Success: An Urban Legend?

17 05 2009

The secret to success has been a long lost legend, so to speak, that so many people venture off to find.  Whether it’s through those tacky “get rich fast schemes” or getting the most out of a good education, I believe the secret happens to be different for everyone.  While I do stand true to the ethically and morally inclined motto of “work hard and great things will come,” the fact of the matter is that we live in a dog eat dog world where 99.99% of the time the “nice guy” finishes last.  Yes it is true that a choice group of people are handed their perfect lives on a Swarovski crystal encrusted platter, but for the average joe, hard work, education, and a foot through the door is what you need to persevere. 

            New York City, an economic capital of our fine country and the world, is filled with these so called average joe’s, working hard to provide for their families, pay their rent, put food on the table and clothes on their backs.  Every person has their own rhyme and reason to do what ever it is they do.  This is why the secret to success is different amongst the crowd.  Each and every one of us can have a different meaning of success that we live by.  Success could mean wealth and social status to some, while others can interpret success as a stable life style with a great family, home, and steady pay check. 

            While working hard is only one factor to the grander whole, another important contributing factor, especially in today’s economic down turn, is education.  The job market in New York is a harsh place to be right now.  It’s like a rough game of hardball and there seems to be no obtainable edge during the progression of the game.  Education is the key in a situation like this.  Having the ability to display a college level diploma gives you the upper hand against the majority population who for what ever reason couldn’t see an associate’s degree through to the end.

            While hard work and an education are tow very big and important factors apart of what I would call the secret to success, the most important of all is getting your foot through the door.  What this means is to take the initiative and go out a fight for a place in the work force.  This also means having experience because while someone could have the greatest credentials: valedictorian, top of their class, deans list, 4.0 GPA, it all boils down to who has more experience.  Will this does seem reasonable at times; it is also quite hindering, unrealistic and unfair.  If this person won’t get hired by anyone due to their lack of experience, how will they gain that experience needed to be hired?

            These three factors formulate the secret to success not only in New York, but anywhere you go.  While working hard can be very beneficial to climbing the ladder, there is only so high you can climb to a point where you will be stuck on a rung with the educational barrier halting your progress.  With the addition of a solid education comes a great and many opportunities, but to grab hold of these opportunities before they slip on by is to take the initiative, adapt to the changing competition, put your foot in that door and show the employers “I am the one you want and this is why.” 

            While there are those choice few who ride on the coat tails of their family’s fortune, this is a very rare case.  There are also those groups who live of the connections made either by wealth and social status, or family ties.  While this case is also uncommon in its own right, it doesn’t hurt to know a person or two to help boost you up to a manageable starting position.  This does not substitute hard work, and education, but it does help to get your foot through the door. 

When someone puts their neck out for you by putting in a good word or handing you a job, your performance greatly reflects upon their own reputation as well.  This is the reason why hard work becomes even more prevalent in a situation such as this.  If you were to slack off and not fulfill the duties assigned to you, it doesn’t only reflect upon you but upon the word of your connection as well.

While having some sort of connection can be the difference between being a sales rep. or a manager, it is also a very dicey life line.  Success is much more rewarding and self gratified when you know it was obtained through your hard work gaining an education, your hard work gaining that initiative and putting your foot through the door, and the hard work you put in to prove that the employers had made the right decision.

For some, success is all about reaping the rewards; having the fancy cars, the penthouse, and a pocket that runs so deep that their grand children won’t have to worry about establishing themselves.  But for the majority, success most likely resembles a humble life style with a loving family and stead flow of money to fulfill the necessities as well as the wants.  The secret to success isn’t such a big secret, but it is up to you to find what the word success means to you.



