Thursday, May 13, 2010

Intro: Group 1 Urban Studies Blog

The authors of this blog are students from an Urban Studies class at CUNY in NYC. This blog incorporates personal experiences and different Urban Studies concepts/theories. Moreover, the authors all acquired new knowledge about the city with newly found sharable experiences.
Eunbyoul, Judy, Terry, Alina, and Jennally were all very familiar with the city prior to this class; however, they never explored the foundations which influence how the city operates and how its design is essential to us on a personal level. Some of the things they learned is that the city is diverse, the contrast between private/public space, how parks are designed, zoning laws, and the significance of sidewalks in our everyday lives. The places mentioned in this blog include Roosevelt Island, Freshkills, Central Park, major Plaza's, and other destinations all throughout the Tri-state. Their adventures are described in this collective. Enjoy it- because they certainly had.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Eunbyoul Cho Activity #10 Freshkills Park

On May 5th, I went to the second trip the Freshkills Park. Before going to the trip, I read articles but "Turning Trach Piles Into a Bird-Watcher's paradie" by James Barron from New York Times caught my eye. When I got to the ferry station in the Stated Island, I met all of classmates and the instruction. We ride bus to the Freshkills Park and Doug told us about Freshkills Park. To me, Staten Island is a place where I go when I go to the New Jersey. It was my first time actually to go in the Staten Island and visit place, like Freshkills. While going to the Freshkills Park, there were lots of grass and trees around. Also in the directory which Doug hand out to everyone, there was a map of the Freshkills park. I was really big and I remember that Doug mentioning that Freshkills will be the largest park in the New York City. Also, I remember that Freshkills Park is the largest landfill which is made in to park. When we got to the top of the mountain, I didn't see any trash. But noticed that "The mountain was once a garbage pile. Now it has been sealed off with a plastic membrane and covered with a special kind of grass"(Barron). While going to the other side of the moutain, we saw bird cage and bird flying. Doug also mention like the New York Times said " the parks department plans to build for birders, overlooking an adjacent wildlife refuge on land that was never part of the landfill" (Barron). Doug said that they are trying to keep the wildlife in the freshkills park and also making a place where everyone can come and enjoy. Within 5 years, they are planning to open some areas of the park for people to enjoy. Also they are making many kind of place such as bycircle tracks, horse back riding, and fields for people to play sports and more. When I was their, i was really impressed and amazed that landfill can made it as a park. I knew that Staten Island was a place were New York City's trash were putted but now it is a great place for people to go. Also, I was shocked that people used to live around that landfill but it is a great that Freshkiils Park is in the Staten Island. I have already told friends and family about the Freshkills Park. They were all amazed and interested to visit there. However, when Doug mention that all the New York City's garbage were going to the South Carolina, I am and was really worry about people who live there. Also, I learned that recycling garbage is really important for people, including me. I had taken some pictures because I wanted to show it to people who were around me. It was great field trip, which it was my first time having field trip in New York. I really enjoyed and can't wait until Freshkills to open for public.


Eunbyoul Cho Activity # 9

I used yahoo and google to search for urban life blogs. In there blogs, I found interesting blogs from other peoples view point of their own blog. I was amazed that many people had blog about their urban life. Also, I didn't know there were lot of amount of blogs about urban life. It was interesting that people are really into the urban life.
1.http://thisurbanlife.blogspot.com/
"This Urban Life" is blog by Eric Mencher who lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He have taken lot of pictures of his view point in his urban life place. He had many snap shopts and had point to every picutres. In his one of picture I wrote "I like your pictures which shows your interest in your urban life. It is really nice to see your pictures." His picutres were really interesting which made me to look city different ways.

2.http://janeswalkrva.blogspot.com/
This blog is called "Jane's Walk RVA" which is in Richmond, Virginia. This blog is gathering place for people who were inspired and to celebrate Jane Jacobs works. People in virginia who are in Richimond are having Jane's Walk to give "the opportunity for neighborhood insiders to celebrate the compelcities of urban life that Jacobs cherished..."(in the blog). I was impress that there were many people around nation who cherishes Jane Jacobs work. I also think that Jane Jacob is really great author and activist. In this blog I wrote "Jane's walk is really insteresting. In my urban studies class I have read Jane Jacobs book. I am really glad that there is Jane's walk to cherish Jane Jacobs works."

3.http://larryjamesurbandaily.blogspot.com/2010/05/overcoming-poverty-with-data.html
THis blog is called Larry Janmes; Urband Daily: Overcoming proverty with data. This blog is for the low-income people to help them in the reality. Especially, for people who are challenging hard times, Larry James is providing good informations to help people to live day to day. Larry James is the President and CEO of Central Dallas Ministries. "By looking at your blog, I was amazed to see that blog is really strong website that can help people to live day to day in thier urban life." He posted some video clips for people to watch and help and give many informations. There are many sources that helps people to know the reality of their life in urban cities.

4.http://joeyveltkamp.blogspot.com/2010/05/urban-sam-gallery.html
This blog is called best of :Urban / Sam Gallery. Bloggers name is Joey Veltkamp, he made this blog to "focuses on art, food, drinking, friends and more!"(in his profile). THe blogger provides many shorts of information for people to go and enjoy places and events. Also, he have posted pictures and places where he went with his friends. So, I wrote "Your blog has many interesting information for people, including me. By looking at your blogs, I noticed that there are many events and places to go." There were many interesting artistic pictures to look and to enjoy while reading his blog.

5.http://urbanfarmgirlandco.blogspot.com/2010/05/i-was-laying-in-bed-one-night-last-week.html
This blog is called "urban farmgirl: inquiring minds..." Ths blog is writing her blog and within the blog she have made many changes which helped and provide in her life. There are many furnitures which she made. she talks about her life. She also has her email address that anyone can ask her about anything. However, I didn't send any emails but wrote "I have blog which is for group work in my urban studies class. But by looking at your blog I learned that blog can help and provide people." In her one of blog, she wrote her past years, which made me to think that blog can help people to think about their past and think about their futures too.

After looking and reading other peoples blog, I told few of my friend. Some were interested in the picutres and others were intrested how blog contained many sorts of information that can actually help people living in the reality. This 5 blogs were my favorites, which I continued looking at other blogs. But By sharing the blogs to others made me to realize that blog can be used in many ways but it just depends on people who are intrested or not. However, the bloggers were the one who are really intrested in their blog, which they don't mind who reads or look at it or not.

Teresa Mira: Activity # 10: Freshkills Park Trip

Last week on a beautiful Wednesday by 12pm I was on the Staten Island ferry getting ready to go on a tour of Freshkills Park. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this trip even after reading “Turning Trash Piles Into a Bird-Watcher’s Paradise” from the New York Times and “Wall-E Park” from New York Magazine. The title of the NYMag article along with the first picture made me almost expect a section of the park to look straight out of the movie Wall-E, despite descriptions of the park such as, “sedges and spartina grass have returned to the tidal estuary, and we see muddy tidal flats, lowland swamps, and drier, prairielike fields.” On the bus ride to the park Doug began telling us about the park and its creation and continued the story throughout our tour.
The landfill turned park we visited was open from 1948 until 2001. That’s over 50 years of garbage now under huge mounds. It’s incredible how all of that garbage is hidden underneath the mounds and made safe to be used as a park. There are layers of various materials separating the waste and the grass to make the park safe. There is a soil barrier layer just above the waste followed by a rocky gas vent layer. This gas vent layer allows the gas and leachate that are by products of the waste to be released without reaching the surrounding environments. There is then a tick plastic drainage layer to prevent rainwater from reaching the waste, two feet of soil called barrier protection material and another six inches of planting soil. This layering allows for the covering of the waste to be safe for the land to be used as a park. Standing on top of the mounds it was crazy to think there was even any waste underneath you, the grass and trees made it seem natural, the only odd part were the gas wells. These wells trap the landfill gas that is released and travels through the gas vent layer and redirects the gas to a plant where the gas is burned to be sold as natural gas. There are also ideas for windmills to be built on the mounds to supply energy. The dilemma they are having with this plan is the issue with the stability of the windmills being built on top of a landfill.
Standing on the mounds and looking around is amazing. There are great views of the city from the top of them. This aspect is part of what is going to make this park truly amazing. There are also a lot of interesting birds that reside in the park and I’m sure more will wildlife will become present as the park nears completion. While on the tour we saw a bird in a nest over the river, I don’t know what it was called as I know nothing about birds. It was very cool to see the mother with her eggs and possibly just hatched babies; it was hard to see into the nest, as it was high up. When the park opens, the wildlife will certainly be interesting to see, especially for bird watchers who can already experience a tour on Sunday mornings.
When the park is finished, they have huge plans for it. The separate mounds are all going to have their own special functions. The mound where they buried the materials from 9/11 is going to be the site for passive recreation, such as hiking and horse trails, cross country skiing and of course some form of memorial to 9/11. There are going to be mutli-use paths and fields where all types of recreation can take place on the other mounds. Various sporting fields will open as well including soccer fields, which will open next summer. Playgrounds will be opened as well throughout the park including one near Travis that is also planned to open next summer. The preserved wetlands and river area will be the site of canoe and kayak launches. The completion of this large project, however, is far in the future, approximately 30 years if everything goes according to plan. It will be very cool to go back when it opens and say that I saw it when they were still building it and I’m sure will go a long way.


