Exploring the City: Puppies, Bookstores, and More Bookstores

10649993_1539301516300222_4724188844201375324_nIt’s every teenage girl’s dream. Puppies, used books, and clothing stores. And a lot of them.

Jordane, Fran, and I have done a lot of exploring over the past few days. But, yesterday, Jordane and I decided to visit Urban Outfitters (a store I’ve never stepped foot in, even at home). This is a completely different culture for me. I mean, there isn’t a Kohl’s for me to pick up affordable, no-name brand clothes at. Everything here is name brand.

Everything.

Turns out Urban Outfitters is actually a really unique store. It has dorm supplies, books, records, record players, decorations, as well as fairly cheap clothing. And I saw a free phone charging station, which was pretty sweet. And some of the names of these books just cracked me up.

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The Grumpy Cat Guide to Life

The Vegan Stoner Cookbook

The 30 Best Nutella Recipes

I Think I’m in Friend-Love With You

I Am Pusheen the Cat

1000 Feelings For Which There Are No Names

How to Tell if Your Cat is Plotting to Kill You

(THIS JUST IN: FLASH FLOOD WARNING IN THE AREA, DUDE I AM SO EXCITED FOR MY FIRST NEW YORK CITY THUNDERSTORM)

I mean, the list goes on. Check out my Facebook page for more titles.

After Urban Outfitters, Jordane turns to me and says, “Do you want to go to the Puppies store?”

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Dawn Peterson, I am not kidding. There is a store here called, “Puppies!” You look in the window, and they are the most adorable things you have ever seen.

But it actually gets even better. While we were cooing over the adorable dogs, the woman next to us said, “Hey, have you ever been to __________? It’s right now the street, and they let you play with the dogs and everything.”

(I leave the name blank because the identity of this store is being kept secret due to the fact that, if too many students go, it will take away from our Puppy-Time and we will be very angry.)

I’m guessing it’s pretty safe to say we ran there. And it was all true. You can pick out any dog at all and just play with it. It really made me miss Mitzi and Finnegan.

(It’s pouring now. It’s awesome. That is all.)

I actually feel really bad. There’s this cruise tonight for residence hall freshman that I bought a ticket for, and I ended up selling it this afternoon because plans changed. This girl paid me $30 and now it looks like the cruise might not even happen because of the storm. That blows. :/

But, on the bright side, there are puppies in the near vicinity and you can pet them whenever you want.

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After we saw the dogs and squealed a little more, we headed toward Weinstein to get dinner.

I. Have. Been. Missing. Everything.

Let me explain. My residence hall has a dining hall with really quality food. You order your food, watch it get made, and it takes between fifteen and twenty minutes to get it. That’s on an average, ordinary day. I’ve waited for forty-five minutes before.

But the food is incredible, don’t get me wrong. Completely worth the wait. It just isn’t very efficient for a college student in a rush. When I’m working toward a deadline, I don’t care about quality. I care about speed and sustenance. That’s all I need.

Weinstein is that food court.

You go in, you swipe your card, and then it’s all buffet style. Today, I was able to get bacon, pizza, and ice cream on the same plate. If you know me, that’s a huge bonus. AND you can fill a to-go plate to keep in your fridge for the next day. It’s the best.

Of course, the quality isn’t as good. It’s like an Old Country Buffet, if you remember those. But it’s definitely convenient for days when I’m stuck in Washington Square Park with time between classes but not enough time to get back to my dorm.

I was also introduced to Legally Blonde last night. Jordane is going to teach me in the way of classic movies, and I am going to teach her in the way of horror, because she hasn’t even seen Friday the 13th.

I’m serious.

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I also discovered how to do laundry last night. Though, I think I paid to have someone else’s clothes dried twice. It’s all very confusing, and it took me three trips up and down the stairs to remember my soap, clothes, and bounce sheets. You wouldn’t think this would be hard for me, considering I have to climb two sets of stairs to do laundry at home anyway.

Today, before it started storming, we checked out a few stores by Union Square Park (which I secretly like more than Washington Square Park shhhhhh). We went to Petco (which wasn’t very different than the ones at home), and then Barnes and Noble.

This Barnes and Noble was FOUR STORIES HIGH.

