Be You, Do What You Do

New York City is a city full of life and millions of people. What is it that sets aside the successful people from the typical New Yorker? It is something so uncomplicated, so apparent, and so diverse at the same time. Everyone on the Earth possesses something that sets them aside from every other human, besides fingerprints and the like. It is what makes us, us. Who we are is defined by this uniqueness. Showing this piece of us, being proud of it, and even flaunting it is a step toward owning that expensive penthouse overlooking Central Park.
When a business is hiring, the main thing they are looking for in prospective employees is what they are going to bring to the office besides an overpriced Starbucks latte. They are looking for something within the prospects resume, personality, style, appearance, and pretty much anything else fathomable that sets them apart from the rest.
No matter how simple it may seem to be who you are, many people have trouble doing it. The problem first arises in elementary school where the last thing children want is to be different. Not fitting in is an enormous fear for kids. They need to have all the hip clothes, the newest Jordans, the most expensive game systems, and the list goes on and on. The thing is we realize eventually, or we don’t, that none of those things even matter. Being who we were made to be is so much easier and more fun.
Being unique can also be taken too far. There is a fine line between being unique and being out of control. Putting eight different colors in your hair is probably not something you want to do if you are looking to become successful. The key to being unique is to not actually thing about doing it. If one just did what they like to do, did things on their terms, wore the clothes they felt comfortable in and stopped trying to be like Bennifer and Brangelina, people would still notice them.
What is the point of trying to be like someone else? It has already been done. What employer will want to hire an employee who is phony? What kind of image will that bring to the company? For sure the company is not trying to use the slogan “Use us, we are no different then the other”. The beauty of being alive is the fact that no two people out of the billions on Earth are the same. It was meant to be that way. The world would be a dreary place if everywhere where we looked we saw the same shirt, haircut, and shoes, or if everyone listened to the same “cool” music.
In today’s society, all that is unique has lost value. There is no more culture in people; they wake up, go to work, go home and repeat. Relativism has become the new black. It is extremely rare that we are able to find people who know the truth of what life is about. Being thankful for who we are and genuinely loving every millisecond of it is exactly the way to become successful anywhere. I will close with a quote that will further emphasize my point that being who we were made to be will bring us success in life although it is not necessarily monetary success. “Simply because you can breathe, does it mean you’re alive?”

Copy Blogger

The blog world is growing each and everyday. People of all ages, races, and religions have their own blogs and are posting new blogs everyday. But with all of these blogs out there, where does one start reading? What sets aside the successful blogs from all the others? Copy Blogger is a very popular blog that gives others helpful advice to other bloggers. The reason Copy Blogger is so successful is because it is easy to navigate, has an attractive design, has an established following, gives readers something to take away from each post, and possesses cutting-edge ideas.
Easy navigation is an essential quality to posses in order to have a successful blog. Even though today’s society is mostly technology literate, there are still people who have trouble using computers. An organized blog allows even these people to find whatever it is they are looking for. People become stressed out and flustered when what they want is not right in front of them. Ultimately, this will lead to people leaving the blog’s page and going elsewhere to find what they are looking for. Copy Blogger’s layout allows readers to find what they want with very little effort. Everything on the page is labeled and under subcategories. As if that is not enough, there is a search tool where viewers can type in what they are looking for and it will almost surely be found.
There are plenty of people everywhere, especially in New York City that will say appearance is everything. When it comes to blogs, this undoubtedly holds true. People are drawn to beautiful things; naturally a blog with a good color scheme, pictures, and other eye candy will receive more traffic thus making it more successful than a bland blog. Copy Blogger’s design is not the finest the blog world has seen, but it is appealing while remaining tasteful and reserved. The colors are basic and do not hurt the eyes. Also, the text is easy to read because the colors are not too similar or clashing. Some blogs have chosen a color for their text that makes viewers squint or strain their eyes; not to mention click the little red “X” in the right hand corner of the window.
One of the most important qualities of a successful blog is the aspect that deems it successful, a strong following. There are numerous reasons why a blog could have high traffic, but in the case of Copy Blogger, I believe it is because they give people advice and free help. In these struggling times, people are looking for anything that is free and valuable. Copy Blogger gives advice to people with blogs on how to get more attention. Their advice seems to work for their own blog since they are receiving 150,000 visitors a year, 55,000 subscribers, and 22,555 followers on Twitter. When a person views a blog for the first time and sees that it has a following like this, it is very likely that they will want to see what all of the buzz is about. Most will see the numbers and think, “If it has this many views, they have to be doing something right”. Not only does traffic cause more traffic, but it influences the writers to write more and more and keep posting.
Copy Blogger gives advice on attracting traffic to a blog by giving online marketing advice. Viewers take away a new technique or two each time they visit on how to receive more attention for their blog. It is important that blog readers take something away from any given blog each time they visit; it is what keeps them coming back. Blog subscribers can’t wait to read the next post, so they sign up and are notified every time there is a new one. If there were nothing coming out of these blog postings, the result would be zero subscribers.
The ideas presented in Copy Blogger’s postings are very useful in today’s society. These cutting edge ideas are exactly what people are looking for in this time where computers and technology are taking over. A company can have an amazing product or idea but not be able to get it out to people. A blog is an excellent way to reach a huge, diverse audience over the internet and Copy Blogger gives helpful hints on how to do that better.
To sum up, Copy Blogger is flourishing because it embodies all the components of a successful blog. It does not take an expert to see that if a blog is providing a service for free, in this case helping people market their own blog, people are going to visit that blog and most likely, they are going tell their friends.