Freshkills North Mount Looking At The City


Diagram of the Park's Infrastructure from the Freshkills Park Site Tour Guide


Freshkills Park Site Plan, 2006 from the Freshkills Park Site Tour Guide

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Freshkills Tour (Activity 10)-Alina Gertsenshteyn

I attended the Freshkills tour last week (I was in the afternoon group). Our tour guide Doug told us that the word “kills” means body of water in Dutch. The area got that name because it used to be very beautiful and natural. Ironically, men had literally killed the area by turning it into a wasteland. According to an article posted on nymag titled “Walle-E Park” By Robert Sullivan there is about 150 million tons of waste, leaking chemicals, and “312 gallons of liquid dump excretions processed by the Sanitation Department every minute” in this area and the Sanitation Department is not planning on leaving for at least another thirty years. In addition, the National Grid buys gas from the city (produced in Freshkills) for $10 million annually. While this seems like a good thing, unfortunately there is another problem lurking called leachate which is not a healthy chemical for us. This is all a result of us messing up the land but now we are trying to design it to be a fun place full of activities (as Doug told us) such as horseback riding. There are different specialists advising on how restore Freshkill such as ecologist Steven Handel who is suggesting how nature plants should be planted to absorb sunlight and to attract birds to bring in seeds (Robert Sulivan). The first step is to plant grass and bring in soil which is very expensive to do but it is getting done. We saw a patch of its “work in progress” when we came out of the bus.
A memorable aspect of the tour was observing the birds. Doug told us to be on the look out for a red-tailed hawk and we were. We saw a bird nest on a tall pole when the mother or father was present and we were amazed by it because in our urbanized environment we do not usually witness something like this. We were informed that bird-watchers come to Freshkills and there are many species there. The other reading we were given prior to the tour is from the nytimes website -“Turning Trash Piles into a Bird Watching Paradise” by James Barron and it states that “it is not uncommon to have a large bird population on a former landfill site.” This point was definitely validated my by own observations.
My thoughts about Freshkills after the tour are a mixture of excitement for its future and concern over how we will deal with our trash from now on. Our environment is changing constantly and even though we are improving technology and designs we kill nature on the way there and even restoring it will never get it to be exactly the same. Dumping our waste to North Carolina does not seem to be a great fix because who is to say that NC is not as important as NYC. With that being said, I think this experience has opened my mind to be more environmentally conscious and to start recycling.

Activity #9 "Why Blog if No One Reads It?"-Alina Gertsenshteyn

When I googled “urban life” an overwhelming amount of blogs came up including ones from different countries. I read through a few and picked out five which I thought were interesting. Below is what I found.
1. http://onlytheblogknowsbrooklyn.com/category/civics-and-urban-life/
This particular blog is about volunteering in Brooklyn. It informs that there is going to be an event in Brooklyn on May 13th in which 95 different organizations will hand out information on different volunteering projects. The blog described the event and talks about how there will be free admission and refreshments there (it seems that urban events almost always involve food/drinks whether they are free or sold by vendors- a theme we talked a lot about in class). Moreover, the event is being advertised here by incorporating quotes such as this one by Craig Hammerman, District Manager of Brooklyn Community Board 6., ““A real measure of a neighborhood’s strength is the extent to which its residents share their time and talents in their community.” This piece reminds me a lot about my community board experience since during the meeting I attended one of the issues outlined was volunteering. It is nice to discover that there are people out there that actually care about these community board meetings enough to quote representatives and take events seriously.
This is my comment which is pending now “I love how you point out that volunteering is for everybody. It is not just for kids who do it so it looks good on college applications. I think that volunteering is a good way for people across all ages to interact with each other. An event like this will make volunteering possible for different people since everybody has distinct abilities and interests.”
2. http://www.urbanophile.com/2010/04/02/replay-the-outsiders/
Here the author talks about his/her (?) trip to Paris and the astonishing differences the city has from US cities. This is what the author noted “Some things I remember noticing about Paris from my first trip was that you could buy beer in a coffee shop, the metro system used rubber wheels and wasn’t noisy, it had incredible headways, and the lattice design allowed easy “anywhere to anywhere” journeys. Usually whenever I visit a place I come away with at least one new good idea.” I loved the last line in this quote because I think that the whole point of all of our field trips in this class was to leave a place with new ideas about the design and structure of a city and how it affects our lives. I am in awe that the metro system is not noisy in Paris because in NY all we hear is noise everywhere and the funny thing is that I do not even notice it. I am completely immune to it. I am now wondering if Paris is “quiet” by our standards.
My comment: “People from different cities rely on certain senses more than others. In the book I read “The Hidden Dimension” by Edward T. Hall he talks about how people across cultures vary in their sensitivity to sound, smell, seeing, and touch. In my opinion, New Yorkers rely more heavily on sound than the French do but the French are more sensitive to the sense of smell.
3. http://livingthecheaplife.net/2008/05/why-living-in-an-urban-area-doesnt-have-to-be-expensive/
This blog is about the cost of life in urban cities which is expensive. It is interesting that the author says that even though he/she has a car this person still takes advantage of public transportation and biking. Transportation is a theme we explored in class. The author even points out that when he/she lived in the suburbs owning a car was more important. Every time you use a car you have to spend on gas and at times parking; therefore, substituting it for a bike or a bus is both beneficial to yourself (you save money) and to your community since traffic is not a positive aspect of the city (our city is constantly trying to reduce congestion).
My comment: Wonderful that you are taking advantage of bikes and public transportation! You are not only saving ourself money but you are helping the community and enjoying yourself outdoors. In addition, using these alternatives might get you where you need to go faster since a common problem in the city is traffic.
4. http://johnson.blogs.nytimes.com/
This is a New York times blog about NY and it reads like an academic piece. Steven Johnson writes how much safer NYC is presently than it was throughout history. Even though the population is growing there is “there is remarkable diversity with very little ethnic or religious conflict; and dozens of major new parks and public spaces are either being planned or built”. I would have to agree with him. In the gender/sexualized activity we did (activity 6) I was surprised to discover how there are many gay spaces which seem to be existing peacefully. It is also great that there are new parks being built…just like in Freshkills! I was able to read this piece and actually know what he is talking about because of the exploration we did during the semester.
My comment: The city needs more parks. I believe that by living in such urbanized areas we are losing touch with nature and we need to restore it. With that being said, I would like to bring up the Freshkills project which is going to transform a former garbage dump to a gorgeous park! Our city is definitely improving and it is amazing that we are becoming smarter in its design.
5. http://www.neatorama.com/2009/01/04/urban-life-is-bad-for-brains/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+Neatorama+%28Neatorama%29
This blog is very scientific and psychological. The author says that “After spending a few minutes on a crowded city street, the brain is less able to hold things in memory”. I agree with this to a certain degree. When we had to do the urban storytelling assignment I personally felt overwhelmed because my brain could not focus on a certain place since there is just an ENORMOUS amount of information each city space gives off. Even a place that has personal meaning to me had multiple meanings so forming one story in my brain was super difficult. Also, from my experience since we see so many different faces in a day it becomes harder to recognize people. It might also be more difficult to remember how to get someplace or to determine if you are on the right block (the one you need to be on) since everything kind of gets mushed together and starts looking the same.
My comment: Our mind and senses are indeed limited. Can you imagine having to process all the different senses coming towards you at once while walking down a city block? How would we ever focus? Usually I find myself blocking everything out altogether and just concentrating on some personal matter one my mind.