FOUR STORIES HIGH and all I bought was an Edgar Allen Poe collection. It’s pretty sweet though, I’m not gonna lie.

Oh, and in the way of books, there’s a place called Strand on 12th Street that has thousands of used books for $1-$5. It’s the coolest thing ever. And I haven’t even had time to really pour through it. Guess I know where I’ll be going after my library paychecks start coming in.

Speaking of the library, I went to training yesterday and I start work on Tuesday, the same day I start class. I’ll keep you updated on that adventure, because I’m sure I’m going to mess it up 150 times before I start doing things correctly. Jordane and I are thoroughly stressed about it.

Thanks, as always, for being my constant, dedicated readers!

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Oops! Wrong Direction. Again.

Blog 1Let me tell you something. Navigating in New York City? Not an easy thing to do.

You might THINK it is. What with the streets and avenues numbered the way that they are and all of the pubic transportation available to you the way that it is but NO. You are WRONG. It is HARD.

Okay. Now that I’ve gotten that off of my chest.

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This afternoon, I asked Fran and Jordane if they wanted to do something. We decided to go shopping in SoHo, so I put on my black dress and some new platforms and headed out to meet them. That was my first mistake.

Then, by the time I’d met up with them and we’d walked all the way to SoHo after checking out an extremely cool record store, I realized my feet were dying. I mean literally dying. We walked in and out of stores for almost an hour, trying to find me a decently priced outfit to change into. That was my second mistake. Because, New York City. Not cheap.

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It occurred to me around that time that it would probably be more price efficient to grab a taxi and take it back to my dorm. I was surprised when the tab was only $8. Turns out cabs aren’t actually that expensive. Huh. Who knew. I should use those more often.

Anyway, I got changed and we decided to get dinner in the Palladium dining hall which, by the way, is amazing. Mostly because it has pizza and burgers, and what more could you possibly need?

My third mistake was ordering a flat bread pizza and trying to eat it while it was still hot. I made a mess of myself in front of my new friends, and I didn’t even get halfway through it. Listen closely, New York Pizza is not social food. It is hardcore I-am-going-to-eat-this-so-hard food. Period. You do not look good while eating it. No one does. Do not try.

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We finished up and headed out to continue our shopping trip (this time in much more comfortable shoes), but the costume store we wanted to see was closed. Around that time, I discovered a Used Bookstore. Unfortunately, this Used Bookstore was extremely overpriced and not worth shelling out $20 per used Stephen King hardcover novel. I’ve heard of a few more in the area though, so I’ll be checking those out. At least now I know why Union Square Stephen King Fan didn’t have any books of his own.

Now the real Misadventure comes into play. We decided to go visit the High Line (photos below). I know it sounds like the name of a club. But, for anyone who doesn’t know what the High Line is, let me explain.

It used to be an above-ground railroad, but was later converted into a 1.45 mile-long public park after it was no longer necessary for the meatpacking district.

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Can we zoom in on the 1.45 mile-long part? Because we weren’t aware of that. There should be a sign or something: THIS PARK IS REALLY FREAKING LONG.

Firstly, it took forever to find the park. I had to get navigation on my cell phone, and it still took us about forty-five minutes to get there (and we had a few pretty close calls with some cars along the way).

To share some fun facts, the streets are so messed up in lower Manhattan because this guy Clement Clark Moore (yes, the one who wrote The Night Before Christmas) wouldn’t let the city use his land to make easily-navigable roads. AND he convinced all of his neighbors to do the same thing. So now, unlike upper Manhattan, the lower end is a MESS. Thanks Clement Clark Moore. Thanks a lot.

After we found the place, we climbed up the stairs.

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And I have to say, it was beautiful. It was completely worth the insanity of finding our way there (and back, which we’ll get to later). It seemed to stretch on FOREVER, but there were a bunch of street performers, and a guy with a giant snake. There’s also a splash area with flowing water for people to cool their feet in the daytime. I’m totally going on my first date there (if I ever date anyone in my lifetime).

Once we actually got to the end of the park, we were extremely far from home. We were by Times Square on the Lincoln Tunnel side. For those of you who don’t already know, that’s really far from Union Square. I mean really far. 

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We started hunting for a subway, which we found on West 23rd Street (finally).

