May 19 2009

The ‘New York Style’ Recipe for Success

Published by under Essays

To summarize the overly quoted Frank Sinatra song: if you make it in New York City, you will make it anywhere, plain and simple. This assertion, however, seems to imply that becoming successful in New York City is not the easiest of tasks. Perhaps it is like an elite four-year college in itself; upon graduation, your New York City success diploma becomes universal. This may sound ideal and dreamy but it requires acknowledging the criteria or means for success in New York City. Although, the definition of success is relative, within the boundaries of New York City it is evident that individuals with passion, ambition, and a strong work ethic are among the few who benefit from greater life chances[1]and are thus more likely to become successful.

From Broadway to Radio City, New York City has been a haven for aspiring artists, many of which owe their eventual success to both the city’s resources and their genuine passion. New York City is a cultural conglomerate and it therefore requires that successful individual’s be truly passionate about what they do. Whether you are a play writer who is passionate about entertaining, or maybe you are an actor who is auditioning for a short film, New York City rewards those individuals who exhibit a certain level of passion in whatever it is they do. Moreover, New York City’s stance as a strong supporter of the arts has demonstrated how it rewards those who chose not to compromise their genuine interests.

Another important factor for success is ambition, which has recently acquired a negative connotation given the ruthlessness of the individuals who took down our economy with greed. Nevertheless, New York City has become famous for ambitious individuals; from small business owners to CEO’s, successful individuals are on a mission to constantly improve themselves. More than often, those who are most ambitious benefit from economic mobility. Therefore, in order to make it in this competitive city, ambition is a necessity that is often rewarding.

I witnessed an obvious example of New York City ambition while walking around Union Square, noticing a long line of professionally dressed individuals along the side of a building that seemed to be housing a business exposition. Men in power suits, women in blazers, all holding a folder or some sort of portfolio were waiting diligently for admittance into the event. Immediately, I thought, this is the kind of professional ambition you might only see in New York City, which has never lacked talent. Given the abundance of professionals that roam the city’s streets, it is palpable that for an individual to succeed it requires a greater level of ambition and perseverance.

It appears that ambition and passion fuel the work ethic of many New York City individuals and the very essence of that ethic is what prompts their eventual success. Hard work is evident all around. There is the street vendors who apparently spend well over twelve hours outside through all sorts of climates. There is also the businessman who wakes up every other day in a different city. Maybe it is the immigrant working a mediocre to provide for his/her children, or the college student working to pay off loans, whatever motivates your willingness to work hard can often be the basis for success in a city as abundant as New York City.

                The person with the big house, or apartment in our case, does not characterize success in New York City. A freelance writer might feel as successful as a Wall Street executive despite the obvious difference in wages. What makes this city great is the fact that success can present itself in many ways. Not everyone agrees on the definition of success, nor on the means to achieve it.

[1] Life Chances are the opportunities individuals are presented with to increase their quality of life.

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May 12 2009

Blogging Lessons at

Published by under Essays

            You often run into blogs that focus on celebrity news and gossip[1] but rarely do you hear of a celebrity maintaining their own authentic blog. Therefore, while reading an article in Complex Magazine I was intrigued to find that hip-hop artist, producer, and now designer, Kanye West, had a blog that he personally updated. Knowing Kanye West as a man of controversy, (we all remember his infamous assertion that “George Bush does not care about black people”) I sought to evaluate if his blog deserved to be bookmarked and whether it can serve as a model. Given its authoritative and genuine voice, appealing design, and contemporary content, I quickly realized why this blog has such a strong following while staying true to the author’s interests.
            If there is one fact about Kanye’s blog, it must be that it is truly genuine. Seeming more as if you’re strolling through the pages of “Flickr”, his blog is in great part a collection of pictures of exclusive high-end items, which he finds interesting. In turn, his readers find the items interesting as well. Whether it’s a picture of a new sports car, or a new video release, on most post you will see a hundred comments within the hour. He must be doing something right.

            Another aspect of Kanye West’s blog that I find interesting is that it has authority. Even if your blog is low profile, with a certain level of confidence you might manage to fool some people, and I believe that is the case for this blog. Although, overall the blog deviates from the standard blog with full article posts, there is still some sort of interest that is drawn from Kanye West’s position as an urban icon. In other words, his blog would most likely continue to draw the same attention, even if all his posts were ramblings about his fabulous lifestyle, simply because he has established himself with a certain degree of authority.

            Kanye West’s following is palpable from the little link under each post which indicates how many readers have commented on that particular story. Although, celebrities are bound to draw attention on most of what they do, I still believe that this can serve as a model for others who look to establish a consistent following of readers. In order to do this, it is essential to know the audience you intend to appeal to because let’s face it, you cannot be appealing to everyone. Surely, there are people who might visit a blog like Kanye West’s and quickly move their mouse cursor towards the top right of the screen.

            Of course, we are not all celebrities and might have to work a little harder to acquire the following that will make our blogs meaningful. In this respect, one can take a few notes from the overall design of Kanye West’s blog. Designed with a solid backdrop and blue lettering, it’s not only cutting edge but appealing to the audience which mainly consists of hipsters. In addition, I often find that blogs that are often overwhelmed with text make them less appealing. You will not have that problem on Kanye West’s blog that features videos and pictures with only titles. If you are interested enough to read more you have the option of clicking in and you’ll see actual text related to the post; simple yet functional.

            I think most importantly is the fact that the author of this blog does not compromise his unique voice to be more or less appealing. This can serve as a model to any blogger who may be concerned about who follows their blog. Kanye West apparently is unconcerned with who reads his blog and he maintains his own voice throughout whether he is giving an opinion or “spazing out” (see link in the introduction).

            Being genuine, maintaining authority in your posts, and focusing on whom you want to establish as your following can all be factors in making your blog more appealing and thus more successful. For a helpful and unique model, see:

[1] and are among the most popular blogs in cyberspace (

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May 05 2009

One way to improve New York City…

Published by under Essays

Like many New Yorkers, I ride the train just about every day of the week. Although, it’s become a standard and unthought of procedure, I can’t help but notice how unreliable the city’s transit system has become. We have all been there: we leave our homes at the same time we do everyday, alloting enough time for the walk to the train station and the actual train ride to school or work. Then all of a sudden, there’s a light switch that’s not functioning or a sick passenger on the train ahead of you. This results in an hour long delay in your commute, and that probably will do it for the rest of your day.

I think the system, although it is massive, can be improved to run a lot more smoothly. First off, how about we simply get more trains running through all lines? Yes it would cost the MTA more money but, it would probably solve all the congestion we now see on trains. The City’s only getting bigger…

Also, trains are typically crowded during rush hours but the crowding becomes more severe as soon as they become delayed. How about the MTA creates a task force that can respond quickly and efficiently to any problems that may prompt a delay during rush hours…

We have all seen this:

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May 04 2009

The Manifestation of Capitalism in New York City

Published by under Essays

            New York City transcends as the essence of capitalism; manifesting free-markets and privatization, this city has encompassed the business ideology that our nation shares and many envy. Despite the appeal and success of capitalism, New York City has also the greatest wealth disparity in the country. Does this imply success is only feasible to some? Or is it inherent in the structure of capitalism? Whatever the case, the New York City economy has flourished in privatization and has exampled how the wealthy cannot exist without the poor.

When people think of the opportunities for success in the United States they might think of one place in particular. Historically, New York City has attracted the larger portion of those who seek the American dream. With a dense population and a seeming abundance of jobs, many immigrants have sought to become New Yorkers to seek economic prosperity and thus fulfill American Dream. Nevertheless, prosperity is never easily achieved, and like in any capitalist economy, it entails the division of classes. Karl Marx might argue that the lower class is arbitrarily disadvantaged. However, success can result out of many things and in New York City, ambitious individuals often transcend the disadvantages that are inherent to capitalism, while others do not.

