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"It's aliiiiiiive!"

At first mention of the “Frankenstorm”—or “Frankenstorm’s Monster,” as countless nerds have gleefully interjected—I scoffed, and remembered drunkenly snoring through Hurricane Irene last year after a bottle of wine and half a day spent scouring Midtown Manhattan for a flashlight.

Hangover Irene notwithstanding, with Hurricane Sandy on the way—loudly proclaimed to be even worse than Irene—I headed home to Connecticut to wait it out, whatever it might prove to be. How many times a year do these weather guys say anything relevant? I demanded cynically. Pshhh.

Now, in the wake of Frankenstorm’s Monster, I can’t get back. Eating my words and every h of my Pshhh, it seems I’m trapped outside the city.
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As of today, I am out of clean underwear. Two jobs and a partially-unpacked suitcase have left me with only questions, and no time to straighten them out—questions like, Did I wear these already?

If I’m being truly honest, my second question is typically, Did I wear these…twice? I know, I know, yuck. Cut me a little slack. (Incidentally slack is typically the two-wear giveaway.) Let him who is without laundry laziness cast the first stone. I’m out, plain and simple.

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Every time I walk through Central Park I find something I had no idea was there. Two days ago it was Cleopatra’s Needle.

Rounding a corner just past Turtle Pond on the tail end of my jog, I noticed to my right an enormous stone obelisk. Hm, I thought. Obelisks have always seemed to me an odd sort of monument—more or less a tall, pointy rock—and I find them especially odd, if prevalent, in the West. Obelisks were initially monuments to the Egyptian sun god Ra. If art history taught me anything, it taught me that obelisks are Egyptian, until they’re something else.

Take, for example, the obelisk in Piazza San Pietro in the Vatican—moved out of Egypt to various cities by various Romans, the last of whom was Pope Sixtus V, in 1586. Nearly a century later, Gian Lorenzo Bernini designed the Piazza in front of St. Peter’s Basilica with the obelisk as its centerpiece. Four bronze lions were added to the base, as well as a few requisite festoons, and a cross was placed on top, containing a fragment of the True Cross. Top to bottom, what began as a wholly pagan monument has been cloaked in Christianity. Voilà! Instant Relic.

Just add Jesus.


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Originally published on the College Voice‘s summer blog, the Summer Voice.

New York City may be the vermin capital of the United States. The city teems with creatures so filth-ridden and depraved they nearly defy enumeration—rats, cockroaches, Collegiate alumni. Out of the corner of one eye, you see something emerge from a crack in the wall, scurry along the floor, buy your friend a drink. It’s enough to make your skin crawl.
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Originally published on the College Voice‘s summer blog, the Summer Voice.

New York is so much about the subway. This is especially true for those not among the Seraphim who orbit Union Square in a lazy, half-mile radius, and instead ride the 4 train to far-off, stone-age Brooklyn after dark.

A map of the world.

This summer, I’m living in the Prospect Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn in a renovated brownstone with two roommates and a backyard. I’m interning at an arts magazine called BOMB in Fort Greene (also a neighborhood of Brooklyn), which is about 15 minutes from my apartment. Convenient as this is for me during the week, it’s relatively difficult to get anyone who doesn’t live here to come “all the way” out to Brooklyn, or, for that matter, “all the way” up- or downtown in Manhattan.

The city comprises five boroughs, which are, in descending order of outside interest: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, the Bronx, and Staten Island. Contrary to the understanding of many Manhattanites, people do inhabit each and every one of them. They may as well not, however, after 10 PM and on weekends, because subway service in the “outer boroughs” drops off significantly, from six trains (three local, three express) within reasonable walking distance of my apartment to two (both local).

Rude.
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