Go Green?

The concept of “going green” is something we New Yorkers see in writing at least ten times a day, but how many times do we see it in practice? I propose that one way to improve New York is to place recycling pails, much like the garbage pails already in place, on street corners all around the city. One reason for this is because there are millions of newspapers that are disposed of improperly every day. If these pails were in place, a good amount of these newspapers could be recycled and ready to be used again. Bloomberg, put your money where your mouth is.

Born and Raised in CBGB

New York City is home to thousands of musicians and even more listeners. Throughout the years, there have been many different genres of music developed and one of these is Punk Rock. One of the reasons the Punk genre grew popular and went global was because of a music venue in New York City by the name of CBGB & OMFUG. Not only that, it played a major role in advancing Punk music.
In December of 1973, one of, if not the most, famous music venues in the world opened its doors, CBGB & OMFUG. Hilly Kristal, owner of Country Blue Grass and Blues, opened up shop in the Bowery section of New York City to what at the time was a venue for exactly that. During this time these musical styles received tremendous amounts of airtime on radio stations all over America and were being played in every jukebox; it was the trend for a long time. One day Kristal was approached by a group of leather-clad men who were interested in playing at the venue. These hooligans were definitely not about to play banjo and harmonica, but this is where the rest of CBGB’s name comes in, OMFUG or Other Music For Uplifting Gormandizers. A gormandizer usually refers to a ravenous eater of food but according to Kristal, here it means “a voracious eater of…music” (CBGB). Kristal booked the show and thought it was absolutely terrible. Many bands from this genre, called Street Rock at the time, saw this place as an opportunity to start playing gigs and the Kristal received many more inquiries from these Street Rockers.
The Ramones, a four-piece from Queens, New York was one of these bands and went on to play over 100 sets at CBGB and even today is considered to be the quintessential Punk band. It was by no accident that The Ramones played at the famous venue because at the time, there were no Rock and Roll venues. If a group wanted to play original Rock and Roll at any other venue, they were out of luck unless they had a record contract. Fully aware of this, Kristal made CBGB’s policy, “I made it policy that the only way to play CBGB was to perform only your own music” (The History of CBGB). He encouraged every band to play their originals, make their statements and do it loud. This is exactly what happened. Bands from all over the country began to play at CBGB and the venue started making some serious cash despite its appearance and location. Fans did not mind stepping over drunks or dodging beggars, they had a place to call their own.
The country was in recession, by now Nixon was impeached, and the Vietnam War had just come to an end leaving young people everywhere with a sense of emptiness. They wanted something to hold on to, something that was their own, and something that they could do to illustrate their emotions during these trying times. At the same time, Disco music was stealing listeners away from Rock and Roll. The bands of the late 1960s and early 1970s stood no match against Disco even with their face-melting solos that went on and on and on. So, Rock music went back to basics and Street Rock became Punk Rock.
After Punk Rock was established and bands along with fans started piling in, it was time for the next step; getting Punk and CBGB & OMFUG noticed by the music industry. Kristal was well aware of the fact that the Newport Folk and Jazz Festival was scheduled to come into town, so he took total advantage of its audience and scheduled his own festival at CBGB the same week. His plan was an absolute success and press from the Newport Festival heard wind of the festival at the Bowery largest club and flocked to see what all there hype was about. This exposure along with the reopening of another Rock and Roll Venue sixteen blocks away, that had been closed due to a change in ownership, sparked the beginning of the Punk Scene in New York. This newly established Scene as well as Boston’s Punk Scene that came about from the help of a venue called The Ratskeller solidified the beginning of a new musical era; the Punk Era.
More and more music industry peoples started to come into CBGB on a regular basis, which ultimately led to The Ramones receiving a record contract and took Punk Rock global. Their first tour was in the United Kingdom, which further spread the Punk Rock scene and style. Much like in America, British teens were angry and wanted a way to get back at the establishment and they began to do so through Punk. However, they took the Punk style and made it a lifestyle. The Punks in Britain started wearing torn jeans, ripped shirts, bullets on their belts, high boots and if that was not enough, they had outrageous hairstyles most commonly the Mohawk. While American Punks had bands to listen to such as The Ramones, the Sex Pistols blew up in Britain and their Punk Scene started growing as well.
Without the help of the late Hilly Kristal and his club CBGB & OMFUG, this world may not have ever seen the success of Punk music. Many people would have absolutely no problem with the absence of these dirty, loud, ripped-jean wearing, Mohawed, ink-ridden Punks, but therein lies the beauty of it all, Punk music was all about doing what you want and not caring what anyone else thought. With that, I leave you with a quote to strengthen my thesis written by Richard Hell of The New York Times, CBGB “housed the most influential cluster of bands ever to grow up or to implicitly reject the concept of growing up under one roof” (CBGB & OMFUG: The Bio).

