(Aka trip to Caribbean New York)
It’s really important to understand that New York is a patchwork of cultures, all melted together and affecting each other with the influences of their cultural background and creating a sort of continuum among them. That’s you can find many boroughs or districts or barrios close to each other and very different but still some kind of similar. The cuisine is worldwide recognized as one of the first evidence to state the place you come from, and you can trust me because, as an Italian, I can assure you that this is the truth.
See not all the stereotypes are bad and aim to make a culture appear weak abroad, and some of them are real and healthy as never. For example this week we have an Italian night in my shoebox, which I will describe later on, and we had “pasta alla carbonara”, a particular kind of pasta with pancetta, eggs and pecorino, all genuine Italian ingrediants. Pasta is just one of the stereotypes that reflect Italian culture, and I don’t mind when people say that we just eat pasta all year long because basically it’s true.
It’s even true that we talk waving hands and that we are late at appointments, and I don’t see why or how this could offend an Italian. It’s part of a culture, and I am proud of it as everyone should be proud of their culture. I mean I don’t play mandolino and I am not a mobster but I guess it’s clear that this is just some kind of movies leftover. Anyway as I was telling you the cuisine is one of the first things that comes into your mind when you think about a country and yesterday we went to a couple of traditional looking Caribbean places in New York.
Just next to the East Village and close to University place you can find a colourful community of Caribbean countries people that turned this particular couple of blocks in a vibrant community, just in the heart of Nolita (North of Little Italy). With the beginning of spring air became warmer and the flavour and tastes of this barrio enriched my experience there. Sunday for me it’s the traditional soccer day, and I planned to play until 3 pm and then reach my friends that went to visit Coney Island; the match ended at a quarter past four, and I also took a shower so it was too late to reach them there. Too bad because I saw the pictures and the place was really awesome, I want to come back there and also in Brighton Beach.
Anyway we met later at a quarter to eight in this place called Oficina Latina, in Prince Street next to Mulberry, a Cuban place specialized in traditional Cuban dishes (obviously) and most of all in drinks. The menu offered Capirinhas, Pina Coladas and Mojito among the others, and I have to say that they really tasted delicious. The traditional white tiles on the bar and the wooden details, together with the wide choice of wines gave the place a fancy look. The drinks were a little bit expensive but I think that may be a good place to bring a girl.
Since it was around nine thirty and I still hadn’t eaten anything from the morning I was a little bit hungry and convinced the group to move somewhere to eat. Nothing fancy or big because I still had a pastrami sandwich I ate the day before in my stomach. We chose a taco place next to the bar, its name is Fonda Nolita, in Elizabeth Street, and as soon as you walk in you realize why this place will steal your heart. The guy that prepares the tacos is inside of a Volkswagen van converted into a kitchen with the open rooftop. It’s wonderful, I want one of those inside of my living room.
You can order your tacos or tortas in Spanish at the cash and receive your order directly from the van chef. I had a short rib barbacoa taco with rice and beans aside, a pineapple drink and I felt really satisfied by my choice. I saw also pictures of this place on Street View and it shows four guys playing cards with eating a taco and the van guy cooking with all the big repair shop windows opened, check it as it’s very funny.
I will definitely come back here, maybe more in the taco place than in the Cuban drinks place, but in the meantime I will try everything else this city has to offer in terms of food, drinks and else. Someday I will also go to an Italian place, I am planning to visit Le Cirque on Easter, as yes I am hungry and I love to eat in many different places, but I am still an unpaid intern so I will wait my parents to come to pay for trying that.
(I fell in love with a Volkswagen van. Again)
(Aka You just got Rickroll’d)
The main variable here that influences a wide range of subjects such as the technological gadget world, the groceries and the work is basically the integration of the human being with the World Wide Web. As I explained before in my posts you can technically do everything on the internet, and I am one of those that except meeting girls and play soccer loves to use internet for anything. Sometimes people do even those two things on the internet, but let’s say it’s not my style.
See in Italy there is no chance to use such a wide range of services, basically because in some areas of Italy we still have the dial up connection, and in other areas we don’t have even that one. And that’s just one of the problems. Most of all we are not mentally used to think about the the internet when we need something, we don’t have big stores and big chains of shops that offer products delivery. Shipping is expensive, you can only buy things on eBay, that is the biggest source of products for the average Italian, that is really, really scared about the idea to insert his credit card number on the internet.
Like in case they clone the card you will be immediately poor and alone, instantly after inserting the verification code. People in Italy buy just one, simple prepaid card from the same selle, the Poste (which is basically the US Postal Service here) because the voice of a simple, free and easy credit card spread among all Italy. Think about a country all with the same card. Why? Because they are afraid of everything, you always wait for the scam in Italy and the internet is an evil machine made to such your money and your social life. In fact it takes your social life, but if you are wise you can keep the money.
Here the things are different, and I will suggest you some internet sites you should visit that may seem basic for an American, but may result in something interesting for a future intern in New York, if you are reading this to obtain some information (or maybe they’ll make a book out of this, or a movie. In that case I would like Timothy Olyphant to play my role, he’s funny and looks alike me in some situations).
First of all the masterpiece, King Amazon: you can find everything, and I really mean everything, from food to clothing to gardening to sex toys. Everything. It is a search engine on recommended website that affiliates to Amazon in order to let it take the orders for them and manage them taking a commission on the order money. I recommend it for clothing, gadgets and technology stuff, be sure that all the items you buy are included in the Super Saving shipment because otherwise it would be something like five dollars for seller (you buy three objects from three shops you will have to pay three shipping fees). And this is the worst part, they send you tons of shipments even if you want them to reduce them to as few as possible.
Another internet site that will ease you things is FreshDirect. There are advertisements everywhere in Manhattan trains, I tried it and it works, they are fast, friendly and they deliver exactly in a two hours spot you choose. The delivery boy was so kind not to complain for the four floors of stairs to my apartment and was so kind I gave him 5 bucks. They told me to try Peapot too for food, but I think that this is the best site I used and I will continue like this.
Then I suggest you to subscribe to Netflix if you have a good internet connection and a strong Wifi. The site will permit you to stream contents from the internet right on your pc, Playstation, Xbox and similar, the quality is very good and the programs are decent. A service like this for example for me is necessary after the fall of the God Megavideo, which by the way I paid 30 Euros to in order to subscribe to the site on January.
If you need business cards (they are basically useful to spread them around to girls) you can buy the at Vistaprint, they are fast, cheap and they have a wonderful customer support: the post offices couldn’t find my shipment after two days and the customer support offered me for free a new shipment and if the post offices could find my business cards I could have kept them.
Now I can’t remember any other internet site, if I will in a future I will rickroll you again and suggest something else to visit. And by the way I always end up into Youtube videos that rickrolls you and hope that you rage. Too bad I love that song.
(Check out Brian Griffin on Family Guy version of the song, it’s awesome)
(Aka Technically it’s Cambridge)
Ok today I will let you know some updates about the decisions I took for my future. You know that all interns are looking for something to do after this experience and although they know this life won’t last forever they will always try to continue having fun without really working (and forever interning). Anyway like most of them I was in the condition of looking forward for this summer and find something to do, in order not to “waste” (according to my parents) time lying on a beach in Italy.
Do you remember the post about the university I refused about one month ago (Should I Stay or Should I Go)? Well after that decision I didn’t come back again with another decision until a couple of days ago, while I was discussing with some friends here and with the big boss at home: see I still haven’t decided yet if I will be attending NYU master here in New York, and every day tons of new possibilities rise up from the work opportunities sea. Among all those, I decided to choose something that could satisfy me and my parents at the same time: a summer school.
I though this could have been a transition experience to definitely prepare me for the world of US universities, which is not too bad and I bet I will be fine, as in every place I have been in my life (I am even a funny and friendly person, ask anyone). I chose Harvard University. I know what you are thinking; this guy is a douchebag, another rich intern pretending to be poor, a “son of dad” and communist kind of stuff like that. Well I can ensure you that this was a decision I took thinking hard to it, not doing it just to spend a couple of months. I know the tuition is really expensive, even for one month, but I think that this is an investment that in a long term scope could bring you back awesome results. I mean, it’s just a summer school, obviously, I don’t pretend it would be considered such as a Phd or a Master, but in Italy I think it would have a pretty nice appearance on my desk, and would be considered by the people that would choose if hire me or not.