One Stop Movie Paradise

12 05 2009

Ah, the blogging world.  Vast online sites for people to share their views on the latest technologies in today’s world, share their grandmothers recipe for split pea soup, and sometimes the breeding ground for those people who waste their lives hating someone or something with a passion.  The blogging world is grand, spacious, and thriving in today’s modern society.  Being a fellow blogger myself, I set out to find an example of a current, popular blog to get a feel as to what blogging is really all about.  While searching, I based my findings on a simple, five-point criterion to evaluate the practicality and determine what makes a good blog.  Some were extremely repulsive and others quite pathetic, it was hard to find what is considered a “good” blog.  While I myself am brand new to the blogging world, I find it hard to “judge” other blogs, but I happened to come across a blog that not only piqued my attention, but also fit my criteria of being something that is truthful, helpful, is easy to use/navigate, is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, and gives the visitor something that they can take away from the experience.

            The Movie Blog, (www.themovieblog.com) is truly the blog of all blogs, at least if you are as much a movie fanatic as I am.  The Movie Blog is a blog devoted to the likes of frequent movie goers by bringing the latest in movie reviews, updates, and info. straight to the viewer.  The design of this site is aesthetically pleasing to the eye, capturing the magic of being in a real theater and brings excitement to the viewer frantically searching for the latest of the next must-see movie.  As factor of the sites design that makes it work so well is most definitely its navigational capabilities.  As soon as a viewer loads the page, the first thing they set their eyes upon is the “Latest Headlines” section which, as it sounds, brings the latest and greatest news on recently released films and upcoming films right to the viewers screen.  The site is built upon a user friendly interface, boasting the ever simple and ever popular search bar were viewers can type what specifically fits their fancy.  As well as this feature, the site accumulates large, section tabs across the upper boarder to help further narrow a viewers search.

            While truthfulness is greatly appreciated by all, it is a hard goal to accomplish in the movie industry and indirectly, the blogs about movies.  This can be due to leakage of misunderstood or just false facts, or due to the over-excited fan trying to vent their eagerness for the next installment of a beloved trilogy.  Will these happenings are common everywhere, The Movie Blog does its best to convey truthfulness and stay true to it viewers, especially in their review section.  While some reviews are good, bad, and occasionally we have the movie that skips the theaters and goes straight to DVD, the admin and poster of The Movie Blog tries to stay true to the public eye.  After all it is a blog about movies by the people, for the people, although I do believe that some reviews should be reworded with a lack of curses to further appeal to a bigger audience and have more people listen to the message that is trying to be sent across. 

            For someone to visit a blog and take something away after their visit I believe is the main purpose of a blog.  Frequent movie goers often visit The Movie Blog so as to obtain useful information to help further their decision as to which movie is worth the whopping $12.50 most theaters now charge for one adult admittance to a feature film.  The Movie Blog not only grants the visitors with the take-away of helpful incites to movies, but further grants the viewer a pleasant time at the theater knowing they had made the right decision as to what movie to attend.  The worst feeling is the one of stepping out of a movie that you pay $12.50 to see, looked so good in the theatrical trailers, but turned out to be worse than your in-laws meatloaf soufflé.

            Upon completion of reviewing the five-point analysis, it is safe to say that The Movie Blog is the place to go for those movie addicts, as well as the occasional movie goer, for you’re one stop movie reviews, info., and updates.



A Possible Reformation?

5 05 2009

New York, as a whole, is a spectacle to behold. But there is always room for improvement. Isolating one specific issue to focus on and improve is no easy task. If you were to go around the city and ask people if there was one thing that they could improve about New York, what would it be? I almost guarantee that there wouldn’t be one specific answer. There is always a host of issues that New Yorkers like to complain about and amongst those issues; it doesn’t seem that one takes precedence over the other. A reason for that being is that we live in New York, a city in constant flux, and we are New Yorkers. We adapt to the ever changing jungle around us and go with the flow. But if I were to speak in terms of recent times, I believe that people would agree in this waning economy, that the improvement of our exceedingly complex transit system and possibly association is in order.