I didn’t get back to my dorm, feet aching, until around eleven.

And that’s what you call a Misadventure.

I’m going to bed now.

Random Experiences & Weird People #1

home aloneThis is a special series of mini-stories brought to you by: Weird Things That Happen To People In New York City.

 

The Stephen King Fan in Union Square

I was sick of staying in my dorm room and not going out just because I didn’t know anyone else and didn’t have a “Buddy” to keep me company. So I decided I was going to take one of my Stephen King books (in this instance, Bag of Bones) and walk two blocks to Union Square.

I have one word for Union Square at night. Sketchy. Interesting.

There’s a whole world full of people in a small space. Tourists coming on and off the subway, a group of young men playing soccer, a dozen individuals lighting up (by the smell, I’m guessing not just cigarettes but to each his own), and a handful of people playing chess on the makeshift boards at the corner of the park. There’s also about five or six homeless men and women lying on the steps trying to sleep, which is actually really sad, because Union Square is the best place to do it. There are lights on ALL night, and constant traffic because of the subway station. If there’s anywhere safe to sleep for the homeless, it’s in Union Square.

Anyway, I decided to sit between one said homeless person and the chess boards. It was a light enough area to read, but far enough away from the action of the soccer players, who were hitting people in the head and making them pretty angry.

After I’d been there for about ten minutes, this man who looked like he was probably in his mid-twenties came up and sat down at the board closest to me, waiting for an opponent. I considered playing with him but, let’s be honest, I couldn’t play chess if you paid me. So I continued reading.

Then I hear a voice say, “Whatcha reading hun?”

Now, some of my Howell friends would have ignored the voice, or would have gotten up and left, or would have freaked out because OMG STRANGER DANGER, but his tone was honestly just curious. So I answered him, because, you know, POLITE.

“Stephen King.”

“Is he your favorite author?”

“Oh, by far.”

“I really like him too! Which one is that?”

“Bag of Bones.”

A few minutes went by and then the voice spoke again.

“Do you have any other books with you?”

“Huh?” I looked up from my book, confused.

“Do you have any other books with you?”

“Well yeah, sure-”

“Here?”

“Oh, no. At home.”

“Oh. Damn.”

And then he went back to his game and we didn’t talk again until I got up and left about half an hour later. It was really just an awkward wave. But the conversation got me thinking. I went back yesterday with an extra book, hoping to see him. But I haven’t yet. I hope I do sometime, because it occurred to me that he might want a Stephen King book. And if I have the chance to spread Stephen King, um, I’m gonna do it.

 

The Rapper

Jordane, Fran, and I were in Times Square, trying desperately to find the Toys R Us, when we were bombarded on the street by three guys trying to give us their rap demos. As I tried to explain several times, I didn’t have any money on me, but they kept ignoring that part.

If you’ve ever been around a merchant in Times Square, you know the tactic. They give you what you want and THEN they tell you they want money. So I was just up front.

“I literally don’t have any cash on me.”

All three very quickly (but very politely) got their CDs back from us.

Then this RANDOM guy who looked about my age came out of nowhere and tried to hand me his CD.

“I really don’t have any money on me.”

“Not even change?”

“No, I don’t have it. I’m sorry.”

“You have beauty though.”

“Oh…thanks, that’s sweet.”

“Are you available?”

“Huh?”

“Are you single?”

“Yes, why?”

“Would you date a black guy?”

“…I wouldn’t not date a black guy, if that’s what you mean.”

“Can I have your number? Maybe we can go get coffee or something sometime?”

“Um…are you being serious?”

“No, really, not about the CD. I’ll call you sometime. Come on, please?”

“I mean…okay.”

I’m not kidding, guys. This actually happened. And then Jordane, Fran, and I walked away and I wondered what I’d just gotten myself into.

For anyone interested, the answer is nothing. We DID talk after that, but very briefly. He is now saved in my phone as Random Rap Guy.

 

Ping-Pong & The Guys From Floor 6

I was the weird one in this story, I’ll be the first to admit.

It was Tuesday night and my roommates were going out. I wanted to try to meet some new people in Palladium but I wasn’t sure how. So I just decided to knock on doors.