Basically I am going to start advertising these blogs on a small scale to get people into it. First, I put up a link to our blog as my status on facebook... not to sure who will actually go on it but you never know...I have about 400+ added friends. I also messaged my best friend who loves the NY Times and told her about the blog I found from their website and she said "cool I will check it out" and I think that there is a good chance that she will go back to it being that she is a sociology major and took an urban class before (but she wasn't introduced to blogging). So even if it is just one person...it is a start. In addition, if I am ever on the conversation topic of urban studies with someone I will tell them about my blogs and the odds are that they will be interested in looking at it since they are engaged in the conversation.

Monday, May 10, 2010

"The Hidden Dimension" by Edward T. Hall -Alina Gertsenshteyn

Edward T. Hall is an anthropologist and author of the book “The Hidden Dimension.” He has coined the term “proxemics” to the field which studies how men across cultures make sense of their space. As he explains “people from different cultures not only speak different languages but, what is possibly more important, inhabit different sensory worlds” (3). Furthermore, since our urban setting are man made it has been created to appeal to our different senses but not every culture makes use of space the same way. A person and his/her environment are constantly modeling each other. Hall uses many anthropological concepts in his book by discussing evolution and the biology of senses. He points out that since a changing environment influences how a species evolves than when humans create an environment they are directly shaping who they will become in later generations (4).
Furthermore, in chapter two of his book Hall discusses how similar we are to animals in regards to space. Animals are territorial to protect themselves from danger and to acquire needed resources; however, some species prefer to live in communities to protect themselves from factors such as predators. Similarly, we are the same way…we build gated communities to mark a safe space yet it is a community nonetheless for nurturing reasons. Hall also explores how when we communicate there is a concept of keeping a “safe distance” and it varies upon the relationship between the individuals (15). In an experiment done with observing rats in a community he found that “An increase in population density leads to a proliferation of classes and subclasses” (28). This is another striking similarity with us because class systems influence how space is created to appeal to certain groups and exclude others by, for instance, making the place expensive and therefore only affordable to its desirable crowd.
In addition, Hall outlines our reception of space through our eyes, ears, and nose. These three are our distance receptors which examine distant objects and our skin, membranes, and muscles are immediate receptors which feel the world up close (40). With that being said, he gives cultural examples of how our senses are used differently. For instance, Germans use double doors and thick walls to drain out sound and they have a harder time than us to have to rely on physical concentration to not pay attention to noise. Also, in America using deodorant is the norm and public odors are suppressed- Americans have an underdeveloped and bland use of olfactory space (44). Hall gives examples in the later chapters of how the senses are used across groups.
I liked the chapter “The Language of Space” in which he uses great authors such as Mark Twain, Butler, and Thoreau to describe how people poetically perceive their dimensions. He points out that even though the text were written a long time ago they could have been written today since they are so applicable (95). Poetry and fiction rely on senses to appeal to readers.
In conclusion, since our world has become increasingly “man made” we are getting better at creating things which appeal to us best. This makes sense from an anthological perspective since space has primitive usage for survival. Besides that, our space is a reflect of other culturally designed concepts such as those dealing with prejudice and class status- we are in a sense picky of who we share our environment with. For instance, I know that when my parents were buying our house one of their main concerns was to find a safe neighborhood and they liked the fact that ours was very middle class suburban and had plenty of other Russian people around because those are the types of people they want to be next to. It made them feel that they are doing the right thing by picking a safe place to raise kids and they had the advantage of being around people of similar interests who can always help out when needed. Therefore, many of the factors in Hall’s book are applicable to my personal experiences.

Judyta Banach Activity#10










For the last activity, our class went to a trip to Staten Island to Freshkills Park. The park, at 2, 200 acres will be the biggest park in New York City and it is a project that will continue for the next 30 years. The important part of the Freshkills Park is that it is being developed on the biggest landfill and that is one of the reasons why the creation of the park will take so many years.
We were picked from Staten Island ferry by our tour guide. Although I have been in Staten Island many times I never knew about the development of this park. As I learned during our trip, the final closing of the landfill was on March of 2001. Although people living in there oppose the idea of having the landfill next to their houses, it took many years until the city decided to close the dump area. As we all know, the same year that the landfill was closed, terrible tragedy happened in September. The cause of it was that the waste disposal was re- opened because the city had to take all the rubble from Ground Zero.
The Freshkills Park that used to be a flat and wet land, now has many high picks in its landscape. They are divided into North, South, West, and East. The West Park is the area where the 9/11 rubble was taken, and in the honor of those people that bodies have not been recover, the memorial will be created. Standing on the North mountain, out tour guide made as realize that we were standing on tons of garbage that was being hidden under many layers of soil that serve as protection barrier. The gases that are being produced by all the waste and that are dangerous for the environment are cleaned and reused in many houses in Staten Island.
The Freshkills Park will not only serve as a recreation land, but also as a home to many birds and other animals. There are already visible traces of birds migrating and settling in the park. Some of the attractions that are going to be offer by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation are biking, kayaks, and even cross-country skiing during the winter season.
Although the whole project is going to take many years, the city plans to open some of the park to the public in three or four years. This trip taught me many interesting things and also made me realize more how because waste takes so long to decompose, it destroys the nature around us. The sad thing is that the landfill in Staten Island was closed, but the garbage from the neighborhood is being taken to North Carolina landfill, where it destroys their land.

I also attached picture of the landfill and one picture of how the park will look like in the future.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Picture from Roosevelt Island

Activity 8-Alina Gertsenshteyn

For this activity we went on two different trips during our designated lecture time. The first one was to Roosevelt Island which the other group picked for us all because not only is it one stop away from Hunter College through the F train but it is actually a pretty place. We took the train there together and when we got off we ran into starbucks and got ice coffee. Matt was the only guy with us and he was our tour guide. He did a great job leading us through the area in the limited time we had since some of us had class afterwards. The water was very pretty and one the other side we saw large hospital. The area was residential with apartment buildings, a church, and a school. Matt actually called his friend- a local Roosevelt Islander to come out of his apartment and say hi to us all. Everything there was clean. I liked a cozy restaurant we passed there which had outdoor seating. We also spotted a Hispanic woman with a white child and we started talking about this trend we noted in class- we assumed it was the nanny not the mother.
The second trip was also done during our class time on one of the days class was canceled. We went to Central Park and one again Matt was our tour guide. I had been at central park many times before on my own and I still love it. We saw the statue of Balto which was very cute and made me remember the part of the movie when the grandmother was showing the statue to her granddaughter in the park setting. In my opinion, Central Park is more of a public place than Roosevelt Island is because it is not residential. Roosevelt Island had signs that said “private property” even though we ignored it. I learned that the Great Lawn in Central Park was called just that and there were many people relaxing there (like always during good weather). It made me feel a little bit jealous because I did not have that luxury at the time being that I had class right after but it definitely appealed to me enough to want to go there during my spare time and read. We passed by benches which is essential to any park setting and there were vendors selling food and water…they were much at need to make the environment comfortable (as we had said in class). Central Park also provides lots of shading to allow individuals to hid from the sun. Also, people used the rocks to sit on. It is interesting to explore which individuals prefer the rocks and which prefer benches. It seemed that teenagers liked the rocks and that the elderly went to sit on the benches. There was a musician in the park that day and I drooped a dollar in the instrument case. Lastly, we came across the Chess and Checkers House. I was surprised to see it there because I thought that within the tri-state area chess playing was exclusive to Russian grandfathers within my community and they only went to the Brooklyn parks. Yet this hobby is popular there as well and not only among Russians. When I was a kid I used to always watch my grandfather play chess while I occupied the playground part of the park so seeing this brings back happy memories.
In conclusion, I loved going to these two trips. I feel that we had connected together as a group which is rare being that Hunter is not really a place I socialize in (I am mostly just in and out). Besides that I explored Central Park past my usual exploration of it and was introduced to Roosevelt Island- a place which I would actually LOVE to move into!