Despite the current efforts in seeking a MTA bailout, it seems that New Yorkers are looking at an inevitable price hike that will include the suffering of service cuts. To me, and indefinitely many others, this seems like a classic case of highway robbery. How does it seem remotely practical or fair to expect people to pay more for a service that they are getting less out of? Public transit and commuting is a key factor of life in the big city and this situation is currently turning dire. While I am neither a politician nor an MTA executive, I feel that I am not at liberty to say something as radical as “the establishment needs a reformation” or to request a change in authority, but I will say that I feel that much more can be done to solve the current matter in a way that is both practical and affordable in these harsh economic times. But I also feel that it’s just simply not happening.



Bright Light$, Big Buck$

4 05 2009

Broadway has been a key location for theatre and entertainment since the eighteenth century. Today, it is one of the many locations in New York that offers several theatrical plays, musicals, and other forms of entertainment. Located in the heart of the city and encompassing New York’s theater district, Broadway is a socio-economic hub for both tourists and locals alike. Broadway, second to none, is considered by to be the entertainment capital of the world.

Amongst being the entertainment capital of the world, Broadway also has a deep history dating back to the first New Amsterdam settlement. Originally being the Wickquasgeck Trail created by Manhattan’s Native-American inhabitants, Broadway soon became the main north-south thoroughfare through Manhattan Island upon the arrival of the Dutch. New York, as well as the United States, did not have a significant theatre presence until the mid 18th century. Broadway did not see its first theatre until the early 19th century with the opening of the premiere night spot, Niblo’s Garden in 1829. Theatres crept their way up to the present day’s theater district in the early 1900’s, but did not consolidate there until the 1920’s and 1930’s. These consolidations brought about the birth of what is known as the modern day theater district (running the length of Broadway between 40th and 53rd streets) and established itself as an entertainment/tourist center of New York City.

Although today’s Broadway is viewed as both the entertainment center and tourist attraction of the city, what many fail to see or just out right take for granted is the fact that Broadway acts as an economic engine for the city. When rationally thought of and put into context, one can see the amounts of money that Broadway rakes in both directly and indirectly. From the ticket sales themselves, to the baby sitters hired for a parents night out to the theater, all the way to the numerous restaurant establishments throughout the theater district, Broadway contributes millions of dollars each year to our currently waning economy to boost us back on our feet.

Split up between the thirty-nine professional theaters located in the theatre district, Broadway is considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world. Among Broadway’s many contributing economic factors, this representation is depicted in its ticket sales statistics. According to the Broadway League, ticket sales have increased by almost two million (from 10.56 million to 12.32 million) since the 1997 Broadway season. Broadway has also seen an increase in economic gross by $441 million since the 1997 season leaving the gross at $947 million in the 2008 season. Though this information only paints a partial picture of Broadways economic contributions to the city, it shows that without its indirect contribution, it holds as a substantial economic engine, with an ever increasing gross of almost one billion dollars per season.

Not only could Broadway be considered an economic engine for New York City, but also for the nation. But, to what degree does Broadway act as an economic engine for the country? It is a possible argument that Broadway Theater stereotypically caters to the rich due to high ticket prices and tremendous social prestige. Seeing a Broadway show is a very common tourist activity in New York, with many people traveling across the globe just to partake in such a fabled event. But with decent seating tickets ranging from $150 all the way to $450, it is hard not to see how Broadway doesn’t seemingly tend to people of a higher social status.

While social statuses determine the activities in which people do partake, there are many ways to break the Broadway stereotype. With ticket prices usually falling in a price range that isn’t affordable to the average person, Broadway theaters often see audience seats go empty. There are services that exist primarily to help sell those seats that would otherwise go empty while broadening Broadway’s theater audience by making tickets more affordable. TKTS is a prime example of such a service that sells Broadway and Off-Broadway tickets at discounts of twenty-five, thirty-five, and even up to fifty percent off. With these thoughts in mind, more people now indulge themselves in Broadway Theater which helps ensure theaters are filled and gain maximum gross to keep the engine running.

