Friday, November 23, 2012

Chinatown

In my last post I had said that I have some exciting news. Well here it is: I'm moving to Chinatown! This historic section of New York, located in the center-southern part of Manhattan  is home to the :"largest and oldest enclave of Chinese people" in the western hemisphere. I move in December first, and I could not be more excited. The room is on the fifth floor, approximately three times bigger than the one I am in now, and it has a wonderful view of the Empire State building. 

I am excited for this move for many reasons. Cheap Chinese food every day. Commuting times cut in half. Living on the island of Manhattan. Cheap Chinese food every day.

Some of you are probably wondering, Why am I moving to a new place? What was wrong with Sunnyside? Well it all started with Sandy. The Hurricane. Thanks to Sandy, everyone in my apartment and I were confined together for 48 hours. None of us even stepped outside. Because of this, my landlady and I discovered we have different living habits. And after a heated argument about the use of hand towels, Ramen, and a microwave, I decided it was time to move out. We just weren't getting along anymore.

Once Sandy had dissipated and  things settled down in New York, I started looking for a new place. I went to craigslist and began navigating through the hundreds of postings for a room to rent. I hated the process because hardly anyone ever replied to my emails, and it was completely overwhelming because of the volume of posting to sift through.

 I started my search looking for a place in Sunnyside. I liked the neighborhood, so why not stay here? Well there weren't any rooms in my price range here, so I broadened my search. I looked in Astoria, a nice, young, fresh neighborhood just north-west of Sunnyside. I had better luck with finding a room in Astoria, but in the end it, all I found was a lesson: When there is an apartment you like, seize it. I found a great room for a great price, but I left the viewing with nothing but a "you'll hear from me" from the landlord, because she had multiple people coming to view the room throughout the week. When I called the landlord back the next day she had given the room to someone already. I was flabbergasted. I thought there were more viewings? I thought you weren't going to decided until the end of the week? What did they have that I didn't have? It was weird, but I was actually slightly emotionally impacted by it, because in my head it didn't seem fair. But, what I learned was that if you see a room you like, don't wait. Seize on it because someone else with more determination might take it from you.

So with more confidence and determination, I moved my sights to Brooklyn. I was a little nervous about finding a room here because Brooklyn has always scared me a bit. It just seems like a rougher part of New York. Touting some of the highest crime rates, there are many places to avoid in Brooklyn. But, it also has some very affordable rooms to rent and some very beautiful neighborhoods. So I responded to some ad's, viewed some rooms, but none of them really stood out to me in the way the Astoria room had. They were too far, or too small, or too sketchy, or windowless. Having grown weary of apartment searching, I gave up for awhile and resigned to the fact that I might be living in Sunnyside for a bit longer.

Then, out of the blue, I got a reply back to one of the emails I sent on a hopeful whim to a room to rent in Chinatown. Here is the exact email text: 
"Hi:
How are you? I just found your mail from trunk mail. Sorry about that for lately reply! Do you still interest the room in Chinatown? "
I was astonished! Having recovered my email from her trunk mail (by which I think she meant Junk mail) Mrs. Lee actually emailed me back and asked if I was still interest! I replied yes, immediately (thank you 21st century smart phones) and set up a viewing the next day. I went to see the room and absolutely loved it. It was big enough so that I could house friends when they come and visit, the location was perfect for my bike commuting, the price was right in my range,  and it had a window with a view, something that is secretly an important factor for me in a room. I wasn't going to loose another amazing room to someone else, so I told Mrs Lee right then and there that I wanted this room. She was a little surprised at my suddenness,  but was happy to oblige. So I signed some papers, paid the deposit, and she handed me the keys. It was one of my happiest moments in New York so far. I had worked hard and gotten something I wanted with determination and perseverance. It was so rewarding, and so exciting and I can't to move into the new place.

That's my story for this past week. Exciting, right? I am sad to have part ways with Sunnyside, it has been great in introducing me to New York. But I am super exciting to get to explore this new area of town, rich with Chinese history, culture, diversity. Oh yeah, and cheap Chinese food. Until next time!


“So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life's A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you'll move mountains.” 
 Dr. SeussOh, The Places You'll Go!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Crazy Busy

It has been a pretty crazy busy week for me over here, which is why this blog post will be a short one. Of the past 4 days I have logged 48 hours in tech rehearsals. 12 hour rehearsals every day since Wednesday. It has been an enlightening, challenging, and exhilarating experience, to say the least.

For those of you have don't know, I am working on a show at The Flea theatre: Restoration Comedy by Amy Freed, directed by Ed Sylvanus Iskandar. There is so much that I have learned on this production that I want to take and apply to my directing style, I scarce can even think of it all to put in this blog post. The main thing that I have learned is how powerful a show can become when all the actors are invested in it. The stakes are higher, the risks are bigger, and the company is stronger. I cannot wait for this show to open and see how audiences react to the powerful show that we all have created. Check out the promo video!