Judyta Banach-“Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America”, Setha Low-book review

Setha Low in her book “Behind the Gates: Life, Security, and the Pursuit of Happiness in Fortress America” interviews people and analyzes their reasons for living in gated communities. Her research that is mostly based on communities in New York, Texas, and California, gives the reader clear reasons of why people decide to move to these private enclaves. Although I never been to gated communities, this book showed me a well-defined picture of them.
A big house in suburbs, an expensive car, good job, and big family is an American dream that people living in America want to make come true. According to the author of the book gated communities first appeared in California and Texas, and now “…one third of all new communities in southern California are gated” (Low, p.15). Although there are many reasons of why people move to these communities, the biggest one is the need to feel safe and secure. These communities are usually surrounded by tall walls and gates, where security guards control who can enter the property. Setha Low states in the book that the freedom of the residents and the ease of resident’s access have to be limited in order to make these communities more secure and private.(Low, p.11).
Through out the whole book, the interviews with people living in these private enclaves, give the reader the answer to the big question of why move to gated communities. Sense of security, fear of other ethnicities, and a dream house from childhood, are the most popular reasons that people gave in their interviews. Young parents don’t have to worry about their children being kidnapped, there is less noise in these private neighborhoods, and older people don’t have to worry about maintaining the garden or the outside of their house. Although one might think that people living in gated communities know their neighbors really well, the reality is different. Because many people buy those houses or apartments to have more privacy, in many gated communities there is no interaction within the neighbors. One of the examples that Setha Low gives, is the interview with Andrea who lives with her husband in Manor House located in New York. Andrea agrees that she is not looking to make friends in her community, because she has a social life outside of it (Low, p.79).
There were a lot of interesting and surprising points in the book. The big one that caught my attention was how the houses and apartments are being control by the board. Even thought the residents have an option to be a board member, many of them don’t have time to participate or simply choose others to represent their community. In many cases people don’t like the decisions made by board but since they don’t have time to participate in decision-making they have to accept it. People like George who lives in Pine Hills, New York uses “you snooze you loose” tactic, where he explains that since he doesn’t have time to participate, he accepts boards decisions whether he likes or not. Another problem that people have with boards is that they have to ask for a permission to do anything outside their houses. Since the land is control by the board if residents want to change their landscape, they have to get approved first. Another interesting point made in the book is how people move to these private communities because of the fear of “others”. They want to be surrounded by people from the same class status. Many people that moved to gated communities liked their previous neighborhood, but in many cases the change of ethnicity made them move to these private enclaves.
Reading this book, the one thing that I noticed in relation with our class, was how people choose private enclaves that are surrounded by tall walls over more public ones where they feel unsafe. Although many of the residents agree that these walls don’t really serve as a protective barrier, they still feel safer when surrounded by them.

Teresa Mira: Book Review: Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days In L.A. By Luis Rodriguez

Always Running: La Vida Loca: Gang Days In L.A. is an autobiography by Luis Rodriguez about his youth in East L.A. and his involvement in gang warfare. As a young child, he moved around with his family, his mother, father, brother Joe and two sisters, living in various poor neighborhoods in the L.A. area mostly populated by Chicanos. With this moving around came the switching of schools making it difficult for him to fit in and do well especially with his background of being a Mexican American and speaking little English. Finally settling in South San Gabriel Luis encountered his first gangs. They began innocently, like cliques of friend for sports and trips. These small cliques evolved into larger and more dangerous groups later becoming gangs. The two towns, South San Gabriel and Sangra, became mortal enemies with their respective gangs, La Lomas and Sangra. Luis became a member of La Lomas and slowly was drawn into this dangerous and destructive lifestyle. Drugs, violence and other destructive behaviors fill their young teen lives. They get high in every conceivable way, smoking, snuffing, heroine, pill popping, anything. Fights are a norm with their lives as they become more violent and deadly. The idea of attending and finishing school is almost out of the question with a combination of their disinterest and the school’s racist attitudes. With the construction of the Community Centers, life turns around for the better for Luis. He reenters school and participates in violent and destructive gang activities less. Luis also has a large part to do with reforms within his school, one that initially expelled him. The formation of Chicano groups and the spreading of awareness allows for the bettering of the school and the possible education of future Chicanos. Luis attends College for a short time, though it is ended by a small run-in with the ever-abusive police, his life turns for the better with his leaving the gang and it’s activities.
Police brutality and violence are huge themes within this book. The violence of a force that is meant to protect the public is ever evident through Luis’s experiences with the police. When he is caught by the restaurant for attempting to leave without paying, he makes it clear how very violent the police can be. He says, “They beat on us all the time. Especially them sheriffs. They’re the worst.” (144). In every incident that involves police, enforcement there is mention of unnecessary and horrible violence from the police. They not only beat them with their nightsticks and fists, but also entice them and find reasons to start with the Chicanos. Violence is seen everywhere in Luis’s life. It begins with his brother’s treatment toward him as a child. When we are first introduced to Rano, Luis is yelling to his mother, “Amá mira a Rano, He’s hitting me again.” (13). His mother also is a violent character as she is the one who gives the punishments of lashings with a belt. Violence is carried through the stories, as it is a central part of the gangs. They get into countless fights, with each other, the police and anyone who they feel like. Initiation into the gangs often involves violence as well. Violence is also not simply a male characteristic as not only his mother, but many of the females in the gangs are very dangerous and violent as well.
The amount of violence especially from the police was quite appalling and alarming to me. I had heard of police brutality and racism from the police of course, but the extent to which they take it is incredible. As I have been doing research on the Tompkins Square Park Riots, the violence Luis speaks of seems far worst than seen in New York. The first incident at the beach seemed at first relatively calm, it didn’t seem too wrong seeing how they were young teenagers alone with drugs and alcohol. The treatment they received, however, was horrible, “They had us squatting there for five, ten, then fifteen minuets. We couldn’t stand up, kneel or sit. The circulation in my legs felt blocked. The muscles cramped and ached. But we weren’t supposed to do anything but squat.” (66-7). They treated them as if they weren’t human and gave them harsh and undeserved punishments even before they had proof they had done anything seriously wrong. The police continue this behavior in escalating forms throughout the story.
In relation to the class, the main theme that I noticed was how they used public places for private use. Almost all of their major battles and confrontations take place on streets, in parks and lots. They use the tunnel as a place to get high and even sleep in lots and other such open places. There are various sexual acts that take place in general open places as well such as on porches and on the hills. There doesn’t seem to be a great deal of differentiation between acts that they do in private and in public places throughout the book.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Eunbyoul Cho Book review, Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier

Sidewalk by Mitchell Duneier
This book is written by Mitchell Duneier. In this book, there are many descriptions on people who work in the sidewalk. People who he talks about in this book are from New York City. They are vendors, scavengers, and panhandlers who Duneier have met and learn many things through them. The main theme in this book is that there are different lifestyles in New York City for vendors, scavengers, and panhandlers. Even though people might think they know about vendors, scavengers, and panhandlers, there are different then we know as Duneier experience with their lifestyles.
In this book there are many examples of people who are in the sidewalk. People who works in the sidewalk, they are usually black people. In this book, Duneier talks about Marvin and Ron, who works in the sidewalk, they sell magazine to the people. In this book, Marvin is like a ‘caretaker’ to Ron. Marvin has trust on Ron so they work together. Marvin always cares and tells him to not to do bad things to Ron. Marvin believes that one day Ron will live without doing bad things like drugs. By reading this book, most of people never or doesn’t think about the vendors, but I noticed that within working in the sidewalk, there are trust and people who really care about each other. There are social relationships created within the sidewalk, which I didn’t know until I read this book.
The most important, interesting, and surprising points of the book was in the beginning of this book. The book vendor called Hamkin shows his relationship with people who he sells book to. Hamkin is educated person; I want to mention this because there are stereotypes that people who work in the sidewalk aren’t educated. Hamkin went to Rutgers University but he couldn’t graduate because he couldn’t pay five hundred dollars to the school, which he owed. Before working in the sidewalk, he used to work in many companies. But now days he sells his ‘black’ book, which is history of black people, and give choices to people which ones are good books for them to read. It is interesting and surprising that Hamkin is educated person but works as a book vendor. There is diversity of people who buys book in Hamkin’s vendor. Jerome is 22 years old who works near the Hamkin’s vendor. Jerome buys book from Hamkin and Hamkin gives advices to Jerome. Hamkin helps Jerome to get GED and promises that he will support him. Also, Hamkin introduced Jerome to other person, who he was professor. Hamkin tries to help Jerome to get better life and education than he has it now. There is a suprising relationship that Hamkin supporting Jerome. He even promises that he will financially help Jerome.
As we discuss in class about Jane Jacobs of view, Hamkin is a perfect example to draw connection. There was deliveryman but the shop was close so he asked Hamkin to hold until the shop opens. Hamkin said yes to the deliveryman. This is a trust that deliveryman and Hamkin have. Because Hamkin is always there in his vendors, deliveryman knows that Hamkin will be there until the shop is open. Like Jane Jacobs said that there is relationship or trust in neighborhoods. Also, as we discuss in class, even though we don’t ‘know’ neighborhood, we know them. In this book, people who work in the sidewalk has trust within them and within people who are around them.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Teresa Mira: Activity # 9: Why Blog If No One Reads It? Finding Urban Life Blogs