New York City’s legacy as a source of economic opportunity began with an establishment that sought to serve as the gateway for immigration into the country. Located in New York Harbor, Ellis Island served, during it’s time in operation, as the entryway for twelve million immigrants coming from all regions of the world. This immediately set the stage for New York City’s rich cultural history those who entered through Ellis Island sought to become a part of the flourishing United States economy. However, the city is not immune to the arbitrary laws of capitalism, which requires the division of class and therefore induces the overall wealth disparity.
            The inherent flaws of capitalism are greatly evident in New York City, where the wealth disparity is the greatest in the country. Approximately, 1.5 million New Yorkers live below the poverty line, one-fifth of the entire city’s population (Blodget). This drastic spread between the rich and the poor is inherent to the function of capitalism. If everyone were either rich or poor society wouldn’t function. Therefore, looking into how New York City has functioned, there is evidently a large number of lower class individuals and a select number of wealthy folks, the divide between them drastic. One New York billionaire, David Koch, is worth more, in terms of monetary wealth, than all 1.5 million New Yorkers living below the poverty line combined (Blodget). Given this disparity, many have become resentful of the American Dream and have shared Marxist views that capitalism requires the exploitation of the lower class for the benefit of the rich. However, this extremist view implies that there is no possibility of upward or economic mobility. Conversely, New York City has been the setting of an abundance of rags-to-riches stories that hint of the existence and feasibility of the American Dream.

Individual ambition has played an important role in New York City’s economic mobility. Ideally, those who live in New York are by default ambitious individuals despite what end of the economic spectrum they might belong to. This reinforces the idea that whether you are on the lower end of the income level there is always a chance of upward mobility. This could also justify that, as Henry Blodget from New York Magazine puts it, “wealthy New Yorkers [are] just inspiring examples of the ongoing American Dream.” Quite possibly those on the lower end might draw their ambitions from New York City’s wealth, something that might justify the city’s overall upward mobility during the past years as New Yorkers accept higher standards of living.

The story of Robert Gonzalez, as presented by Jennifer Gonnerman from New York Magazine, helps put into perspective how individual’s lives are often contextualized by our economic system in New York City. A security guard, immigrant, and ambitious individual, Robert sought to come into New York City for greater life chances at success. Getting the best job that was available to him, he worked as a security guard on an insufficient salary that was barely enough to support his two daughters and not enough to move out of his parent’s apartment in the Bronx. Gonnerman tells the story of this individual very well and one commonality exists among the many stories of this kind that New York City exhibits; despite how hard earned an individual’s life may be, they always have hope for prosperity. Although, Robert “wasn’t sure how many of [his] dreams he would be able to accomplish, he set his sights a little lower, on maybe a second job” (Gonnerman 57). Its stories like Robert’s which reveals how a strong ethic and hopes of an American dream drive capitalism specifically in New York City.

Poverty and wealth are two interdependent concepts that must coincide in society in order for capitalism to work. In New York City, someone can take a fifteen-minute train ride and go from one of the richest districts in the country to one of the poorest (Kozol 3). This divide is unavoidable and has become a distinct characteristic of New York City. Poverty seems to be built into the system. In a survey conducted by the Coalition Against Hunger, it is estimated that out of the 3.5 million working New Yorkers, 425 thousand do not have enough to eat. Is this just another one of capitalisms drawbacks or could it hint that our economy isn’t completely fair to all? Or maybe it’s like an obstacle that only the most ambitious overcome.

At the lowest end of poverty is homelessness, something every New Yorker probably witnesses on a daily basis. From walking the streets of even the richest districts to riding the trains, most people have at some point come across the homeless who occupy the city as remnants of broken dreams and those who willingly or unwillingly were unable to adapt to the economic system. Perhaps capitalism can also be arbitrarily bias since not all of us may have the opportunity for economic mobility.

At the extreme of wealth is greed. New York City, as a leading business district, has shed light on the overly ambitious wealthy during the current economic collapse. Although, wealthy New Yorkers could serve as symbols of inspiration they have recently demonstrated how ambitions often outweigh ethics. Recently, Bernie Madoff might come to mind when thinking about capitalistic greed. The mastermind of a $50 billion ponzi scheme has created a dent in the perception of a capitalistic economy. Someone who unethically amounted such great wealth makes those at the complete opposite end of the economic spectrum question their chances at the American Dream. Madoff is among the several figures that have tainted the New York City economy and thus impacted the public view of the country as a whole; one in which the wealthy sometimes find any means to become wealthier even at the expense of their more humble counterparts.

