NYC Village Halloween Parade

New York’s 46th; My 1st Encounter With the Annual Halloween Parade

Thursday, October 31 was not marked as Halloween but rather as the Parade on my calendar after hearing about the iconic organization held conveniently (from campus) on 6th Avenue North of Spring Street to 16th Street. The distance itself was enough to convince me but the event was so highly promoted and advertised across platforms that not attending was not an option, and it was so for a good cause.

From customized head to toe metro card outfits and people in IT costumes looking creepier than the movie character to families dresses up as the Addams Family and out-of-this-world make-up skills displayed in various forms, you name it, the parade had it.

The visual feast opened with what felt like an immersive invasion of likeable skeletons so powerful for engaging the crowd that it certainly boosted everyone’s mood and righteously set the expectations high.

Even random passersby were dressed as if they have been working on their costumes for the past five months, which a considerable majority of them likely have. What separated this particular parade from any other is the fact that it is has its foundational basis on the involvement of the public. In other words, the people marching, singing, dancing, cheering, or just standing to watch and film were all New Yorkers showing off their extravagant and unique styles in the best platform humanly imaginable.

This is America so Hong Kong Protestors, Warren Advocates, and LGBTQ+ Activists were obviously immersed in the crowd yet their messages didn’t surpass the spirit of Halloween by any means. The rides provided lasting entertainment for the crowd through their much-needed providing of energizing music and interactive approaches. There was just the perfect balance between spookiness and joy; it was very colorful and inspirational yet also creepy and unexpected.

At the end of the day, the effort put into this organization and the extent to which the general public took Halloween seriously deserves to be respected and appreciated at the very least. The amount of freedom, the level of diversity, and the means of interaction were all very specific to the culture of New York and the parade really reflected the uniqueness of the city since a majority of the bold looks couldn’t be handled by most societies.

The Halloween Parade was certainly a benchmark on my process of Becoming A New Yorker as it was a great example of partial culture shock and major admiration of the city but more and more examples are yet to come so make sure to stay tuned!

Until next time,

Yaprak

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Celebrities Uncategorized

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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Uncategorized

“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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Uncategorized

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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Uncategorized

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.