my ride of unexpected pursuits— Not just about what to do or eat but about what New York is really like. What people really do, how they really act, live, dress, speak, dance, scream, hug, drink, fight, run, work, party…

How everyone somehow goes to school or work unimaginably early in the morning and how they hit a different party every single night. How there is demand for literally anything. How you can never be unsatisfied, bored or out of options.

As opposed to the cliche, it’s not blondes who have more fun; it’s New Yorkers. And this blog is intended to share why it is like so. 

Get ready to enjoy your front-row ticket to what it is like to become a New Yorker at the comfort of your fingertips!

Sincerely, Yaprak.