Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Dance Classes (

New York is one of the most culturally rich cities in the world. The number of cultures and ethnicities represented combined with their strength in numbers make NYC the diverse, vibrant city that it is. Due to the cultural explosion that is NYC, one can see all kinds of great music, art, and especially dance. If you're tired of going out to bars and looking for a cheaper, more interesting way to fill your weekends, taking dance classes is a great way to go.
Take advantage of what NYC has to offer. Few cities in the country have as many places to take classes and different styles available to learn as New York. Most of the classes are very inexpensive too. Salsa, meringue, tango, jazz, ballet, modern, tap, hip-hop, African, etc. etc. There are places all over the city to learn them all, and most classes start around 15 dollars a session. Compare that to what you would spend in a night out drinking.
Whether you want to just learn a few new steps or master the form, dance classes are a great way to spice things up in your life. They're a great way to meet people. Got a crush on a special someone? Dance classes are a great way to get to know them more intimately. It will score you a ton of points being willing to put yourself out there, and you'll have something really fun to bond over.
The sky's the limit with dance classes in NYC. Even if you're rhythmically challenged, they're classes. The idea is for you to learn and improve. As long as you've got a willing attitude and don't take yourself to seriously, you'll have a ball. Having some moves to show off next time you're at a club never hurts either.

Central Park (

Need an escape from the city life? Central Park, bordered by 59th Street, 110th Street, Fifth Avenue and Central Park West, is one of the gems of New York City and a great way to reconnect with nature. Seeing things like grass and trees will remind you know what they look like. You might even get a flashback to your childhood and spontaneously start running around in circles and rolling in the grass. Okay, maybe that's just something that happened to me last week, but living in New York can do that to you.
Returning to nature isn't the only attraction Central Park has to offer. Running, biking, yoga, tai chi, dancing-skating, you can do a lot on a nice day in Central Park. Here's a few ideas:

-Ride the Friedsam Memorial Carousel-Mid-park at 63rd Street, (212) 879-0244. $1.50. Open April to October daily, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (7 on weekends); November and December, 10 a.m. to dusk; January to March, 10 a.m. to dusk, weekends and holidays only.

-Go Fishing-Bait and rods for catch-and-release fishing can be found at the Charles A. Dana Discovery Center, on the Harlem Meer. 110th Street between Fifth Avenue and Malcolm X Boulevard (Lenox Avenue), (212) 860-1370. Open Tuesday to Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Rods can be picked up until about 2 to 3 p.m., April-October.)

-Go Ice Skating-November through March, half the rink is open for public ice skating at Lasker Rink and Pool. Mid-park between 106th and 108th streets, (917) 492-3856 or (212) 534-7639. Wollman Rink opens for ice skating November through March. East side between 62nd and 63rd streets, (212) 439-6900 (rink admission from $9.50, skates $5) or (212) 982-2229 (amusement park admission from $6.50).

-Play tennis-Central Park Tennis Center (between 93rd and 96th streets off West Drive, (212) 316-0800; $7 for pass, $5 for rackets) and for indoor climbing on the (small) wall at the North Meadow Recreation Center (mid-park at 97th Street, (212) 348-4867; $7).

-Go to the Zoo-Central Park Zoo admission includes a visit to the adjacent Tisch Children's Zoo, an open-air petting area. 64th Street and Fifth Avenue, (212) 439-6500. $8.

-Go boating-Rental boats are available from the Loeb Boathouse, 72nd Street and Park Drive North, (212) 517-2233. Bikes: March 4-Oct. 31, daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., from $9 an hour. Boats: April 15-Oct. 31, daily 10 a.m.-6 p.m., $10 an hour.

There's plenty of other ways to have a good time in Central Park, so don't limit yourself to the options I just gave you. Don't get me wrong, taking on any of those adventures would be great ways to spend an afternoon, but I left a ton off the list. Go out find your own way to make an escape from the grind of NYC.

Subway Performers (

There are tons of ways to have a good time in NYC. Sometimes things pop up in front of you when you least expect it. One thing you can expect to see is professional quality music, dance, puppetry, and a ton of other kids of performance art on the subway. Not don't get me wrong, not all subway performers all alike, but at the right spots at the right time of day, you can see some quality live music on the subway.
Far and away the best subway stop for entertainment has to be Union Square. There are several spots that are frequented by extremely talented musicians. You can see full bands like the Rhythmatics, an ensemble featuring three saxophones, and three drummers, or solo artists like the guy who plays the accordion on the NQRW line platform.
My personal favorites are the bucket drummers on the L platform. One guy and one girl play the buckets sometimes accompanied by other musicians, and/or dancers. The acoustics of the subway combined with the tenacity and skill of the drummers make for world-class entertainment.
Herald Square showcases a 5 man dance group headed by a Michael Jackson impersonator. They put on an amazingly entertaining show featuring break-dancing, acrobatics, and the afore-mentioned Michael Jackson.
The thing about subway performers, is they pop up all over the place. You never know where you might see an amazing performance. The other thing about subway performers is they aren't just out there to have fun. They're working hard to put on a show for you; reward them with a dollar or two. If you're in a rush, and you're running to catch your train, it's understandable to not give a donation. A lot of the artists frequent the same spots, so try and remember for next time.