While Broadway helps to generate billions in surrounding restaurant and hotel revenues as well as in ticket sales, there is another pertinent factor that helps contribute not only to the local or national economy, but international as well, the touring Broadway shows. The Broadway League states that touring Broadway shows have brought in an estimated $14.34 billion gross in North American touring ticket sales since the early 1980’s up until the 2008 season (amounting to a sale of 316.6 million tickets within the same time frame).

With Broadway’s insurmountable contributions to the New York economy, it has clearly proven to be much more than an entertainment center. But with Broadway’s numerous economically oblique contributions, it has also proven itself to be a self sustaining economic engine for the nation, while upholding in an international economy. Although Broadway has proven itself an economic engine for New York City as well as the entertainment capital of the world, Broadway has withstood the test of time to emerge as a leading contributor to the United States economy as well as in international affairs.

http://www.broadway.com/

http://www.broadwayworld.com/

http://www.broadwayleague.com/



My New York Hero(s)

24 04 2009
When first given this assignment to write about my New York hero, I left the class with a smile across my face believing that it would be a walk in a park. But as I continued to ponder upon what I would write about, I found the assignment to be more challenging. But after putting much thought into the topic, I have come to an answer. There is no one specific New York hero, but the hero’s of this city are the emergency response efforts such as the EMS, NYPD, and NYFD.

Although this is very clichéd and is considered an established truth, I do believe that these services are taken for granted on a day by day basis. A point that I like to emphasize is that these people are all volunteer workers, in some cases sacrificing themselves to ensure our safety, and protection, and others tending to any calls of distress ensuring that no “man” is left behind.

While there are countless individuals that display characteristics of heroism, I deeply admire the amounts of courage and devotion that these people display while on duty, going above and beyond the call. The actions and sacrifices that these people make both inspire and persuade me to not only be more conscious of myself and my surroundings, but of others. I’m a big believer of doing good deeds, and just taking a glimpse at what these people do as their careers baffles my mind.

All in all, I believe these people deserve much more than what they get in return, but knowing that you make a difference day after day must be the best reward that anyone could receive.



Quintessentially Macy’s

6 04 2009

Unique to New York City is its legendary department store Macy‘s, Herald Square.  The store which has served its constituency faithfully since October, 1858, reflects the city’s own personality in its energy, style, color, and pace.  Like the city, it has the ability to reinvent itself every so often in order to keep current.  It has something for everyone.  It attracts every demographic.  Tourists flock to it.  It is legendary and holds a special place in the hearts and memories of New Yorkers and others throughout the world who have shopped there or stood watching the joyous Thanksgiving Day Parade or Fourth of July Fireworks Extravaganza.  Macy’s is a very vital part of the New York experience.  Macy’s in fact, is quintessential New York.

The idea that Macy’s is used synonymously to represent New York in popular culture supports the premise that Macy’s is quintessential New York.  Macy’s, Herald Square, played a starring role in the beloved 1947 holiday classic Miracle on 34th Street.  Other Hollywood hits that used Macy’s to represent New York include Auntie Mame, Sweet Charity, Ocean’s Eleven, and King Kong. 

Television favorites such as The Wonder Years, Who’s the Boss, Seinfeld, Friends, Ugly Betty, The Biggest Loser, and Project Runway also featured the store to establish their locale in New York City.

            In addition, New York entertainment icons Dustin Hoffman, Sean (Diddy) Combs, Rhea Perlman, Carol Channing, Diahann Carroll, Burgess Meredith, and F. Murray Abraham all worked at Macy’s before they rose to fame.

             New York City is often referred to as a Melting Pot because of its diverse nature and its attitude of inclusion.  The same could be said of Macy’s, whose customers, sales force, and suppliers reflect its international flavor.  It should come as no surprise that Macy’s is as important to its international clientele as is the Empire State, Lady Liberty, or a Broadway show.  Macy’s strives to accommodate the needs of their world wide clientele with an International Center located at their first floor Information desk, which distributes store directories in seven different languages as well as supplying on site translators who are fluent in twenty-one different languages.  Macy’s believes that to be successful, it is imperative that they reflect the diverse customer bass that they serve.