When you google “urban life blog” a surprisingly large number of results come up. Looking through them it’s very interesting to see what others have to say on the topic. The first blog I looked at was
http://urbanlifelab.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/low-hanging-fruit-2/. In this blog entry, they discuss the green movement and how cities have begun to try to follow it. Particularly leaving lights on is discussed and how they often aren’t turned off during the day for example in NYC and how they are on in unnecessary places at night. Many of the other posts on this blog deal with NYC as well as other cities. It seems however that when someone thinks urban life NYC always comes to mind.
The second blog I looked at was http://thisurbanlife.blogspot.com/. This blog is mainly a photo blog by a man living in Philadelphia. I really liked this blog; it was like seeing the city through the eye of the camera and the man behind it. I loved the pictures they are absolutely fabulous. It was really interesting to see how the photographs could speak for themselves and tell stories about the city and urban life.
The third blog I looked at was http://blog.corneliusdufallo.com/. This blog has interviews with various composers in New York City. It was interesting to see a different way of looking at urban life, through music. The composers have had their work performed in the city, discuss their influences, their processes, and their work, and give advice for young composers.
The fourth blog I looked at was http://onlytheblogknowsbrooklyn.com/category/civics-and-urban-life/. This blog discusses various issues that pertain Brooklyn and its residents. There are posts on this blog dealing with everything from a sprained ankle, to the Times Square bomb threat to various cultural events in Brooklyn. It was interesting to see how someone has complied such a wide variety of topics all dealing with the same urban place into a single blog. Many of these posts deal with events happening in Brooklyn, I’m thinking I have to keep an eye on this blog for this summer.
The fifth blog I looked at was http://www.onejerusalem.com/2008/07/22/urban-life-in-tel-aviv/. This was a photo slideshow blog entry of Tel Aviv in 2007. It was really interesting to look through the photos and see what it looks like, as I haven’t done much traveling I thought it was really cool to see. I really liked the graffiti art on the walls; it was really interesting to see how there were so many similarities between here and cities in the US.

I commented on the following blog:
http://prjob2010.blogspot.com/2010/04/activity-8part-2.html?showComment=1272928013331_AIe9_BFO5jZ7Rt0d_HvP1LlmWcWnpDtJ9tfaZxsXpwoiQBetc5Qdz6eo1S7eZj2Zpo9NudvEM_uKdwGh5shRrqTt9WJZTks0AZU-drpDU4GAyqpqV09_2M19Ch5lX3ZGME2s5TaM2O0errEHN8ov1DIXAtYcdJHONKJI-mU12V6fpCqoBK0_KsGMlk9IWXQEdJ5TQYDzzWPJeeStfRgIONkOPSy0LATKR055SULQIfgAxoJG_8qy5Rs#c2191478221420229086

Judyta Banach Activity#9

For this activity I explored others blogs that were related to “urban life”. I was trying to find blogs that I can relate to the most, and the first one that caught my attention is called “urban legends”- http://www.blogcatolog.com/blog/urban-legends-1. I picked this blog first because the themes of it are very similar to the blog that I and my group have. We as well as the author of the blog, who is a young Indian woman, explore New York City through different activities. She talks about taking a train and exploring the neighborhoods around her, and presents her blog as a small guide for tourists. It is written by an urban planner who is living in London, and explores the city as a flaneur. I found her blog very interesting because she shows many pictures of the city through as she stated”her professional city-trained eyes”. Although I am not trained as an urban planner, this class and other blogs related to this topic help me to explore the city that I live in, differently than before.
Another blog that I found through recommendation of the first one is also written by a woman that lives in London-http://www.janeslondon.com. Her blog is about the London’s cool places, but not the ones that are the main attractions of the city, but about places that tourists normally don’t see. I like this blogs because it gave me an opportunity to see London in different perspective. The author of the blog shows pictures of graffiti, and old buildings that make people realize that this city could be known for something else than famous Tower Bridge or Buckingham Palace that can be found in every tourist guide. Unlike my blog where I and my group members mostly explore places in New York where there are high density of tourists, this blog shows hidden but interesting places of London.
My next step in searching for blogs related to mine was to find something about New York City. I wanted to see how NYC bloggers react to different things happening around them, and how they represent their perspective about the city they live in. This is what caught my attention: http://ny.curbed.com/
This blog is mostly designed around real estates in New York. I found it interesting because of the fact how expensive houses and apartment are in our area and I decided to explore this topic more by looking at this blog. It has a section where bloggers can search for news about real estates by neighborhoods. Because my last project for the class was to talk about a place that I remember and I picked Greenpoint, I turned my attention to this neighborhood. I found there an interesting picture that was taken in Leonard Street in Greenpoint. The landlord posted a sign on the apartment door of the tenant stating that she doesn’t pay rent. Because Polish people largely occupy this community, the landlord posted the sign in Polish and English. In my opinion this blog is very helpful because it shows New Yorkers the real estates prices by neighborhoods.




Here are the links to the blogs where I posted comments:

http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2010/03/22/warm_weather_kicks_off_crazy_signmaking_season_in_north_brooklyn.php#comment-574553

http://londonist.com/2009/04/the_london_blogger_interviews_12_fl.php#_login

Friday, April 30, 2010

Teresa Mira: Extra Credit: Safari 7

Although I missed the Earth Day event, I still decided to download the Safari 7 podcast to listen to while riding the 7 train. At first I had decided that it would be a great distraction from doing school work and not very productive. As I began to listen to the podcast and think about our class I was really happy that I had done this.
It was so interesting to hear about how the city has evolved since almost the beginning of time. It started off talking about the wildlife that once lived on Manhattan island and continued as the train went though Manhattan and into Queens. It also talked about the building of the tunnel and how the rubble and leftovers that they dug out were used to make an island, which is an amazing way to conserve and reuse materials in a healthier way for the environment. Then when we got to Vernon Boulevard Jackson Avenue the podcast talked about the fish in the East River, its water and how the name of the river isn't accurate. Then it talked about the oysters in the river and the attempts to restore their population. Live animal slaughter houses were then discussed in the podcast. I thought that the idea of picking the animal you are about to eat is a bit bizarre. I certainly would like to keep the image of the animal and the meat I'm eating separate. The podcast continues talking about the water in the East River and the chemicals that enter it. Squirrels and Monarch Butterflies are also discussed as you ride from Queensboro Plaza to 33st. Various plants and weeds are talked about as well as you ride near 33st. When I got to 40St I was surprised to hear about the orchard with Peach and Apple trees. I never thought of New York having trees like these, I always thought of them as being in rural and maybe suburban areas. The idea of Urban agriculture sounds like a good one to help the environment. I was of course very excited to hear about the dogs around 40St. I'm a huge dog lover and I wish I could own one in the city. It was really interesting to hear the different common populations in each neighborhood in the city. As I continued to listen and ride the 7 it continued to talk about more wildlife and plants. I thought the clip from the 1939 World's Fair was very cool as we reached Willets Pt/ Shea Stadium. I also thought it was so odd to be on a subway here because I am so used to passing by the stadium on the LIRR. As she described her seeing the Worlds Fair and its grandness I tried to image what it would have been like to have seen it.
Listening to Safari 7 and riding the 7 train was surprisingly fun and actually productive despite my efforts to procrastinate work. I was very happy that I decided to do this project and listen to the podcast. It would be really very interesting if they decide to try to make podcasts like this one for other subway lines and even try to make more people aware of it. It is a very interesting and important project I think more people should be aware of.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Alina Gertsenshteyn Activity #6: Sexualized/Gendered/Queer Spaces