“Economic and cultural evolution has been a constant in the city’s history” (Blodget), and it will be interesting to see how recent events will impact public sentiments regarding our economy and whether the American Dream, one similar to Robert Gonzalez’s, is still feasible in New York City.




Works Cited

“Ellis Island History.” The Statue of Liberty – Ellis Island Foundation Inc.

17 April 2009. <>

Blodget, Henry. “The have-lots and the have-nots.” New York Magazine                                  

Nov. 2006: 39-42. 

Kozol, Jonathan. Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation. New York: Crown, 1995.

Gagnier, Monica. “The Rise and Fall of Bernard L. Madoff.” BusinessWeek.

(6 Dec. 2008). 17 April 2009.
< >

Gonnerman, Jennifer. “A Hard Earned Life.” New York Magazine                                            

Nov. 2006: 52-57. 

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Apr 24 2009

A New York Hero

Published by under Essays

An entrepreneur and creative genius, Ralph Lauren is not only the pioneer of American design but his story also encompasses the American Dream. The progeny of immigrants, Ralph Lauren went on to start up his own company and brand despite having no background experience in fashion. By 1972, he had designed the classic mesh polo shirt that is now internationally recognized and timeless. Soon enough his business grew into a multi-billion-dollar empire… just another one of the amazing New York City success stories we all strive to become a part of.

Although, I don’t aspire to enter fashion, I do admire Ralph Lauren’s accomplishments as an entrepeneur. Also, there’s the fact that he is a Bronx native and attended Baruch.

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Apr 06 2009

New York City Threads

Published by under Essays

Alberto Felix
Professor Penaz
English 2150
6 April 2009

            In New York City, there is always an abundance of fashion. Wherever you go, walking down the streets can often feel as if you are strutting down a runway. Or maybe it might make you feel like a spectator in the front row of a fashion show; one that’s vibrant and dark, over-the-top and subtle.
            Fashion in New York City should not be confused by the threads that adorn the mannequins of your favorite boutique, nor the garments that hang on endless racks at your favorite department store. Instead, it should be defined by the eccentric individuals who frequent our streets and thereby proclaim fashion as a quintessential aspect of the city through events, districts, and media.

            Twice a year New York City’s Bryant Park, at the center of the garment district, is occupied by the leaders in design and the dictators of fashion who collaboratively map out the future of the industry. Fashion Week in New York City is an event that captures the attention of the entire world for it not only reveals innovations in American style but, it is when the city must continue to justify it’s stance in the fashion industry. Although, several other cities throughout the world have a similar kind of event, New York City’s Fashion Week has remained unparalleled due to its ability to set forth the future of fashion. As expressed by the New York City Economic Development Corporation, “It’s here that fashion ideas take root and trends are defined.”

            It is evident that New York City has become synonymous with fashion. Individual’s seeking to differentiate themselves among the multitude of New Yorkers has allowed for the growth of an industry that has spun worldwide appeal. Designer Diane von Furstenberg could not have said it any better, “There’s a buzz, a creative energy in New York City that can’t be found anywhere else in the world” (NYCEDC).This reality has helped create a permanent market that has attracted buyers from all over the world. Just take a trip to Macy’s during the holiday season. Tourists from all over the world and New Yorkers alike become like threads in a knit sweater who tightly cross paths as they both indulge in the city’s most important industry; fashion. Not to mention Macy’s is also the world’s biggest store and is conveniently located in our garment district. Not only are fashionable items easily accessible throughout the city you will also find a culture that considers appearance important has aided fashion’s growth as a quintessential aspect of our society.