            While Macy’s is committed to diversity, it makes a point to celebrate culture and tradition throughout the city in the most splendid ways.  Each year, Macy’s reaches out to New Yorker’s in celebration of our major holidays.  These complex and spectacular events are Macy’s gifts to the city.  The Thanksgiving Day Parade, sponsored and staffed by Macy’s, heralds the beginning of the holiday season in brilliant fashion.  Like the store, the parade is unparalleled and brings joy to young and old alike. 

            Just as extravagant as the Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular is a more than worthy celebration of our nations beginning.  These events are nationally televised and enjoyed by millions.

            Macy’s is unique in the sense that it is the largest department store in the world.  Macy’s may also be known as the store with the largest heart.  The stores deep ties to its New York communities and their needs have resulted in numerous initiatives.  The store believes in “giving back” because it’s the right thing to do.  Annually, its foundation, Macy’s Inc., supports thousands of non-profit organizations which enrich the communities in which they do business and their customers work and live.  They have encouraged their customers to join them in giving back to the community through programs such as Shop for a Cause, Go Red, and A.H.A. Thanks for Caring. 

            Macy’s has also involved their employees in actively volunteering their time. Approximately one hundred and thirty thousand hours were volunteered through their Partners in Time program.  The contribution resulted in 2.4 million dollars for the charities Macy’s benefits.  Last year, Macy’s foundation, employees, and customers raised more than seventy four million dollars to benefit non-profit organizations.

             Macy’s is socially conscious as New York City takes initiatives towards sustainability, acting on behalf of our shared environment.  As a leading retailer, it is attempting to make a meaningful difference in improving the environment and to use our resources more efficiently.  Macy’s has put in place an aggressive campaign to eliminate wasteful behavior.  It is making conscious efforts to educate its employees on very simple changes they can make daily, from turning off lights, to printing fewer hard copies of e-mails, using mass transit, and using eco-friendly products.

            Macy’s has adopted the use of recycled paper bags, bio-degradable packing materials, and general recycled materials.  The store uses 48 million folding gift boxes and 255 million sheets of wrapping tissue yearly.  These are all being converted to 100% recycled material.  If other retailers followed Macy’s strategy, it would make an enormous impact to preserve and protect the environment.

            Macy’s is indeed a unique and perfect example of quintessential New York as stated in the five point criteria above.  The fact that it has been used repeatedly to represent New York in a variety of media validates this thesis.

 

*All facts and data were taken from www.macysinc.com



An excerpt from “Untitled” (A work in progress)

30 03 2009

While New York is host to many illustrious and grandiose landmarks such as the Empire State Building, Lady Liberty, Madison Square Garden, Times Square, and what used to be the World Trade Center, the pinnacle of fame and history lies in the socioeconomic hub of Herald Square.  Herald Square is home to the world’s largest, and New York’s most quintessential department store known as Macy’s.  Macy’s is the epicenter of culture and history, bringing them together through fashion, design, and many historical events throughout New York such as the annual Thanksgiving Day Parade and 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular.  While there may be many look-a-likes around the country and even the globe, there is only one Macy’s that is the physical representation of the melting pot/salad bowl that is known as quintessential New York.



Social Stereotypes

10 03 2009

For me, night time is when life really begins; at least on the weekends.  The weekends are a time in which I can detach myself from the constant, fast paced rush that is required of life in New York.  It’s a time when I can take notice and appreciate the grandeur of this magnificent city we live in.  Saturday night is the stereotypical social night that almost applies to everyone.  If there was ever a stereotype in which I wanted to belong, that would be the one.  My Saturday evenings are usually comprised of the monotonous house party, or latest movie in theaters, but there was a new existential characteristic added to this particular night; the walk through 42nd street.