1. Hayden points out that “a ‘good’ neighborhood is usually defined in terms of conventional shopping, schools, and perhaps public transit, rather than additional social services for the working parent, such as daycare of evening clinics” (145). In my neighborhood there is a children’s toys/book store which closes at 9:00 pm during the weekdays. In the picture the words are in Russian because I live in a very Russian neighborhood (Brighton Beach). This is interesting because at that time a lot of children (especially really young ones) are sleeping or getting ready to settle down and don’t toy shop. So clearly these store hours are intended solely for working parents/adults to be able to buy things for their kids even with a late night work schedule. It is also conveniently located by the highway so it is easy to commute there and could cater to a wide range of people. Hayden points out that even though there is an increasing amount of families with both parents working they still have the same duties to children and they are not relinquished from the fact that they have to buy supplies/toys for their children to keep them happy. Toys and books are also helpful in cognitive growth and development. I also found a family medical clinic not too far from the store which closes at 7:00 pm during the week. This is very useful because sometimes even though an adult has a sick child he/she cannot take off from work so the child must wait for the parent to come home to be taken to a doctor.
2. There is this salon which does hair primarily for men. If you look at the sign it says “Jack Hairstyles for Men” but it also says “Ladies and Children’s Haircuts” in smaller letters under it. I do not know why the second line was added because I always pass this place and I have never seen a female or a child in there. There is a pool hall located on Coney Island Avenue and Brighton Beach and it is mostly men who go there (about 85%). Usually the men play billiards but there might be a couple of teenage girls in there playing some arcade games. When I was younger I would often go inside there with a girlfriend during the summer and we would usually walk in wearing short shorts and tank tops. Being practically the only females we would attract a lot of attention but we did not care- we went there when we were bored and wanted to play this game they had. Even the only two workers in the billiards place are two older men who have owned it ever since I remember. The guys there usually seem drunk as well and there is always a bunch of them smoking outside smelling like liquor. There is a lingerie store on Brighton which I thought catered only to Russian grandmas until I went in there one day and saw that they have some very naughty products there as well (which I will not disclose here). So just picture a hidden lingerie/sex shop for ladies only.
3. I do not know of any gay/queer places in my neighborhood because my “hood” is kind of traditional. However, recently I walked by a popular theater in Brighton and I saw an Ad for an upcoming drag queen show. This surprised me because usually that place features shows such as literature readings or ballets…and it is often occupied by older people or children (if it’s a kids show). I wonder if this signifies that my community is becoming more open minded towards the gay/queer lifestyle.
4. Most gay places in New York are in Manhattan especially in the neighborhoods of Chelsea, Hell’s Kitchen and The Village, but there are places throughout the whole NY area. Here are some examples I found on google: Bar Centrale (Hell’s Kitchen), Barracuda (Chelsea), Club Atlantis (Queens), there is a list of gay friendly hotels and the Marmara Manhattan hotel is on it, Hot Nude Yoga (NYC), Reebok Sports Club, etc. There are also a bunch of parties on venues, rooftops, cruises, etc.
5. I think that teenagers have a habit of making public places suitable for private things after dark. I heard stories of kids having sex in open places such as the beach (I live by one), parks, building rooftops, etc. This happens because they cannot always bring a girl/guy home because of parental rules. Even though these places are public at certain times they are deserted. For instance, nobody really goes to the beach at nighttime and there aren’t any cars passing by of course. So besides hooking up there are other private things going on such as urinating in public spots (all ages). This happens because bathrooms are not always accessible or nearby. Even when I was little my mother would let me pee behind buildings. Kids also use the same places mentioned before to smoke weed since they cannot home indoors. They are doing it for recreational purposes-to have fun, because they might be addicted, or to forget certain problems/relieve stress.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Alina Gertsenshteyn-Community Board Meeting Activity #5

The community of Brooklyn’s District 9 consists of a population of about 100,000 individuals spread out in neighborhoods such of Crown Heights, Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, and Wingate. As of the census from the year 2000: 11,733 (11.3%) are White, 79,466 (76.4%) are African-American, 819 (0.8%) Asian or Pacific Islander, 183 (0.2%) American Indian or Native Alaskan, 816 (0.8%) of some other race, 2,416 (2.3%) of two or more race, and 8,581 (8.2%) of Hispanic origins.
In addition 36.4% of the population uses some form of public assistance as of 2004, which increased to 20.8% in 2000. An example of public assistance is AFDC or Home Relief. Another example of financial support which applies to this town is Medicaid which is given to 36,338 residents. The majority of the housing consists of 1-2 family residential- 4,289 lots out of 6,994 total units.
Their community board has around 50 members who do not receive a salary for the work they do- so they are basically volunteers. To be politically correct, they are actually called government officials. This board works on issues such as these: parks, public safety, transportation, the environment, etc. This sort of breaks the ranking of officials by interest groups (the community board has different committees)…for instance the chairman of Parks and Recreation is Michael Certera and Gwen Carter is of housing.
The district meetings are held once a month and are open to the public. I attended my very first meeting on April 14, 2010 at 7:00 pm. The address is 890 Nostrand Avenue, Brooklyn, NY 11225. There were several committees going on at that time so I chose the Heath and Social Services meeting. There were over 100 people in the room and it looked pretty diverse- however, I did not see that many teenagers/early 20s individuals. People were chatting amongst themselves until an official called order and silence followed. She thanked everyone for coming and briefly mentioned what was going to be discussed that night: steps to restore Hospital budget cuts, introducing a couple of Black Veterans who will talk about some struggles, review Community Health Profiles for Central Brooklyn, and to plan the Kings County Hospital Fair.
I found the last issue particularly interesting because I have seen health fairs before in school but never outside of it. The Kings County Hospital Fair is yearly and takes place in June which seems to be the perfect month for an event like this because people are more active and social in the summertime. They mentioned that last year the Fair was on Clarkson Avenue between E.38th Street and Albany Avenue (I think outside and I think that is where it is every year but I did not quiet catch that). There will be health information booths among with concession tables, vendors in a flea market setup, different entertainment (i.e. spin the wheel games), and possibilities of enrollment in a health insurance. It seemed to me that most of the people at the meeting were regulars who have planned and attended the fair beforehand. A nurse from a women’s clinic went on stage to talk about how this year women’s health is going to take up a lot of attention in the Fair. She spoke about how she is going to use the entertainment aspect to attract younger girls (adolescents/teenagers) to different information tables because she sees young girls getting abortions every day. A few hands went up as she spoke and one person asked her whether they would incorporate graphic pictures of abortions/Stds. This followed by some debate…certain people said that they did not want children to see these pictures since it was such a public space. Others thought that pictures like those are educational and will get the point across better.
So the nurse was actually a community board member for many years so she had many coordinating duties. After the closing (this was the very last issue) there was a signup sheet and a website to volunteer for different things. For instance, the committee has a tentative number of how many vendors, booths, health insurances, etc they aim to get. They also needed volunteers to sign up to set up/clean. In addition, advertising for the event was going to be done by emailing/mailing residents on the mailing list and posting up flyers in public settings such as health centers and parks. I thought that this was a valuable experience because I was never really around people who demonstrate care for their community like this. I am used to busy New Yorkers who are always on the go and only care about themselves/money. What attracted me to the last issue is the volunteering aspect which is something that I have always been drawn to but I have a crazy busy schedule so it is hard for me to do it. This event had been such a positive and motivating experience. I want to participate in it and tell Hunter College students to go. Especially since I go to a college with a strong nursing/health program I am sure I can find many interested people who would love to contribute ; therefore, I will help the Fair by recruiting and volunteering myself (even though I do not know for sure what I can do myself). Also I think that when I am older and more stable in my lifestyle I will consider joining a board such as this one.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Eunbyoul Cho

Activity #8.2


For our group trip, we went to the central park. It was my third time going to the central park. However I only went there for ice link which mean it was my first time actually go inside the park and walk around. I have saw many picutres of central park and only thought it was just a park. But it was different then what I have thought, it wasn't just a park, it was huge... so our group couldn't walk all the way of central park. We went to see the Balto statue and walked to see other statue like Columbus through The Mall. The Mall was a place there it is a road people walk but the trees have caught my eyes which it look so nice. I saw that place from Korean television show but I didn't know that place was so close to our school. Again, we walked and passes by chess and checer house. Matt told us that he went to that place when he was younger and played chess. However, there wasn't people on that they but I would definitly go there again to play chess. We walk to the Iice link place and saw people filming a movie so we went there. At last on the way back to school, we walked through the zoo. I saw horses too on the side walk. I enjoyed going to central park and want to go upper central park. Even though Hunter college is right next to the park, I have never visit there. I felt bad for myself but this fieldtrip open my eyes to central park. I am planining with my firends to go to upper side of central park.

Eunbyoul Cho

Activity 7 Eunbyoul Cho


In plaza observation, I went to the Greenacre Park located 51st between 2nd and 3rd ave in Manhattan.When I went there I was amazed that place where exist middle of building. I think this spaces was meant to be place where people can engaged to other people or relax. When I went there it was April 9th friday at 5 p.m. and was glommy and cold day. Therefore there were only 3 people sitting by themselve reading books or drinking coffee. They were olderly people. I think they are using the spaces where they intended to be used because people are relazing in that spcae. The relationship of this space to the ones around it seems to be have some resting time because near the park it seems very "bussy" place. In the park, there were many trees, flowers, food stand, water fall and lot of sitting areas. Also the spaces were open to everyone there wasn't any any purposely designed to keep out "the undesirables". However, on the entrance, there were one security camera and gate use to close park on the side way. Also there were some rules in the Greenacre Park, there were basically no taking picutres for commericial in the park, no smoking, no drinking alcoholic beverages, and other park rules. When I was in there, as I said before, I was amazed with that place. It was nicely decorated place and I loved it. I already told few of my friends to visit there because it is not that far from our school, it was just 2 downtown stops of 6 train away from our school. I would definitly go again when it is sunny.