             From the Wall Street executive in the slim-fitting tailored designer suit, to the hipster in brightly crisp sneakers and sagging raw denim, New York City has, unlike any other city, been able to encompass all aspects of fashion. Surely, Paris, Italy, even Japan are also known for impeccable style. New York City has, however, transcended as the only city that has been able to converge all these styles with its very own.

            Our distinctive seasons and different kinds of people are among the few aspects that other city’s lack, which have in turn aided our stance as the world’s fashion capital. Designers draw inspiration from the limitless boundaries when designing seasonal clothing. From wool coats to lightweight blazers, New York City’s climate is accommodating of virtually all kinds of clothing. Someone in San Francisco will unfortunately not be able to wear the wool peacoat with the cashmere scarf, unless they intend to suffer from hypothermia. Moreover, unlike most other fashionable cities, New York is able to cater to all sorts of people due to its dramatic diversity. Whether you are a designer who likes to address adolescent urbanites or maybe you like to address a more mature and classier crowd, in New York City you will find your audience.

            Five thousand fashion showrooms can be found in New York City, ousting every other city in the world (NYCEDC). It is no wonder why New York City has become the destination of choice for shopping as well as the home for aspiring designers. Shoppers feel an assurance that they will find something they like, whereas in Paris for example, buyers are constrained by high end and often costlier designs. Also, designers have visibly chosen New York as their enclave for inspiration because it as well is very accommodating. Unlike the exorbitant leases and narrow markets that a designer in Paris might be forced to endure, in New York City fashion design is simply more accessible.
            Given it’s stance as the leader in fashion, New York City has also set a standard in the production of the media channels that report on trends and designs. Someone in San Francisco and someone in Paris are both as likely to be reading the latest publication of Vogue or Gentleman’s Quarterly (GQ); both of whose offices are located in New York City. In addition, New York City is the leader in business and therefore the best marketing firms in the world reside here, giving designers more options for branding and advertising. Because New York City presents fashion across all spectrums of style and taste, it has helped create a broader and more profitable client base.

            In terms of world impact, eccentricity, and accessibility, New York City is on the forefront of fashion. A city that has often been proclaimed the capital of many things can for sure claim that it is the leading innovator when it comes to design. Fashion entails individuality and creativity, both of which New Yorkers often encompass and therefore have become quintessential both locally and with respect to the rest of the world.



Source Cited:

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Mar 30 2009

Sample Paragraph: Cultural Threads

Published by under Essays

From designs to trends, New York City has become a fashion staple; deservingly, as it conjoins diverse groups of people who produce diverse ideas. New York City is synonymous with fashion. From streets that manifest our creativity, events that set trends, people who reflect individualism, stores that suit an industry, and an environment that is abundant with inspiration and design. Clothing brands and designers typically trace some roots to New York City, a brand in itself, which is often the root of inspiration of the designs of clothing worn on a global scale.

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Mar 26 2009

A Crusade Against Business Media: Comedy Central vs. CNBC

Published by under Videos

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The Daily Show's Jon Stewart sheds light on the fallacies presented by business media channels, particularly CNBC, which he claims consequently misled the general public with regards to the true economic standing of Wall Street firms. Jim Cramer from CNBC's "Mad Money" is especially hit for misleading his line of viewer's, which primarily consist of individual investors/"Main Street" folk. It will be interesting to see if the unethical practices in business media Stewart has now openly criticized will lead to more responsible and truthful media reporting...

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Mar 10 2009

A Walk through the Past and the Present

Published by under Essays

Alberto Felix
Eng 2150
Professor Penaz
10 March 2009

New York City’s roots are characterized by a multiplicity of cultures and lifestyles integrated by the individuals who sought to dwell in its ambitious terrain. However, in present day, very few locations capture the entire essence of how culture cultivates New York City.  One of the locations, however, that maintains a visible variety of cultures and encompasses both the past and the present is the Lower East Side. Unlike most New York City neighborhoods, it is difficult to characterize the Lower East Side; contrasting the Fashion District, whose name is self-indicative, or SoHo which is coined for its contemporary appeal, or even the famed Fifth Avenue which is defined by upscale shopping. For the Lower East Side, however, one could say it has a historically immigrant community, or that it’s a trendsetting enclave. Or one could say it is simply diverse. Better yet, one could begin a walk on its streets and indulge in what is evidently an eclectic and multi-dimensional community whose streets are unlike any other, meanwhile, they are able to define New York City wholly. Thus, when considering the quintessential New York City experience, no walk will thoroughly exemplify the city’s historical richness in culture, as one would find in the streets of the Lower East Side.