Take A Train, Any Train

The instant after one swipes their MetroCard and proceeds through the turnstile, they are entering the underground circus we New Yorkers call the subway. Over five million people use the subway to travel everyday in, out, and around the City. By taking a ride on a city train, one can truly experience New York because it contains all of the essential New York elements. The subway system truly represents the pure and concentrated essence of New York because it is animated, efficient, diverse, full of panhandlers, and raucous.
When one thinks New York, one of the very first thoughts that come to mind is how full of life it is. The subway system is no exception to this idea. While walking through the station, there is a very good chance that someone is putting on a show right there in the middle of the afternoon rush. Performers play on their makeshift drums that most of us call buckets, make amazing melodies using a bow against a saw, sing along to old blues songs, and play guitar riffs resembling Jimi Hendrix’s style. Once you have passed these musicians and have found a seat on the train, you are not completely done hearing everything the subway has to offer. The door connecting your car to the next opens and what else but a mariachi band comes through. They stand together, forming a circle, and wearing traditional mariachi band attire, sombreros and all, begin to play. After they are done going around asking for donations, they proceed to the next car. If these performances alone were not enough to convince someone that the subway is full of life, maybe the sheer amount of people who pass by them in ten minutes will. Over 5,000,000 people ride the subway everyday to school and work, to learn and get paid. With all of these people using the trains, it is undoubtedly a fast-paced environment.
People are always in a rush down in the subway. It as if some of them have very carefully planned out their schedule from the time the wake up until the time they get to wherever it is they are going in a way that they must run from one train to the next in order to avoiding standing on the platform waiting for the next train. Other subway riders have not done this, but instead they are part of what I like to call “the green line dash”. At one of the major train stops, Union Square, the second the arrived train doors have opened, it is an all out race to the platform where the 4, 5, and 6 train come into the station. There are two kinds of runners in this race, the line runner and the weaver. The line runner takes a straight path to the next train without a care of what is in his/her way because they know that anyone that is, will move. The weaver finds wholes between other racers and zigzags their way to their destination. Another reason why there may be all of this rushing is because of the straphanger’s number one rule; first come first seat. Since there are so many people taking the train and there is a limited number of seats, the first person to see the open seat and gets to it, sits.
Once one is settled in a seat, the next quintessential New York quality is found, diversity. Who is sitting next to you? Perhaps it is one of the easily noticeable camera-wearing, MTA-map-reading, backpack-slinging tourist. This person could be from anywhere at all in the world and is definitely not the only one from that country to have sat in that car in the last two hours. Maybe it is the typical businessman wearing is tailored suit, tie, and over coat whose hair was very carefully combed into place strand by strand and is reading one of his six newspapers. Also, it could very well be that you are sitting across from a homeless person who is surrounded by all of their possessions that have been put into bags and placed somewhere on a cart. For now they are asleep, but later on they could be working that train to earn some cash.
Panhandlers are all over New York, but one place they can call “home” is on New York City trains. These entrepreneurs come selling candy for their basketball teams, schools, or any other organization they can think of and at a dollar a pop, make ordinary train riders their customers. Nothing is better than satisfying a hungry stomach on the train then one of these businessmen to walk through the door, Hershey bar in hand. Another type of panhandler that has already been mentioned but is a major part of the subway system are the performers who go from car to car playing for whoever will listen. They walk around with their hats out after their number and hope for some donations. The last group of panhandlers kicks it old school. They are dressed in dirty clothes, haven’t shaved in weeks and simply ask for money. They have no gimmick, they are homeless and poor and searching for change. They start off with “Ladies and gentlemen…” and continue with their request for anything you can give them. Their cry for help goes unheard to the riders who are plugged into their iPods.
The noise level of the subway system is unbearable to some; these people work for the MTA and wear noise reduction headphones. As for the rest of us, we have to deal with the rumble of the trains as they zoom by on the middle track or come to a screeching stop in front of the platform. As well as the noise from the trains, there are announcements being made constantly over the speakers that are totally incoherent. When the performers play on the train at a reasonable volume are in absence, there is still a cornucopia of music blasting from the headphones of a fellow riders who listen to their music at a dangerous volume; something I am guilty of doing.
In summary, the subway system of New York embodies all of the necessary attributes of quintessential New York. It is animated, efficient, diverse, full of panhandlers, and raucous. Truly, there is no better way to experience a bite-size portion of New York than to take a ride on the City’s trains.