I started on the fourth floor, but the first people were REALLY awkward. So then I moved to the sixth floor, almost knocked on a door, but turned around and went to the third floor instead with the practice rooms, laundromat, and recreation room.

Figuring there had to be some interesting people around there, I tried the rec room. Sure enough, there were three guys playing Ping Pong. Well, two of them were. The other was trying to connect a DS to the wifi (obviously, I was no help there).

I introduced myself and watched them play. I even played myself, for a little bit, but it wasn’t anything to brag about. The boy I was playing with was obviously polite, because we just volleyed back and forth and he didn’t keep score. Turns out, they were waiting on their laundry, which was taking forever.

It was the perfect mixture of seriously awkward and slightly hilarious when they had to go switch around their laundry and one of them invited me. We had no idea what to say to each other, and I didn’t know how close to get to their laundry without freaking them out. But, for the first time since I got here, I didn’t feel like they were seriously going to judge me for not knowing what to say.

We ended up watching Women’s Tennis on TV while they waited for their clothes to dry. Eventually we switched over the Emmy’s and, not long after, I left. I didn’t leave my number or anything because AWKWARD. But I did tell them what floor I was on, so maybe we could talk again sometime.

Then I got back to my dorm and realized that I can see the other dorms right across from my window because of the build of Palladium. Guess whose room is directly across from mine but on the sixth floor?

Dude, I swear I’m not a stalker. I keep my blinds shut now in my room all the time because I feel like a creeper. To the guys on the 6th Floor, I’m not watching you, I swear. But to EVERYONE ELSE on that side of the building, for mine and my roommates’ sanity, CLOSE YOUR BLINDS BEFORE YOU CHANGE.

That is all.

 

Crazy Yelling Subway Lady and the Misadventure to Brooklyn

My cohort leader Annais will soon find out that she’s going to have to be on this blog at some point.

So, we were trying to get to a community service event in Brooklyn, and we kept having to switch subway trains because we kept getting on the wrong ones. I mean, we must have switched three times before we finally started going in the right direction. Do you know how amusing (and hard) it is to get forty students on one car in a train that’s already crowded? Three times? When some of them don’t understand basic subway etiquette because they haven’t been here that long?

It’s rough.

The best part of this story, though, was when we were finally on the RIGHT train going in the RIGHT direction, and I hear this voice talking EXTREMELY loud.

This lady was preaching to the subway car. I’m not kidding. I swear to you, she was saying, “PRAISE JESUS, FOR HE IS OUR SAVIOR, YOU LIVE BECAUSE OF HIS SACRIFICE…” and on and on for probably five or six minutes before she got off. The faces on the kids she was closest to was absolutely priceless.

It’s only been a few days. But God, this is one interesting city.

My Cohort Group and Extra Curriculars

988469_783314648346388_4599042514540221452_nOver the course of the year, you’re probably going to hear about my Cohort Group and the activities I’m involved in. As we get closer to the start of the academic school calendar, I’ll be posting more about my classes and stress related to coursework and the library than I do right now.

Welcome Week is for making friends. But the school year is where I really get to sink my teeth into college.

Via my mother’s wishes (and my own curiosity), I’m going to audition for the N Harmonics, a coed A Cappella group on campus. That’s next weekend. I’m also attending the Student Council meeting on September 9th, and the Washington Square News assignment meeting on Monday. I’ll become a contributing writer for a few weeks, until I’m able to be hired onto the staff.

As for Student Council, I’m considering running for a position, but I haven’t decided yet. I DID submit an application for President of the Student Activities Board, but I’m not sure how that’s going to go yet, or how many candidates I’m running against. If elected, I’ll be spending next weekend in Washington D.C. at a forum, which is going to make attending N Harmonics auditions a little difficult.

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This is all going to take a little time to adjust. I’m sure it’ll all fall into place. It usually does.

Aside from those activities, I’m considering getting involved in my hall student council (Palladium has its own government system and mascot). My dorm actually does really cool events like free Broadway shows and baseball games. This week alone they went to Phantom and Wicked. I can see planning those events being a lot of fun. I just can’t do everything plus work at the library and get good grades in my classes.

