the wonderful world of veena.

30 March 2014

11 of 52: a working holiday in new york city.

I know I am late on getting this post up, and I will do a full review with my thoughts on all the places I visited and things I did in the coming weeks [months?], but I did want to get a quick little post up about my recent trip to New York City.

[day one: maggie and i met adam braun; got my books signed; met brandon stanton; scored a free t-shirt]
As we all know by this point, I have been working with The Wandering Samaritan for almost 3 months now. I have been helping Jason, our Founder and Executive Director, with a number of things during the organization's launch, but until last week, we had never actually met in person. Being that he is a friend of my brother's, we had a connection, but getting to New York is difficult and expensive when you don't have an income.

With Jason heading to south Asia for the month of April, and with an influx of friends moving into the NY area, we decided it was time for me to make a quick visit for us to meet and hammer out some details of things I need to work on while he's gone, and also for me to get to spend some time with all my fun friends in the area.

[day two: slowly learning my way around the subway; asian feasting at home; binge-watching first round ncaa games]
I was in town for 7 days, and it was pretty awesome. I FINALLY got my bearings in the city and made a dent in learning the subway system, which I am going to chalk up as a win. I ate a lot and drank more than I should have, but it was a great week of both working and playing in a really cool city.

I stayed with my cousin Abi in the Nolita area of SoHo and spent my days wandering into Jason's area and Maggie's home in different parts of Brooklyn as well as up into Union Square and the Upper West Side.

[day three: impromptu subway jam; making lots of lists for work; romantic dinner with moo; the headless horseman; discovering some south in the middle of manhattan]
I got to meet Brandon Stanton of Humans Of New York and Adam Braun of Pencils of Promise and got my copies of their books signed. I got to visit the Girl Rising offices in Manhattan and meet many of the people who are working on the campaign and the video. Jason and I visited the Foundation Center and got a crash course on how to utilize their online resources to help us in our work. Sastri came down from Poughkeepsie for a day, and we spent the afternoon wandering through the dinosaur exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History. Maggie and I fashioned our own pub crawl and ended up discovering some fun places, both near Union Square and just down the road from my cousin's house. And to top it all off, Maggie and Tyler joined Abi and me for a super fun night of dinner and drinks before my last night in town.

I have long been fascinated with and intimidated by the idea of New York City. As a child we took a family trip when I was around 7 or 8, so it's a hazy blur of visiting our family friends on Staten Island, seeing the Empire State Building and the Statue of Liberty - and getting to ride the ferry! - and seeing an Amitabh concert at The Meadowlands.

[day four: salmon benedict for brunch; visiting the dinosaurs; best friend bonding; late afternoon stroll through Central Park; feasting on some ribs and fried okra]
I was there in early September of 2010 for a whirlwind visit of 3.5 days, and I just never felt like I got settled in. I arrived there after 6 weeks of traveling in Europe and was pretty exhausted, and the subway system confused the crap out of me after two weeks of the user-friendliness of London's Underground. I had a great time, but I just never felt grounded, and I was eager to return and prove to myself that I could find my way around and figure it out.

I was able to do that on this visit, and I have to admit that I fell just a little bit in love with the city. I know part of it is because I was there for such a short time, so I definitely left wanting more. Would I be as enamored if I lived there full-time? Who knows. It would depend on where I lived, who I lived with, how busy I am with work v how much time I have for fun things and enjoying everything that goes on in the city.

[day five: first unofficial wandering samaritan meeting; the 'best pizza in town' according to jason; playing around with some temporary tattoos; hashtag competitions]
But will I be back? Definitely. And probably sooner rather than later.

other highlights included: getting to stay in DC an extra day because of the snow. pretty much everything else is listed above.

[visiting the girl rising offices in the abc building; my first ever deli sandwich; nutella-filled awesomeness for dessert; hanging out with tyler; amazing 3am pizza]
A week in a fun city of working and hanging out with fun people? I could use a few more of those.

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