3rd paragraph of evaluation essay

People are always in a rush down in the subway. It as if some of them have very carefully planned out their schedule from the time the wake up until the time they get to wherever it is they are going in a way that they must run from one train to the next in order to avoiding standing on the platform waiting for the next train. Other subway riders have not done this, but instead they are part of what I like to call “the green line dash”. At one of the major train stops, Union Square, the second the arrived train doors have opened, it is an all out race to the platform where the 4, 5, and 6 train come into the station. There are two kinds of runners in this race, the line runner and the weaver. The line runner takes a straight path to the next train without a care of what is in his/her way because they know that anyone that is, will move. The weaver finds wholes between other racers and zigzags their way to their destination. Another reason why there may be all of this rushing is because of the straphanger’s number one rule; first come first seat. Since there are so many people taking the train and there is a limited number of seats, the first person to see the open seat and gets to it, sits.

The View From Here

Walking is something most of us do everyday, but we hardly ever stop and think about the beauty of it. We were not born with the ability to walk, it is something we have learned to do and has come close to effortless. People walk for different reasons including exercise, transportation, socializing, and sight seeing. While we walk, we do not pay attention to each step we take, but to what is going on around us with the exception of some situations when our only concern is to arrive at our destination as fast as possible. My favorite walk to take is on the bike path along side the Belt Parkway that wraps around the western tip of Brooklyn. This walk creates a quintessential New York experience because there are breathtaking views of the Hudson, the Verrazano Bridge, and the New York City skyline.

This sun is just starting to set as I began my walk on the edge of the water. The view from here is soothing. As the waves crash onto the rocks, I feel a cool mist and it brings my back to all the days I spent ogling out at the open water. There is something about it that seizes my attention. Perhaps it is the joy of being free, flowing, and going somewhere without a care in the world of where it will take you. Maybe it is the water’s mysteriousness or possibly its beauty.  There are so many questions I ask myself while looking at the water. What if I was out there, floating all alone at night? There are no lights; I wouldn’t be able to see my hand in front of my face. What would I do? That would be terrifying I think to myself, as I pay no attention to walking for it has become an involuntary motion.

Just as I begin to let my imagination take over, I see lights in the corner of my eye. The view from here is marvelous. It is the Verrazano Bridge and reality sets in again. I begin to wonder how it was built, and situated into the water. I have heard stories of how it was made, but it was never all that clear to me. However, every time I look at the enormous crossing, I am reminded of what I do know; men died building this bridge. As the large concrete supports were being filled, men accidentally fell in and were buried alive under cement as it kept pouring in; there was no helping them.  They died for its purpose, its massive size and most of all its magnificence. It stands as the longest suspension bridge in the world with hundreds of thousands of users each day, typical for a travel route in New York. To think, that at one point this great mass of steel was not here is nearly impossible to fathom. I couldn’t help but notice that the lights on the bridge cast a blanket of light onto the water below it. I fixed my eyes on it until I passed it by and was no longer in my sight.

I continue onward while traffic blows by me on the parkway. It is not very absurd to be a few feet a way from speeding vehicles in New York. The view from here is familiar. Across the Belt, I can see a few public parks. One of which is my High School’s baseball field. Immediately I am brought back to my days at Xaverian, going to class and walking through the halls with friends sharing good times and bad. Furthermore, our spring gym classes that we spent playing on this field. We would toss around a football almost as often as each other. I wish I were able to go back to those days; they were great times shared by great friends.

Lastly, but certainly not least, I have come to the end of my walk, the 69th street pier. The view from here is picturesque. Across the water, the countless lights of Manhattan flood the sky, and as I stand looking out at the cityscape, I have never felt so alive. The path I have followed has brought me to a place of wonder, beauty, and life.  I can gaze in awe at this magnificent sight for hours on end with a plethora of questions circling in my head. How was it imagined? How was it brought to life? How can something as chaotic as “the city that never sleeps” be so peaceful and relaxing from a distance?  One can only marvel at this splendid skyline. When people think of New York, one of the first things that they picture is this view before me. All the towers in a line resemble a mosaic of steel, stone, and glass; perfectly placed and engineered. The City would not look better had it been painted on a canvas in front of a bright blue sky.

Walking to me is never really about walking, but where I am going and what I will see along the way. People stuck in the city are too busy walking a straight line to even take a glimpse at what is in front of them. If only they took a few minutes to stop, look around, and take everything in, I’m sure they would enjoy the view.