Most important to me is Washington Square News. And, honestly, the A Cappella group. It would be fun to be on Student Council or the Activities Board or Hall Council, but it isn’t necessary to my college experience. I’ll be focusing so much on journalism that I won’t really need that leadership stepping stool. I never did in high school, either.

As for the Cohort Group, that’s like a fifth class that helps me get settled into the city. I’ll attend every other Wednesday and I just have to participate to pass. It’s the College of Arts and Sciences’ way to help freshman adjust to their surroundings. Our Cohort changed from Cohort 15 to Urban Equation. That’s a long story, but we like our new name.

I’m definitely feeling anti-social. Insecurities and problems do NOT magically disappear, no matter how far you are from where they originated. I still get worried that I’m the only girl eating a burger when everyone else eats a salad. That I don’t ever eat organic. That I wear a lot of black or that I wear a flat-bill and a leather jacket and haven’t once been bothered on the street by anyone, even when I walk by myself at 10 or 11 to Union Square (I’m guessing it’s because I don’t dress in high heels, shorts, or mini-skirts and I also keep my headphones in even when they aren’t on and I try to look like I know where I’m going even if I don’t, not to mention I have a very visible tattoo and don’t wear heavy makeup). In New York, you have to do your best to fit in and look straight ahead. People on the street can smell your fear, if you let it show.

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All of that being said, I think people can’t decide whether I’m gay or from Detroit or both.

I know there isn’t anything wrong with that. And I hope the people in my Cohort don’t hate me every time I’m walking in front of the pack in all black with my headphones in one ear and my sunglasses on. It’s not that I don’t like you, it’s that I’m not very social. And, honestly, I’m starting to accept that as a good thing. Mara and I just watched shows on our laptops last night and fell asleep instead of going out. There’s nothing wrong with that either.

New York is New York, but I’m still gonna do me.

I hear a lot of “OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD”s in the next room, and I hear furniture moving/breaking so I’m thinking I better get in there. #dormlife

Thanks for reading!

Jordane and Fran: My First NYC Friends!

10606160_1533961990167508_2238793367119515821_nLet me preface this post with the obvious. Yes, I know some people in the city. The most obvious being my roommates Soph, Mara, and Juli. I’ve met a few others in my dorm along the way, and I know one or two other faces in New York.

What I mean by “My First NYC Friends” is this.

Jordane and Fran immediately struck me as the kind of people who like to do the same things that I do.

I was terrified I wouldn’t meet anyone like that. I was getting really worried that my network wouldn’t extend past the four people in my suite. But, luckily, I had the opportunity to run into Jordane. Almost literally.

We were in Bobst (the library I start working at next week) looking for our supervisor and the paperwork we had to fill out when we met; two distraught students taking comfort in the fact that they weren’t alone in their confusion. Something just clicked right away. We could immediately tell that we had a lot in common.

For the sake of their privacy (neither is active on Facebook), I won’t tell you too much about them. I haven’t had a chance to explain my blog to them just yet. And, I’m a little worried that when I do, it’ll scare them off.

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Anyway, Jordane ended up introducing me to her friend Fran, another student at NYU. Together, we went on our first New York City adventure. We took the subway to Times Square and saw the Disney Store, Toys R Us (OH MY GOD), and the M&M Store (as well as some street merchants that you can read about in my next post).

We managed to navigate through it and got back to Washington Square Park with enough time to eat dinner and then check out the Comedy Show at the Skirball Center.

I have to admit, I keep forgetting that I’m in college now. It’s okay to swear or be inappropriate, or for the school to have someone perform who isn’t PG rated or below. We’re ADULTS now. That’s a new concept. And this basically meant that, yes, the comedians were actually funny.

The comedians were also famous. Because, of course, NYU. Both have been featured on television, and both are fairly well-known. Hari Kondabolu and Michelle Buteau. You can check them out here and here. They’re pretty hilarious.

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Anyway, afterward I got back to my dorm and just basked in the glory of it. For one day, I actually had friends to go hang out with around the city. That’s an awesome feeling. So many doors open up when you get other people involved that you enjoy spending time with. Tonight, we’re going to order some pizza, watch Disney movies, and then spend the night waiting in line to see Ariana Grande perform on the Today Show. I couldn’t do this stuff by myself!

Well, I mean, I could. But you would all judge me for it.