The night started out in the central socioeconomic hub of the Upper East Side, 86th Street and Lexington Ave.  As I made my way to the subway station, I couldn’t help but sense an air of unfamiliarity.  The once busy daytime streets now drenched in darkness.  Even more so as a street lamp sings its last aria until the morning when ConEd can replace its sorrows.  Empty church stoops now filled with the grimy cardboard homes of those less fortunate than I.  As I went underground, the stench of urine and unattended trash bags overwhelmed my senses.  As I hurry down the tunnel towards the train, I knock an undeserving cup of coffee over that wakes its misfortunate owner trying to make ends meet, trying to make it by, but luck seemed to be on the other side.  Guilt ran across my conscience as I gave the man money, enough to supply a few days of coffee, knowing that I could do little more than that.

77th street, 68th Hunter College, 59th street, 51st street, 42nd street,Stand clear of the closing doors please.”  It was then that I was in the grace of Grand Central.  It was a spectacular sight in its own respect.  The window shops all aglow despite the shop keepers being snug in bed in the comfort of their homes.  The gold encrusted frames of doorways and lamp posts.  It seemed almost surreal.  I was expecting to awaken from a dream, but was snapped back to reality when a strong, loud whoosh of air startled me as a bus was passing by. 

Over the horizon, I could see it.  The sun, its light, penetrating the thick darkness cast across the city.  Morning approached as the light came closer with every step, illuminating off the surrounding buildings.  As I walked towards the light, I noticed groups strolling in the opposite direction.  Drunkards walking like collapsed marionettes, laughing like a ravaging pack of hyena’s at the simplest of bar jokes.  A man walks into a bar, ouch.  Party girls with their short mini-skirts parading under the arms of men who seem to love them, but as noon of the next day approaches, he’ll slip his wedding band back on and return to his wife.  

The dark, empty streets gradually grew with vivacious colors, shades, and hues.  What were posses of people became mobs, and I came to realize that the light was not emanating from the sun, but from the heart of it all; 42nd street, Times Square.  Times Square is a bastion of all things great, fun, and full of an exciting energy that you would have to experience yourself for you to believe me.  It is the one location in New York City that is cast in perpetual daylight.  It is the ever flowing fountain of youth, seemingly giving its visitors a quality of immortality that keeps them going for what seems like days on end. 

The aroma of Times Square brought back my sense of familiarity.  The scent of cheap men’s cologne competing with its date’s Chanel No.5, the smell of “fresh” McDonalds french-fries on the fryer.  Applebee’s trying to entice customers to its tables despite the presence of the ever popular Dallas BBQ across the street.  As I fight my way through the impregnable crowds, I not only sense the heat generated from the millions of halogen lights above, but of the lovers gently embracing each other so as to not get swallowed and never seen again.  The stench of vomit emanates from the slightly inebriated woman, after having too much Cold Stone’s.  Business associates smiling at the success of the transaction made over steak and a Heine, while reporting their latest endeavor to their boss.

As I make my way past the pseudo mosh pit that has formed in front of the AMC Theater, I cross the cavalcade of automobiles that is 42nd street, to what I hoped would be a less hostile environment in Loews.  As I struggle to catch a glimpse of the marquis above, I stand there bewildered to see that it was 11:34 p.m.  To me, the night was young, but I couldn’t help wonder in amazement as to why 42nd street was crowded like the Bronx Zoo was on field trip day.  Then the realization hit me.  This social stereotype that I have established myself with not only pertains to me, but also to the thousands all around me.  This stereotype has evolved to one of social norm, a taboo if you will, and all these people were doing was practicing the same weekly ritual that I have become so familiar with.



A portrait of myself

22 02 2009

To get an idea as to who I am, I’ve posted this out of the ordinary photo.  Pictures are worth a thousand words.






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