Eunbyoul Cho

Activity 6 Eunbyoul Cho

1.In my neighborhood there was only few places which was open lately. Most of buses near my house which were Q12 and Q13, there were all 24 hour transit. I found 24 hour laundromat and right next to that laundromat there were 24 hour deli too. However while I was walking around my neighborhood, I figure it would be for the "the typical divorced or battered woman currenlty seeks housing, emplyoment, and child care simulataneously" will not live near my neighborhood(Hayden 145).It is becuase clinic or medical office were only open until 6 p.m. which was the longest and for pharmacy there were open until 8 p.m. Also, the daily care center were only open until 6 p.m. which for people who finishes work after 6 or 8 p.m. will have hard time living in my neighborhood.
2.In my neighborhood there is "PC bang" which is a place where you pay and use the computer. Mostly there were males, especially tennager boys and adults. It was hard to see women in the PC bang. I think it is because of most of people were playing games with their friend which means that they are playing altogether. However it was hard to find women in the PC bang becuase I guess near my neighborhood, including me,women don't play games with other. On the other hand, the "bbang-goop-neun-ma-eul" which is korean bakery, there were mostly girls. They were eating bread, drinking coffee, and talking to each other. The PC bang and bakery is right in front of each other it just that they are in other side of block but there were "division" between "male" and "women" place.
3. It was hard for me to find the queer/gay individuals claiming spaces for themselves but during our class someone mention that flushing library's b level was used to be the place because it is dark. So I went to that place but now it doesn't seem queer/gay space because it was bright and I think library changed there b level in someway. It was hard for me to find out queer/gay spaces.
4. I googled "gay map of new york" and went http://newyork.gaycities.com/bars/ . There are mostly bars located in downtown in Manhattan.
5. Near my house there is Kissena Park. I went there and saw many people talking, running, fishing, or dating. I think kissing is "private" activitiy but there were teenager couple kissing in the park. Not only that they didn't care about children in front of them. I think that is seriously engaging "private" acticity in public were all the people are around them

Teresa Mira: Activity # 8.2 Trip to Central Park




For the second trip, we went to Central Park. I certainly didn’t know my way around having only been to the park a total of 3 times, I did however know where the Balto statue was, a favorite of mine since I was a kid because I loved the movie. The only other landmark I know is the Imagine circle on the west side, unfortunately we didn’t have time to go all the way over there. In our walk through the park, however we did see many different parts of the park I had never seen. We passed by the Great Lawn where there are usually in good weather many people playing and lounging. We then went by the Chess and Checkers House, which I didn’t even know existed. It was very cool, set up higher than the path and provides entertainment for those who wish to participate. Then we saw the ice skating rink, which I am now waiting until next winter to go to, as I have never been there before. We also walked through the zoo area. It was very cool to see all of this in Central Park as I had never seen it before. As we walked through, I was also noticing aspects of our discussion and reading on plazas and how it applies to the park as well. There are benches and areas designated to sit on, however if you go on a nice day those seem to be the least used places. Often people seem to sit on the large rocks or the grass. This experience was a really great opportunity to explore Central Park and to spend time with my classmates.

Teresa Mira: Activity # 8.1 Trip to Roosevelt Island




For our first trip, the other group took us to see Roosevelt Island. After having grown up on Long Island, the only parts of the city I know are Times Square, Union Square and the small areas around Hunter and Brookdale, so I have never been on Roosevelt Island. Matt acted as a wonderful tour guide and showed us around giving us a lot of interesting information. We walked along a path by the river where along the path were some prime seating that reminded me of seating that would be good for a plaza. They were wide steps and a large bench that looked over the water to the city. We then continued to walk around the island and went into this little amphitheater that was a part of an apartment complex. This area is similar to the way we discussed private and public space. This area was a private space but had a public kind of appeal with a path leading to it from the sidewalk and a lot of seating. As we walked around the island, I noticed a lot of Jane Jacobs’s ideas were utilized in this small area. Roosevelt Island is certainly pedestrian friendly; it has a lot of walking and biking space. It also favors this and public transportation with the trolley that goes around the island as well as the F train and the Tram leading to the island. Overall, the experience was very nice and I really like the walk around Roosevelt Island.

Judyta Banach Activity # 8



Our second trip was based on visiting Central Park. We started out trip by 69 Str. on the East side of the park. The central point of our trip was to enjoy a beautiful afternoon and observe the surroundings of the land.
Central Park was created in 1859 to provide attractive settings for working class New Yorkers. Today, it attracts not only people living in New York, but also tourists who want to take a walk in a famous piece of land located at the heart of the city. Even though the park looks natural, many parts of it, is a created landscape.
Because of the incoming spring the greenery of the park is amazing. The trees are blossoming and flowers are “waking up” after a dark winter season. An interesting thing that I learned during the trip was that the park serves as an oasis for the migrating birds. At the beginning of the trip we all took a walk in a Mall and Literary section of the park. None of us knew why this part of the park was called like this so after doing some research of my own I found out that this is a very famous part of the Central Park. The Mall Promenade is surrounded by tall trees and by statues of famous literary people like Shakespeare. When we got to the end of this section, the trees in the Mall walk looked like guardians because of the branches that come together at the top of the trees. Central Park consists of many small bridges that are all designed in different ways, so no two are alike. Our next stop was Chess and Checkers House, where we got a map of the park, which helped us to locate many other places. The Chess House consists of tables inside as well as outside and it was built in 1952. From there we went to see a famous Wollman’s ice –skating rink. Because of the warm days, the rink was melted and unused, but as I learned, during the summer it is used for other purposes. On our way back we passed by one of the Ponds and the park’s small zoo. The zoo area was the gathering place of mostly children and tourists. Some activities that we noticed during our trip were carriage horses, pedicabs, and children climbing the rocks.



Even thought, I moved to New York eight years ago, I have been in Central Park few times. This trip allowed me to explore the park and to learn its history, as well as to connect with my classmates.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Judyta Banach Activity#7 Plaza Observation

I decided to observe Paley Park on a beautiful afternoon. The plaza had small, round tables with chairs as well as concrete seats around it. It was surrounded by big walls that were covered with greenery. Also, around every tree there were pots with yellow tulips that brighten up the place. Although there was no direct sun light in the plaza, the place was still crowded. Because the plaza is located between Madison and 5th Ave, it was mostly occupied by “white-collar” profession people who ate their lunch and enjoyed their short break from work. Once 12 o’clock hit, there were less table available, and the plaza got really crowded. There were also some tourists who were taking a lot of pictures. At the beginning, when there were less people in the Paley Park, those who came in tended to seat far away from others, but once there were less seating available, it didn’t bother them that they were surrounded by others. The one thing that I observed with a relationship with William H. Whyte observations, was that majority of people passing by either stopped and took a seat at the Paley Park, or just looked at it from the outside.
The main attraction of the plaza was a waterfall located at the end of the place, where lots of people sat in front of it to enjoy the sounds of the nature. The waterfall was so loud that if one sat in the middle of the plaza, the car noises were barely heard. This factor makes the place more interesting because even if people stay there for a short period of time, they are being able to relax more. The only place that in my opinion could be used differently was water itself. Although the waterfall makes the place unique, there is no direct contact with the water, where people could for example put their feet in it. The Paley Park didn’t have any surveillance mechanisms, but it was monitored by people that maintained the park to be clean and nice. One of them even asked the girl who threw her cigarette at the ground to pick it up and put it into marked bins.
Even though the plaza was very crowded, I felt very relax and comfortable sitting around all those people because they all minded their own business. Now that I know of places like this, I will visit them more often, especially during warm days.



Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Teresa Mira: Activity # 7: Chase Manhattan Plaza Observation

I went to Chase Manhattan Plaza downtown and observed the plaza. Unfortunately, I was only able to go on a day that was cold, windy and slightly rainy so there weren’t many people around. The plaza seemed to have been mostly occupied by tourists taking pictures and walking around. There was also, what seemed to be a high school class on a trip taking a group picture. In terms of sitting space, there are a number of large benches scattered about the plaza. They seemed to serve their purpose with event the unpleasant weather, there were still a few people sitting down for short periods of time. There were also a few food venders around drew people over even in the bad weather, especially being around noon it was lunch time for many of the people who work in the area. They didn’t seem to stay long, probably because of the weather and their desire to stay dry and warm. There were a bunch of workers and police around that seemed to patrol the area, but this also seemed to derive from the construction going on close to the plaza. They didn’t seem to bother anyone or give any type of direction but they were still walking around the area. The two statues that are there also drew people into the plaza. Tourists took pictures in front of them and then decided to sit for a while. While there I imagined that, it would be much busier and full of people on a nicer day. It wasn’t so bad that day except for the wind, every big gust seemed to cause people to get up and leave.


Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Judyta Banach Activity#6

1. Dolores Hayden in her article “What would a non-sexist city be like?” talks about building a community that would be easily accessible for men and women. She argues that even thought more women started to work, they are still expected to do their job when it comes to family matters, and a lot of times their neighborhoods don’t provide them with good social services.


This activity allowed me to pay closer attention to what kind of services my neighborhood provides to working parents. People with out kids, like me, don’t really think about these issues until they become parents. Although there are really few social services in my community, I found some that are available for people that work late or for parents. One of them is a dental office, where I used to work. The last appointment that people can make is at 7:30 P.M. and most patients ask for that hour. Another place that I noticed where laundry centers. Most of them are open until 9pm and there is even one that is open 24 hours 7 days a week. Because most of the landlords don’t provide an apartment with a washing machine, Laundromats that are open late are very helpful for people with kids.

2.





Most of the “male spaces” located in my neighborhood are not exactly only used my man, but one is able to see a male dominance in them. One place is a barber shop owned by a Russian man, where mostly older men get their hair cuts. It is located in the main street of my neighborhood which is Fresh Pond Rd. In my opinion it is a typical men place because barber shops are designed for them. There are few men that will go to a hair salon where women are gossiping. Another places that looked dominated my men were local bars. The one particular one is not only occupied by men, but also by men from the same country, which is Albania. This place is located on one of the side street, but very closely to main road, where the life is pumping day and night. The bar has been open for almost four years and every time I passed by it, I have never seen a women in there. These men also like to hang out outside of the bar and whistle at every girl passing by.
Locating “women spaces” was the easiest tusk because they are most visible. One of the obvious one is a nail salon, where I have been going for the past five or six years. As most of them, this one is also owned by very nice Chinese woman. Even thought men more and more go to have their nails done, this particular one have been occupied by women only. The only time I saw a man in there, was when the salon offered massages. Another place are hair salons that are located on the main street. Over a past few years the neighborhood became very much occupied by Polish people, and the hair salons are mostly owned by Polish women. An interesting thing that I observed is that these salons are always busy, while the ones owned by other nationalities not so much.




3. Some of the places that queer individuals claim in the city are parks, gay bars, and recently subways. Since gay are being accepted by more and more people, and since gay started to fight for their rights more, one is able to observe gay presence almost everywhere. I have lived in my neighborhood for the past eight years, and I have never seen gays or lesbians. The only place around my neighborhood, where I was able to see how queer individuals claim their spaces was the train. In my opinion they show the affection to one another in public spaces, to make other people understand that they are just like them, but with a different sex orientation.

4. An interesting factor that I saw on “the gay map of New York” is that most of the places available for gay are located in the city. In my opinion, the reason behind this is that people in the city are more open to seeing queer individuals, while those who live in the suburbs or in smaller communities tend to have more conservative point of view. Also there are a lot of tourists in Manhattan from all over the world, who are in New York temporarily and this makes it easier for gays and lesbians to show their affection to each other.
The places for gays and lesbians that the map had it, where bars, hotels, clubs and even cruise parties. On of the cruise parties is located near times Sq. and it holds private sex parties. The hotels that were on the map were mostly located very close to all the hung out areas. Most of those places are located on the west side where the city life is pumping day and night.


5. There are three major places around my neighborhood where I was able to see individuals engaging in private activities in public space. One of them is a sidewalk near subway station, where there is also a bus terminal. The bus drivers like to occupied the whole sidewalk, in the very busy part of the whole street. They usually just gossip or eat a quick lunch. In my opinion they hang out in there on their lunch brake because they like to observe the main street. Inside of the terminal there are benches put outside where only handful of people working for MTA enjoy their lunch sitting. Another place that opened not long ago is a Hookah Bar. It is a space occupied only by teenagers, but in my opinion it wasn’t only designed for them. That is one of few places in the neighborhood where teenagers are being able to meet together, and that is probably the reason why this place became “owned” by them. The third place is a park located near my house, which used by different people on different time of the day. The park is divided into three parts: a playground, a big soccer and baseball field, and a basketball court. Around noon while all the kids and teenagers are in school, there is a big crowd of mothers and nannies with toddlers. Later during the day the same playground is used by teenagers who make out, and engage in their own activities. After school the park is mostly occupied by teenagers, who play basketball or soccer.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Activity #4 (Numbers 1 &2) EUNBYOUL CHO


1. Philip Johnson's daring AT&T Building in Manhattan
AT&T Building in Manhatanna, which is now SONY building, is "most famouse building of the Post modern works inspired by Venturi's lead is Philip Johnson's..." is located in midtown manhattan (Kunstler 83). There are more sky rise building near this AT&T Building. It is surrounded with IBM building and Trump building.


2. I went to the tracks in the Jackson Height between 95st and 25th ave. I saw trail tracks which were middle in the house building. Jackson Height's track is oldest road in Queens county. This track was built in 1672 during the beginning of the time when Jackson Height was developing from a swampy area to trains Medow. Like Kunstler said in her book, "It opened up the nether reaches of the city to poor working poeple who preciously counld;t afford to travel far from their neighborhoods" (87). In Jackson height this track was only path thats connected to other areas such as Woodside ave to Flushing Bay. However, the Queensborough Corportaion bought the land and build many houses which result removing the tracks.

Teresa Mira: Activity # 6: sexualized/gendered/queer spaces

1. “A ‘good’ neighborhood is usually defined in terms of conventional shopping, schools, and perhaps public transit, rather than additional social services for the working parent, such as daycare of evening clinics” (Hayden, 145) In my neighborhood there are various day care centers for working families to use. Not only are there day cares for children, but my personal favorite, dog day care centers like Wiggly Pups, for working dog owners open from 7am to 10pm. Of course, the children day care centers out number such dog day cares. There are a number of 24 hour establishments in the area that allow for someone with any schedule to go, including CVS and Lyric Diner. There is also a 24 hour parking garage that may be used by people who may drive outside of the city for work.


2. Some spaces the city can be defined as a “male” space being a space predominantly attracting men and a “female” space a space predominantly attracting women. Examples of these can be salons or sport’s bars really any place that attracts a majority of one sex over the other. Some examples in my neighbor hood are a few bars that scatter the area seem to be male spaces though others aren’t. Those that seem to be male are the darker and less visually attractive ones. Whether the physical appearance actually is the reason or not, it seems to be the only differentiating factor to this. Some female spaces are two salons next to each other on 23rd street. Another down the street however is not. This may just be a mystery in that there isn’t really any obvious reason for this. Some spaces just end up male and others female.


3. “There is no queer space; there are only spaces used by queers or put to queer use.” (Chauncey) Claiming space for oneself is a fairly common practice whether we notice it or not. People claim space on the subway and trains by putting bags down or taking up space or when teenagers take claim space just by being in that space. Similarly, queer/gay individuals claim space for themselves. Of course, there the obvious queer/gay spaces like gay bars and other such gathering places. They also claim places in parks and even along a street or few blocks even. Comfort and safety seem to be the main reasons for choosing spaces in the city. The aspect of safety was of course very important coming from a past where there had existed “formal anti-gay regulations” (Chauncey).

4. What happens when you search “gay map of new york”? Well apparently, it depends on the search engine what the top result is. Though they all generally contain similar results, websites that list gay bars and clubs and other gay-friendly establishments such as hotels, shops and any other business anyone would want to visit.

5. People engage in “private” activities in public fairly often, be it displays of affection or illegal activities. One place people do such things is along the river. Usually the people here are young adults, who are around high school and college age. They are usually there participating in various activities, because they don’t have anywhere else to go. It is also out of the way and feels as if it can be a little more private than in the open of a street or park. Although often spots in parks are used in similar ways.