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 . 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.