Getting a Job in NYC (

Getting a job in New York City is all about bringing your "A Game." The expression, "If you can make it here, you can make it anywhere" exists for a reason. While the New York City job market is one of the strongest in the country, it's also extremely competitive. Here's three important things to remember while hunting for a job in the big city:

First, play to your strengths. You're going to need at least one or two internships or previous related work experiences on your resume to get considered for an interview. If you've always wanted to work in advertising, but you've got a lot of experience in finance, right when you move to New York isn't the time to make a career switch. Stick with what you know at least to start.

Second, make an exhaustive search. Send your resume to as many places as possible. For every ten places you send your resume, you're lucky if you hear back from three. Craig's List is a good place to start. Make sure your resume is in great shape before you begin, and get it in front of as many eyes as possible. Don't stop at Craig's List though. Check newspapers, other job websites, and most of all word of mouth. Take full advantage of any and all networking opportunities available to you. That means friends, relatives, people you meet on the subway. You never know where you're going to find a job.

Third, nail your interviews. If and when you get called in for an interview, your potential employer is either choosing you out of literally hundreds of people who responded to a classified ad, or doing whoever got you the interview a favor. You have to make the most of the opportunity. Here's some job interview tips:

-Dress to impress-you will be judged on everything, including your appearance. You can never be overdressed. Wear a suit, nice shoes, and style your hair. Show you take the opportunity seriously.

-Get there early-showing up late will guarantee you not getting the job, but getting there early will guarantee you're on time with time to spare to get your affairs in order and focus on what you need to do.

-Bring extra copies of your resume-your interviewer will ask you for it, and if you don't have it, you'll look unprepared, which is very bad.

-Convey positivity-Be interested and engaging, look your interviewer in the eyes, give a firm hand shake. Your aim is to connect with the person.

-Before you go in, take a minute to clear your head. Listen to some music, meditate, go over what you want to say in your head. Get in the right frame of mind to make the lasting impression you want to make.

Getting a job in New York can be a long, difficult task. Don't get frustrated if you don't get hired right away. The longer you stay at it, the closer you are to success. When it comes down to it, a lot depends on luck. If you stay at it long enough, something will work out eventually. It's hard to stay motivated when nothing is working, but remember, this a tough city. Persistence will be rewarded.

How to Find an Apartment in NYC (

So you want to move to New York City? Great, New York is one of the most happening cities in the world, but there's only one problem: where are you going to live?
As you might expect from a city with a population of over 8 million people, you've got options when it comes to places to live. There are lots of different ways to approach finding a place to live in New York. The best way to start is to get an idea of what you want before you start looking. Here's a few things to figure out before you start your search:

-What's your price range? Apartments in New York can be as expensive as you can imagine, but there are reasonable deals out there. Before you set out to find a place, figure out exactly how much you can spend. That will be your first barometer as to where you can look.

-What are you looking for in a living space? If you're moving to New York to go to grad school your needs will be quite different than an aspiring musician looking to hit the vibrant New York scene. You have to consider things like noise, sleep schedules, and lifestyles of the people who live near you. If you think living in a loft in Brooklyn where people party and play music all the time would be a lot of fun, but you work a 9-5 job, you have to be realistic and find someplace practical.

-Where do you want to live in the city? The New York metropolitan area is huge. You have to know where to look--Manhattan or the outer-boroughs, New Jersey or Connecticut. Check out a lot of neighborhoods. New York is a diverse place.

So, now you have an idea of where you want to look, how do you find a decent place? One good place to start is Craig's List. People in New York use Craig's List pretty universally. Everyday dozens of apartment listings are posted on Craig's List from every neighborhood in the Metro Area.
There are several ways to find a place on Craig's List. You can look for your own place through a broker, without a broker, you can find a sublet, or a share (an open spot in someone's apartment without signing onto the lease).
If you've got a friend (or two) with whom you want to live, and you're ready to sign a lease, finding a two or three bedroom in the neighborhood of your choice is the way to go. If you've got a well-paying job lined up in the city, and you can afford it, hiring a broker can pay off. If you've got a lot of money, and you're looking for a really nice place, a broker can find you one. If you're like the rest of us who've recently relocated to New York and can't spare an extra dollar, don't bother with a broker. You can find a good place on your own, and you'll save a bunch of money.
If you moved to the city by yourself and are looking for a cool place to live with some cool people, a share can work out great. I emphasize the word can however, since shares can be disasters. I found my place through the shares listings on Craig's List and I love my apartment and my roommates. By no means is that the norm though.

-Here's the way to find a good share: First of all, respond to a ton of listings. for every five to which you respond, one will get back to you. Then you have to go and meet your potential roomies. Prepare yourself to be judged. Being enthusiastic and looking nice never hurts. If you look like you're trying too hard, it can be a turn-off, but looking like a disinterested slob will get you nowhere. Most importantly, be yourself. You will be judged in the first minute you meet everybody, so it's all about first impressions. Make sure you get all the important info from your interviewers too: what their schedules are like, what they do for fun, if their habits match up with yours, etc. Also, pay attention to how the apartment looks. If the bathroom is dirty and the sink is full of dishes, that will be the case if and when you move in.

Finding a decent place to live in New York isn't a piece of cake, but it's certainly not unachievable. If you can, try and find some place temporary to stay during the transition. It's a lot harder to go see places and meet potential roommates when you're not in the area. Most of all, be picky. There's millions of places to live in and around the city. You'll be much happier in the long run if it takes you a couple extra weeks to find a place than if you move in somewhere for the sake of finding someplace, and you're miserable living there. Take your time and find the right place. It's worth the time and effort.