I wish I could write more to you all! but the fact is I am exhausted and need sleep. But more exciting things are beginning to happen! Check back next week for some news I cant wait to share with you all!


"Kiki, so, so 
We, we, no no! "
-Lets have a kiki, Scissor Sisters 

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Was Determined


As I stare at the little ovals on the presidential voting form, I am struck by the ironic humbleness of it all. After years of campaigns, and millions of dollars of advertising, the entire election boils down to one simple piece of paper with a few ovals and a few names printed in an ordinary font. To see the names “ Barack Obama”, and “Mitt Romney”, just waiting on the page, waiting to be chosen, I was flooded with a sense of personal power. I have a choice, I have a voice. My vote does count. It was a strange moment of both great power, and great serenity…

New York is an amazing city. In the wake of hurricane Sandy, while the lower third of Manhattan was still without power, restaurants and grocery stores were giving out free food, and those with electricity were sharing with those who were without. That being said, New York is also a frustrating city. Sandy took out most of the subway systems, and because everyone is so dependent on public transportation, this resulted in over-packed buses and congested traffic. Trying to get into New York from where I live was nigh impossible. The Monday and Tuesday of the hurricane I didn’t leave my room, because all of my jobs were closed so there wasn’t anywhere to go. But The Flea was having rehearsal for Restoration Comedy on Wednesday and I decided to venture into Manhattan, and what an adventure it was.

Lines of buses and people for miles
The subway near where I live (the 7 train) was still offline, so the options I had to get into town were to walk, take the bus, or take a taxi. Taxi’s are too expensive for me, so that option was out. To give you an idea of my area of Queens, there is one main road into Manhattan: Queens Boulevard. Typically, it is busy during the morning and evening rush hours, and calm during the rest of the day. Well on the Wednesday after Sandy it was backed up for MILES. The city had brought out every bus in its fleet to transport people who were without subway transportation. Plus, anyone who had access to a car decided to drive it into the city that day, so the result of this, plus the additional buses, was a traffic jam for miles long. So taking the bus was out.

I was determined to get into Manhattan, and since I had literally spent the last 48 hours in one room, I decided I would walk into Manhattan. I joined the river of people flowing down Queens Boulevard that, like me, wanted to get into Manhattan and figured walking was the fastest way.  It took me two hours and I walked 4 miles to get into the city. By that time my feet were sore and my backpack felt like a lead weight. Since I was in the city I could take a bus, because they were less congested. I took a bus down to where The Flea rehearses, but the buses weren't going all the way down. So I had to walk the last mile.

The Flea rehearses in the area of town that lost power, so walking that last mile was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. It had literally felt like I walked into a post apocalyptic wasteland  The streets were relatively deserted, there were no lights on anywhere, and most of the stores were closed and boarded up.  It was a haunting walk to rehearsal, but I got there.

After traveling 3 and a half hours to rehearsal that day, I decided I would take up biking. I bought a bike and since have been biking everywhere.  I love it because it is faster than the subway, and cheaper too. And there is nothing like weaving through the streets of New York on a bike. I really feel connected to the city in a way I haven’t before. Taking the subway is nice, but you don’t see anything when you are traveling on it. You sit in a subway car and travel through dark tunnels and only see what is around your subway stop. Biking puts you on the streets, in the heat of the mix of things. You get to see buildings and people and street vendors and alleyways and equestrians you wouldn't normally see. I honestly think it will be the closes I will ever get to web slinging my way through New York City like Spider-Man. So, from this point on, I travel by bike.

The days after Sandy were interesting, and the city was very loving and caring. It was as if the disaster created a sort of camaraderie between everyone. It was the first time since I moved here that I had random conversations with people on the street. Most of the time it was complaining about the transportation problems, but at a deeper level it was saying that we were in this together. I witnessed many random acts of kindness, and there just seemed to be a loving air about the town. We all made the best with what we were given.

Bookends are a great way to tell a story. You can wrap up a messy plot between neat idea caps. So to get back to the election, I find it quite interesting how high the stakes become in the American election. As the days draw closer to the election, American becomes increasingly fevered  with the extremes of each candidate. One is the end of the world, one is the devil, one will lead us down a road to ruin, the other is God incarnate. The extremes of each person's ideals are elevated to a level of, literally, life and death. When in reality, both want to lead America to prosperity and success in how they see fit. All the candidates want to see at the end of the day is peace and happy people. For the majority of the time, the people don’t really care what the leaders are doing, just so long as the trains run on time and their comfort isn’t threatened. So here’s to another four years of peace, prosperity, and efficient public transportation! Until next time!

“Winter is Coming”
- Motto of House Stark, Game of Thrones