A walk through Delancey will suffice in giving any spectator the uncut and authentic New York City experience. After all, the vast variety of people and living spaces you will find here are characteristically “New York”. Exiting the J train by the Williamsburg Bridge, you will find yourself in a seemingly barren place surrounded by low-income housing buildings scattered throughout relatively open spaces. Walking up the street, you will notice that the ambience is undoubtedly urban and graffiti drawings on buildings and trucks help reassure this. It is quickly evident that different kinds of people convene on this long street and that they are not necessarily representatives of the environment. Walking through Delancey, you notice a seemingly old New York City, or as I like to think of it, a more thorough New York City; free of all touristic attractions, leaving only the true New Yorkers who frequent these streets.

Walking through Delancey, you notice that the pre-war buildings and underdeveloped spaces are sometimes reminiscent of the streets of other boroughs. Nevertheless, wandering around Delancey you will find intrigue in seeing the new developments’ proximity to these old and deteriorating spaces. For instance, just one block to the right of Delancey, one would believe he or she has entered a new and different neighborhood. On Rivington, there is a dramatic contrast in businesses and buildings that differ from the shady shops on the main street. On one block, I was particularly intrigued at how a modernly designed condominium was erected right behind a housing project. Nevertheless, this evident disparity is a representative of the New York City population. Although, the signs of gentrification are clear in the Lower East Side, the different kinds of inhabitants are surprisingly open to live within several feet of one another. It is as if talking a walk through a historic portrayal of the neighborhood’s roots while at the same time witnessing its future. As if the crane in a construction site is gently adding new aspects to the neighborhood while being careful not to disturb it’s originality.

Despite the neighborhood’s evident diversity, the eastern end of Delancey Street is palpably influenced by the Latino population that has for a long time called this home. On other ends, and with further walking, one begins to witness shifts in people as if navigating through a cultural spectrum. A large Jewish community also, calls part of the Lower East Side home. Continuing up Delancey, one comes to a historically Jewish section of the neighborhood that has maintained its cultural presence since the years of their own immigration into the city. Unlike, any other neighborhood the acculturation that takes place in the Lower East Side is indicative of the entire city’s overall acceptance of differences.

            On Delancey there appears to be an absence of the gourmet shops that have flourished throughout parts of Lower Manhattan. Instead, mom and pop shops dominate the street and are identifiable by their characteristically shady appearance. Some businesses even utilize the term “Loisaida” which describes the pronunciation of the Lower East Side with a Spanish accent, alluding to the time of vast Latino immigration into the neighborhood.

I noticed some of the old-timers trying to maintain ownership of the streets they have for so long dwelled upon. Interestingly, I noticed them on an inner corner within Delancey engaging in a game of dominoes and simple lingering. On the opposite corner, I noticed a relatively large group of trendy adolescents who did not seem to be doing much and seemed to be claiming ownership to the region. Meanwhile, I stood intrigued with how two different worlds can cohabit within a shared space so naturally and New York-like.

Although undergoing the changes that are typical of any modern society, the Lower East Side still exhibits the roots of its historical underpinnings, which parallels the history of the entire city. Moreover, unlike most walks in New York City, few have been as dynamic as a walk through the Lower East Side. With its rich immigrant background and abundance of newcomers bringing further diversity, it is hard not to seek inspiration for writing in a neighborhood as historically true to the roots of the city; a city where many came to seek a dream.

The quintessential New York experience involves moving away from the city’s attractions and focusing on what makes it unique: culture. Given the inevitable modernization that most of the city’s neighborhoods have undergone, only on the streets of the Lower East Side does there seem to be a compromise between the old and the new and the rich and the poor, alike.

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