Day Eighty Eight

Kellogg's Diner in Williamsburg

Yesterday, I received my very first question through the site! After doing a rather lengthy victory dance, I finally calmed down enough to answer the submitted inquiry. It's perfect timing too, as this is my last blog from the Big Apple. 

“Hi Steve, I’m having a great time following along on your journey. I see that you’re currently in NYC and it just so happens I’ll be moving there with a few friends after I graduate this semester. I’ve only been to the city once before and I was wondering if you could offer up some of your favorite joints. I’d love to know some cool places to visit!”

First off, I have to thank the reader for their question. I’d do it by name, but it was submitted anonymously, so our shadowy inquisitor must remain a mystery for now. However, I’m more than happy to tell everyone about some of my favorite places in the city. I’m no expert by any means, but having lived here for 4 years, I’d like to think I know a thing or two. Here are some of my favs:

Bar: Barcade—this Williamsburg establishment offers up a great selection of beers and more classic arcade games than you can shake a joystick at. I recommend battling it out in 1942 or testing your grit with Smash TV. Other goodies: Woodwork, Pinebox Rock Shop, Tandem, The Dead Rabbit

Store: Forbidden Planet—hands down one of my favorite comic book stores, you’ll find new releases, back issues and a whole lot of figures, cards and collectables. I dare you to enter and not spend money. Other goodies: Kidrobot, Duane Reade, Original Penguin, Trash & Vaudeville

Neighborhood: Lower East Side—it took a lot to narrow down my favorite, but the LES is filled to the brim with delicious eateries, small shops and great clubs. From Pianos to The Delancey, this neighborhood is a must for your weekend partying needs. Other goodies: Meatpacking District, Bushwick, Williamsburg

Concert Venue: Gramercy Theatre—this concert venue doesn’t deserve to be pigeon-holed with such a title. They offer up a unique blend of comedy, movies, parties and concerts in an intimate atmosphere with some pretty good drink deals. Other goodies: Santos Party House, Irving Plaza, Webster Hall

Restaurant: Kelloggs Diner—sure there are a million places I could pick, but Kellogg’s is sure to always hit the spot, especially at 3am. Their open 24/7 and offer a massive menu that could take weeks to dig through. From Sunday brunch to drunken snacks, they never disappoint. Other goodies: Pie Face, Two Boots, Crif Dogs, Scarpetta, Chop't, Veselka 

Others: Brooklyn Bowl—this is once place that offers just about everything under one roof. It’s a concert venue, a bar, a (delicious) restaurant and a bowling alley. It’s a tad pricey, but if you have the money it makes for an amazing night. I’d recommend going at least once in your life. Other goodies: Brooklyn Wreck Room, Eataly, Union Pool, Museum of the Moving Image

There are hundreds of places I could’ve included on my list, but these are some of my all time favorites. I hope you all have a chance to visit some of these places, because they’re all one-of-a-kind.

See you in Philly!


Day Eighty Five

Indeed it is.

This past weekend was a much-welcomed break from the chills of winter. I did my best to take full advantage of the warm, sunny days by venturing into some of my favorite neighborhoods and even did some mid-afternoon reading at Union Square Park. Looking around, you could tell everyone else had the same idea too. The sidewalks were more crowded than I’d seen them since Super Bowl weekend.

Of course, all of that walking gave me plenty of time to think too. As I strolled through the Meatpacking District in Manhattan, I came across the High Line—a section of repurposed train tracks that now houses a gorgeous public green space. It instantly reminded me just how many projects are in progress to transform NYC into a city of tomorrow.

It’s too common that NYC gets a bad rap for being dirty and overcrowded. Sure, that may ring true for some areas of the city, but that can be said about any major metropolitan area. I’d argue that now, more than ever, the city and several private companies are trying to shed these preconceptions with a variety of green space and tech developments aimed at attracting more young professionals to the area.  We’ve already seen the addition of new bike lanes and public spaces in areas such as Times Square, but those only scratch the surface of what this city has planned for the future.

The weekly Farmers' Market at Union Square Park.

The Low Line, which takes its cues from its sister High Line, is billed as the world’s first underground park. Utilizing innovative solar technology, the project aims to transform an historic trolley terminal into a stunning park underneath the Lower East Side. Although negotiations are still underway, several elected officials support the project, which is looking to complete construction in 2018.

Roosevelt Island, that weird space under the Queensboro Bridge, is being transformed into Cornell Tech’s new campus through a joint partnership between the city and Cornell University. Designed to be one of the most forward-thinking campuses in the US, the new Cornell Tech will be utilized to fast track tech careers in the area, encourage a greater presence from tech companies in the city overall, and provide a space to explore the potential of tomorrow’s tech.

These are just a few of the innovative investments the city and its partners have made recently. From the expansion of the LIRR with East Side Access, to the area-wide rollout of Citibike, New York City is ensuring it’s not left in the dust when it comes to attracting lucrative start-ups and young professionals. While there’s still a long way to go, it’s encouraging to see the city make such a sweeping effort to lead the future. I actually saw Cleveland making similar motions before my departure too. It goes to show that even if a city isn't your best fit now, you should always keep an eye on where it’s going. In the end, it might turn out to be a good place to call home after all.  


Day Eighty One

A Zombie at the KidRobot Store in SoHo.

One thing that’s continuing to keep this project fresh and exciting is the range of clients I’ve already had the pleasure of working on. From helping to launch a television network to building social content for athletics apparel, I’m expanding my creative capabilities—city by city.

It also goes to show just how varied the opportunities are across the nation. Although I’m only three months into my journey, I’ve come to find that great creative isn’t regulated to a certain city, agency or region. Take Recess Creative in Cleveland for example. They’ve done stellar work for the likes of Sony, Marvel and Gatorade. Yet, when I was in college, I was always under the impression that you had to be had a large agency in New York, Chicago or LA to even get near global brands such as these.

At the same time, I’m discovering brand channels that I didn’t even know existed. Here at We Are Social, they’ve afforded me the opportunity to see just how massive the world of social media truly is. Before I arrived, I only considered traditional social outlets—Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. Now, I’m beginning to fully understand just how in-depth a brand can make their social engagement, if they only think outside-the-box and in the abstract.

A Frozen Waterfall in Prospect Park. 

So, if you’re just entering the field or currently looking for a career change, it’s important to remember that good opportunities can be found anywhere. You don’t have to live in a city that makes you miserable just to fill your portfolio with global brands and top-of-the-line creative. Just expand your search and you’ll find a plethora of new opportunities. Every stone left unturned has the potential to be a missed opportunity. I encourage everyone to check out the agencies I’ve already visited to see just how varied their work, clients and capabilities truly are. 

Lastly, I wanted to mention that Monday night, I took a stroll through Prospect Park and discovered the beautiful new Lakeside Skating Rink and Bluestone restaurant. It's random discover like these that make city life so exciting. With so much going on, it's impossible to keep track of it all. That's why exploration is so important. This afternoon was an absolute wonder, as well. A few members of the We Are Social team treated me to lunch; where we discussed the work I’ve been doing here, as well as the TGAA project itself. It was a good time with great vibes all around.