So, I’m not sure that anyone really cares, but I’m planning/hoping to keep updating this blog throughout my year of grad school in New York City. I do hope to write about ski-related stuff at some point along the way, but if that’s what you’re looking for right now, I’d suggest you head back to the FasterSkier main page.
I moved down here on August 1, into an apartment that is awesome, large, ideally-situated, and also, literally, infinitely more expensive than my lodging in Williamstown, where I was living rent-free.
The arrangement is kind of interesting. I came by the apartment through my sister, who went to school at Barnard for a year. Two of her friends were moving out of an apartment that was owned by one of their aunts, and they asked me if I was interested. I ended up getting a good deal, but because the place is rent-controlled and in a relatively nice building, it’s not actually supposed to be sub-let. Which means that I have no lease, and also that when I moved in, I had to do so between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. My mom was kind enough to help with this process.
School started on August 4th with orientation. And if you anything about orientation, you know that it’s scintillating: epic sessions of deans and administrators presenting information that is simultaneously delivered by way of printed materials. I had assumed that if Columbia thought you were smart enough to go to their grad school, they’d trust you with being able to read, but apparently this is not the case. To be fair, judging from some of the questions that were asked by my peers, perhaps some of them don’t know how to read. But anyways…
After four days of orientation, we started a month-long session of multimedia training that includes lessons in audio, photo, and video. We just finished the audio unit (you can check out my pieces here http://soundcloud.com/nat-herz/bond-parade-floats and here http://soundcloud.com/nat-herz/raymond-myrie-jr-profile-v-2 ), and now it’s on to photo.
Starting in September, I’ll be covering a neighborhood in the Bronx for the remainder of the semester. Most likely it’s going to be Norwood, a formerly-Irish community with now-shifting demographics. Needless to say, I don’t think it will be very much like covering skiing. So far this year, through August 7, there have been three murders in the area’s police precinct, which, while a 50 percent decline from last year, is (I think) three more murders than I covered at FasterSkier last season. Demographically, I think it will also be somewhat different. For example, according to the 2010 census, there are 7,391 people of Dominican descent residing in Norwood, or, approximately, 7,391 more than reside the cross-country ski world. I had hoped to be able to at least do some stories on waxing and grinding technologies, but my google search for “ski shop Norwood Bronx” did not turn up very much.
As for physical activity, things have been going fairly well, if not very ski-specific. My apartment is just five blocks from Central Park, which makes it very easy to access for morning runs, bicycle rides, etc. My excursions in Central Park are almost always the highlight of my day. Why? Well, I thought that it was because I was living in New York City, and people living in New York City are ridiculous. For example, in my first few weeks here, I have seen both men and women riding bicycles while wearing skintight pink clothing (the woman was in a one-piece, complete with pink shoe covers but no helmet), a woman pushing a dog in a baby carriage, and a 200-plus-pound woman go absolutely rocketing past me on a triathlon bike in impressive fashion.
At first my attitude about the people exercising in Central Park was kind of condescending, as I was sure that they looked strange because they were bizarre New Yorkers, while I looked completely normal and badass because I am normal and badass. But upon further reflection, I have come to the conclusion that with the exception of maybe Petter Northug and Kikkan Randall, we all have our own idiosyncracies and look pretty silly when we are exerting ourselves. Of course, this is a matter of degree, but the thing about exercising in Central Park is that you go past about 1,000 people every morning, and even if the factor of ridiculousness is constant between here and Maine, you’re more likely to run into hilarity in New York because of the sheer numbers.
That’s it. Actually, that’s not it. You know why? Because even in New York Effing City, you can’t escape those god-damn guinea hens: