10 Things To Do In New York City That Actual New Yorkers Do For Fun, No Tourists Allowed

10 Things To Do In New York City That Actual New Yorkers Do For Fun, No Tourists Allowed

No museums. No landmarks. Just New York in all its gritty glory.
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Well, it’s finally happening. I’m busy Tetris-ing my books into flimsy cardboard boxes and contemplating donating my entire winter wardrobe as I get ready to leave my humble Queens apartment and make the move to my new, even more humble, fourth-floor walk-up in Manhattan.

After a year of daily hour-long commutes (if I was lucky) to and from school and work, I can now say I’m happily graduated and ready to have a nice break until I start grad school in the winter. In my new place, with Central Park to the South and the Cloisters in my backyard, I’ll have no shortage of opportunities to leave my little shoebox.

If you ever find yourself in the city wanting to do something new and off the beaten path, look no further. Here are 10 of the coolest recommendations I’ve been given by long-time New Yorkers that are well worth the trek.

1. Sleep No More


Film noir. "Macbeth." Immersive theatre. "Sleep No More" is an enchanting and artistically liberated production of Shakespeare’s "Macbeth" that is fully immersive and almost completely silent bar the intermittent jazzy music and mumbling of lone characters. This experience takes place at the McKittrick Hotel, a playhouse modeled into a fictional hotel where the audience and the players share the same space.

You can walk around and experience the show at your own pace and to your liking. Whether you decide to follow one particular character around, or multiple, each viewing is different and unique.

2. Mother’s Ruin


I can’t make this list without repping my new favorite bar in the city. I don’t even drink that much but the atmosphere at this cozy (and boozy) dive bar in Nolita is second to none. It’s local, it’s real, it’s got slushy cocktails. But a trip wouldn’t be complete without a beer with all the fixings (Tecate in a can, with lime juice, Cholula, and salt poured on the top—I’m drooling just thinking about it.)

3. Shakespeare in the park

Although this is probably more well known, it still deserves this spot. Every summer since its inauguration in 1962, the Public Theatre has hosted these free performances in Central Park. They are full on professional productions of Shakespeare’s plays that often star well-known names like Meryl Streep or Denzel Washington. Be sure to check out "Othello" or "Twelfth Night" this summer!

4. Interference Archive

Ah, my home. The Interference Archive in Brooklyn is the go-to spot for activists and cultural enthusiasts alike. This grassroots archive, fully supported by the community around it, is home to a huge collection of photos, pamphlets, buttons, posters, etc. from the various social movements in the U.S. in order to explore the relationship between these movements and cultural creation. I invite you to visit and take part in a talk or a workshop to fully engage with these movements and learn how to get involved and be more active in your own community.

5. Pier 66

Located in the Hudson River Park in Chelsea, Pier 66 is the perfect place for any outdoorsy New Yorker to get their fill of the water. Kayak, sail, or paddle board out onto the Hudson for the day and soak up the sun while you get some unique views of the NYC skyline (not to mention a great shoulder and ab workout).

6. Rockaway Beach & Boardwalk

Surf, swim, yoga, tacos, hot sauce and beer. I don’t know about you but that sounds like one hell of a summer to me.

7. Supermoon Bakehouse

If you want beautiful traditionally hand-crafted croissants and donuts with expert flavor combinations in a thoroughly modern NYC setting, then Supermoon is the place to go. Located on the Lower East Side, this pastry shops menu changes very frequently, so if you see something you like, you might want to go, like, now. I know I do.

8. Museum of Sex

Okay. I know I said I wouldn’t have museums on here. But c’mon, this place is just so fucking cool (pun definitely intended).

9. Poets House

There’s no greater love of mine than surrounding myself with like-minded people. That’s why Poets House is so dear to me. If you like reading poetry, talking about poetry, performing poetry, or even studying poetry, this library and events center is the place for you.

10. The Explorers Club

Much like the Poets House, The Explorers Club is a place where you can see and hear research being done around the globe. From talks to exhibits on topics ranging from engineering to anthropology, The Explorers Club offers the opportunity to educate yourself and have fun doing it.

Cover Image Credit: Deanna Zarrillo

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4 reasons how Drake's New Album May Help Us Fight Mental Illness

Increasing Evidence Points to Music as a Potential Solution to the Mental Health Problem.

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Okay, You caught me!

I am NOT just talking about everybody's favorite actor-turned-rapper— or second, if you've seen Childish Gambino's "This is America" music video. Unfortunately, current research hasn't explored specific genres and artists. However, studies HAVE provided significant evidence in possibilities for music to treat mental health disorders. Now, before you say something that your parents would not be proud of, ask yourself if you can really blame me for wanting to get your attention. This is an urgent matter concerning each one of us. If we all face the truth, we could very well reach one step closer to solving one of society's biggest problems: Mental Health.

The Problem:

As our nation continues to bleed from tragedies like the horrific shooting that shattered the lives of 70 families whose loved ones just wanted to watch the "Dark Knight Rises" during its first hours of release, as well as the traumatic loss of seventeen misfortunate innocents to the complications of mental health disorders in the dear city of Parkland— a city mere hours from our very own community— it's impossible to deny the existence of mental illness. As many of us can already vouch, mental illness is much more common than what most would think: over 19 million adults in America suffer from a mental health disorder. Picture that: a population slightly less than that of Florida is plagued by hopelessness, isolation, and utter despair.

Disease in the form of depression holds millions of people prisoner, as anxieties instill crippling desperation and too many struggles with finding peace. This can be you. It could be your brother, your sister, your mother, your father, your cousin, your aunt, your uncle, your friend, your roommate, your fraternity brother, your sorority sister, your lab partner, or just your classmate that sits in the corner of the lecture hall with a head buried into a notebook that camouflages all emotion.

I hope we— the UCF community— understand the gravity of the problem, but it's clear that some still see mental illness as a disease that affects only a handful of "misfits" who "terrorize" our streets, while the numbers reveal more to the issue. In fact, 1 in 5 Americans suffers from a mental health disorder. The problem is so serious that suicide has risen to become the second-leading cause of death among 20 to 24-year-olds. While many continue to ask for more antidepressants and even the occasional "proper spanking," recent studies indicate increases in occurrence, such as one in depression from 5.9% in 2012 to 8.2% in 2015. So, clearly, none of that is working.

The Evidence:

If we really want to create a world where our children are free from the chains of mental illness, we need to think outside the box. Doctors and scientists won't really talk about this since it's still a growing field of research, but music has strong potential. We don't have any options at the moment, which means we need to change our mindset about music and to continue to explore its medicinal benefits. If you're still skeptical because of the title, then please consider these 4 pieces of solid evidence backed by scientific research:

1. Music has been proven to improve disorders like Parkinson's Disease.

Researchers sponsored by the National Institute of Health— the country's largest research agency— saw an improvement in the daily function of patients with Parkinson's Disease. This makes patients shake uncontrollably, which often prevents them from complete functionality. The disease is caused by a shortage of dopamine— a chemical your neurons, or brain cells, release; since music treats this shortage, there's an obvious ability to increase dopamine levels. As numerous studies connect dopamine shortages to mental illnesses like depression, addiction, and ADHD, someone could possibly use music's proven ability to increase dopamine levels to treat said problems.

2. Listening to the music has the potential to activate your brain's "reward center."

In 2013, Valorie Salimpoor and fellow researchers conducted a study that connected subjects' pleasure towards music to a specific part of the brain. This key structure, the nucleus accumbens, is the body's "reward center," which means all of you have experienced its magical powers. In fact, any time the brain detects a rewarding sensation— drinking ice-cold water after a five-mile run in sunny, humid Florida, eating that Taco Bell chalupa after a long happy hour at Knight's Library, and even consuming recreational drugs— this structure releases more of that fantastic dopamine. So, with further research into specifics, doctors may soon be prescribing your daily dose of tunes for your own health.

3. Listening to Music may be more effective than prescription anti-anxiety medication.

In 2013, Mona Lisa Chanda and Daniel J. Levitin— two accomplished doctors in psychology— reviewed a study wherein patients waiting to undergo surgery were given either anti-anxiety medications or music to listen to. The study took into account cortisol levels, which are used daily by healthcare professionals to gauge patient levels. This "stress hormone" was actually found to be lower in patients who listened to classical music rather those who took the recommended dose of prescription drugs. Sit there and think about that for a second: these patients actually felt more relaxed with something as simple as MUSIC than with chemicals that are made specifically to force patients into relaxation before surgery. Why pop a Xanax when you can just listen to Beethoven?

4. Music may release the chemicals that help you naturally relax and feel love.

Further studies continue to justify music's place in the medical world as results demonstrate increases in substances such as prolactin— a hormone that produces a relaxing sensation— as well as oxytocin— the substance that promotes warmth and happiness during a hug between mother and child. So this study basically showed us that music has the potential to actually make you feel the way you did when Mom or Dad would embrace you with the warmest hug you've ever felt.

The Future:

The evidence I present you with today is ultimately just a collection of individual situations where specific people found specific results. There are a lot of variables when it comes to any research study; therefore, data is never truly certain. We should take these findings as strong suggestions to a possible solution, but we must remember the possibility of failure in our search.

The neurochemistry behind the music and its medicinal properties is just beginning to unfold before the scientific community. In fact, extremely qualified scientists from the National Institute of Health— the organization that basically runs any important medical study in the United States— continue to remind us of the subject's youth with the constant use of "potential" behind any and all of their findings. Therefore, it's our responsibility as a community to look into this— not just that of the scientists at the National Institute of Health.

We're all surrounded by music. It's at the bars. It's in our ears during all-night sessions at the UCF library. It's keeping us awake through East Colonial traffic at 7:00 AM while hordes of students focus on their cell phone screens instead of the paved roads ahead. It's in the shoes we wear, the actions we take, and the words we say. IF YOU'RE READING THIS: it's accessible to you. So, don't be shy, and try to play with your Spotify account, or even just on YouTube, and gauge the power of music. As more and more of us see the light, we can promote the movement and carry on as more research comes out to support us.

Drop the bars, drop those addictive pills that destroy your body slowly, and pick up your headphones and press PLAY.

Just relax, close your eyes, smile, and live.

Cover Image Credit:

@champagnepapi

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6 Shared Experiences Every Jersey Girl Knows By Heart

Because there's nowhere like New Jersey

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Going to school in the south, I noticed so many small things that made New Jersey so unique. Not only being a suburb of one of the greatest cities in the world (New York), but everything that comes with New Jersey makes it my favorite place to come home to.

If you're not from New Jersey you probably won't fully understand the importance of a good bagel or how you spent most of your Friday nights in high school, but here are just a few of the many things that make New Jersey so special.

1. The morning after going out with your friends are spent at a diner

A good old New Jersey diner actually has anything you can possibly think of. After a long night with friends the best part about that you're next morning is sitting in the booth of a diner reflecting on your night.

2. Train rides to the city were always the best times

Having NJ transit bring able to take you into the city in 30 minutes definitely came in handy.

3. You can only get an actual Taylor Ham, egg, and cheese in New Jersey

Nothing beats a bagel from New Jersey let alone a Taylor ham egg and cheese. When you're not in New Jersey don't even bother trying to order one, it's just not the same.

4. Friday night lights is a real thing in New Jersey

Most of my Friday nights in high school were spent at football games where my friends and I would literally go all out to the different themes that the different teams would have. I really don't think anywhere else does high school football like New Jersey.

5. The five malls all within 5 miles of each other come in clutch

Yes, five malls within five miles of each other! If you can't find something at one, don't worry there are four others.

6. The Jersey Shore

When people think of New Jersey they usually think of "the jersey shore." It is where most people from New Jersey spend their summers, but it is also one of the most memorable places in New Jersey. From walking down the boardwalk and getting a two-foot-long slice of pizza, to passing the Jersey Shore house hoping to see Snooki or Pauly D, the Jersey shore has it all.


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https://www.instagram.com/p/BX0qSwdg1BA/?hl=en&taken-by=obagel_family

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