Because sometimes I forget but my ultimate goal is to be hired. And I am still undecided too if this would happen here in the US or in Italy, my loved land. You see I see New York as a little land of opportunities, not the whole United States because I am not naïf not to know that it’s not beautiful everywhere here such as everywhere in the world; I can see how you could be rewarded if you put efforts in what you do, I can see how this city and the people could give you a chance if you deserve one. I trust this city, and maybe I will regret all my trust but I still believe in this world.
I know that someday I will be back in Italy, but not know; there no chances to do something you love and slightly more chances to be employed in a dead end job you hate. I will come back in Italy to see my family and my friends when I’ll be a new man, shaped by this experiences my parents are permitting me to do (and I thank them). Coming back to the Harvard Summer School, I found it very organized, available and reliable (yes you pay even for that and the name most of all) and yes, it’s always Harvard. You have to know that it’s very, very difficult to attend these schools and participate to these programs in the US because of the GMAT, the GRE, the TOEFL, the essays and all the requirements they have. Not because you are not good enough, because in Italy we still are idiots that don’t think that teaching to kids in English would be a massive asset for them in a future. I had to learn English on my own; do you think it was easy? Do you think I have the same chances of somebody that studied his whole life in English to pass a GMAT or a GRE? I don’t think so.
Harvard Summer School would be a start, and then I’ll see what I will do next. I even applied for an internship (even if I would like to start working) at CERN in Geneva, who knows that they may need a scientist?
(Aka Lost & Found)
I still don’t want to talk about my job, which in the meantime began at the UN, I will just skip to my first after work happy hour, and I’ll come back to the rock breaking later. During my first day of work I met who became one of my closest friends in NY, Mr. A, that immediately felt my Italian shining and vibrating soul and proposed me to go to a happy hour next to my place (Upper West)(last clue on where I live). I though “why not?” and at 6 we left work for this new adventure.
The bar seemed to be one of these fashionable bars very popular in NY, the rooftops, with nice and panoramic views over the Lincoln Center. Nice location, easy to come back home later. I actually was tired by my work because I got at work more than one hour before the provided indications about the meeting time, as I usually panic when I have a deadline and I prefer to be there 6 hours before than 6 minutes later. But the place was nice and, most of all, there I found what I was expecting to see in NY since I made my first step on this land of opportunities: females.
Don’t judge me, I am Italian, I am young, I am an unpaid 10 hours a day worker, these are my satisfactions. And that day the air was full of opportunities, if you know what I mean. We got there just after six, two metro stops from work, and we hit the open bar that the place was offering for an hour. In fact, NY bars often use this strategy, they let you in with an hour of free vodka drinks and then after this hour you’ll have to pay a price for the other drinks. The surprising fact is that everything in NY is so cheap compared to Italy, even drinks in fancy bars with rooftops. In Rome bartenders take one of your feet in hostage until you don’t pay the bill.
I can’t even imagine what could happen if in Italy there was this “shall I keep your bill open on this card?” thing which I will describe later on. You might as well pay directly by blood transfusions, for what it’s worth. Anyway, speaking about the female homo sapiens at the bar, I was so hot I dropped my jacket, my bag and my upper part of the suit on a couch in the place. Worst decision ever. But, double-edged.
At the end of the evening I picked up all my stuff, except for the upper part of my suit that I was sure was on the couch. I looked everywhere for that damn jacket and it was nowhere to be found, I literally turned the couch upside down. Did somebody steal my jacket? Don’t think so, I am the smallest person in NY, except Mr. A that is smaller than me. Did somebody take it by mistake? Probably. The only thing I know is that people were wondering what I was doing swimming in sport coats and jackets on a couch.
Six, and I say six girls decided to help me looking for the jacket, without even knowing me and when I gave up they supported me morally for my loss. My first day of unpaid work and I already lost four hundred Euros of coat. Lost part. I found out girls actually talk to you in bars. Found part. My faith is stable, “even” I would say. Let’s see if in a future I can work on these to bring the scale by my side.
(Great view in here. Even the city is not bad down there)