A Different Perspective

A panoramic view from my office window

This place is nuts! It is impossible to get bored in New York - everywhere I've been there has always been something going on that is new and unexpected.

Yesterday I was riding the subway and it was very full. Every now and then a homeless person comes onboard and begs subway riders for money for one reason or another - some because they have a family to look after, others because they need to get food for the night - but yesterday instead of a lone beggar coming onto the subway, two older men stepped aboard and, although they were both homeless, they began singing to entertain the passengers. Where else in the world could this possibly happen?!

It was so neat. I think the urban built environment caters perfectly to these kinds of encounters, and I look forward to many more such adventures while I'm here.

This brings me to think that although I originally intended for this blog to be about a design student's perspective of architecture removed from specific personal places or experiences, perhaps more can be learned and disseminated by sharing the specific events of one person in one particular place. The events and situations that I will experience while I'm in New York are some of the most exposed that anyone could have to the world of architecture and design, and so I shouldn't limit my posts to generic musings, but should instead describe my personal adventures in the city and then link them back to the larger themes.

Just as I started this post off with a panorama of the view from my office window, let me close it with another wide-angle perspective. Even though the world is big and daunting, sometimes zooming in and focusing on our own particular encounters and strengths is the best way to make the most of our situations and opportunities. Let me finish with this quote,

"Don't ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive, and go do that, because what the world needs is people who have come alive." Wild at Heart by John Eldredge."


Big Apple

So this is what New York is like?

It’s been a whirlwind trip going from a school schedule at the University of Cincinnati to a busy city schedule in the Big Apple. I’m spending my summer working for an architecture firm in downtown Manhattan and it’s definitely going to be an adventure! Exams in a lecture hall one day and dim sum in a busy Chinatown restaurant the next? I can’t believe I’m actually here.

I have always heard that an internship is crucial for students so that they can gain practical exposure in real-world situations. I’ve also heard that the application of skills learned at school helps to put all the work we do into better perspective. So far all that advice has been right! But what nobody has ever told me is how an internship builds life skills (street smarts?). I’m definitely experiencing that now, and I hope that by working at an architecture firm I will be exposed to the reality of the working world and that I will be able to make contacts, experiences, and memories here that I can bring back to Cincinnati for school in the Fall.

I was anticipating that work would be very tiresome and intensive (and it has been so far) but traveling to New York and finding a place to live was an adventure in itself! After sleeping on an air mattress for two nights with some friends and visiting a plethora of apartments throughout the ensuing days, I finally found a place in Queens and I can safely say that New York is beginning to feel a bit more like home.

So far the craziest thing about New York is the Subway. I love it! It’s very similar to the London Underground, except it’s dirtier and there aren’t any posh British voices condescendingly reminding me to “mind the gap.” My commute to work is one hour long – I need to find a book or a puzzle to do on the train – but I have to transfer through Times Square every morning during rush hour, which is certainly an adventure!

I look forward to updating this blog to tell more about my adventures – I still consider it the “perspective of an architecture student,” although right now some of the most exciting things about living in the city have little to do with architecture. Cheers for now!



A city
a change of pace.

What makes a man feel like a gear?
What makes a gear move the machine?

The colors of a flag?
The rays of the city sun?

As a rainbow missing red
cannot fill the sky
a life without a reason
must ask why

Why are things big? Why are they small?
Why do buildings grounded low choose to stand tall?

Where does work end? How does it begin?
How can a losing man decide to win?

Time crawls
or goes too soon

We have full days to live
Under the sun
and city moon.