EMC and NYC 2015

Amy took amazing photos of our trip, while Chris, Matt and Evan, Eagles Media Center staffers, share their thoughts on the recent trip…

Columbia University
Centered along Broadway and 116th Street in the Upper West Side of New York City, Columbia University is one of the most prestigious colleges in the country and a revered member of the Ivy League. The University has been holding the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Journalism Convention since 1925.

The Workshops
The CSPA Journalism Convention has been held annually for 91 years, offering education and unique experiences for students interested in journalism and media. The conference is held over three days and divided into time blocks, during which many individual seminars are held across the campus. These seminars provide information on topics such as journalism, media, yearbook, interviews, and writing of all kinds.

Chris’ Favorite Seminar
My favorite seminar was about writing. The thing I took away from it specifically was writing characters. The speaker had us all write down a list of our favorite protagonists (which means the main character of a story) and then asked us what made them protagonists. She then used the example of Atticus Finch to explain something that is rarely taught in schools. Atticus isn’t always right. He’s flawed. That’s what makes him a human. He tells Scout to always step into someone else’s shoes, but he doesn’t do that with Bob Ewell and it almost costs him his children’s lives. That was a point that was never brought up when I read the book in English class, and I found it fascinating.

Evan’s Favorite Seminar
My favorite seminar was about Photoshop and the basics of it. I used to use Photoshop on occasion for touching up pictures that my family took, but I never learned too much about it and its many features until now. The class obviously couldn’t cover even close to the amount of features in the program, but I learned how to use some features that I didn’t even know were in it at all. I’d call it my favorite class because I now feel like I would like to learn more about Photoshop…that and the professor was funny.

Matt`s Favorite Seminar
My favorite seminar was about what colleges are looking for in interviews. It was centered around seven key words; grit, polish, teamwork, impact, curiosity, ownership, and analytical rigour. These helped me with formulating how I want my college interviews to go and how to get accepted to my favorite colleges. The keyword system made it very easy to understand what they were trying to get across and made it clear what colleges look for when meeting applicants.

And then there are the other great parts of the trip…

The City
“The Big Apple.” “The City So Nice, They Named It Twice.” New York is one of the largest cities in the world and even the relatively small borough of Manhattan has a plethora of people, amazing sites to see, fun things to do, and great food to eat. Sometimes people in our group *cough* Britt Keller *cough* would just stop and say “Guys, we’re in New York. There is simply no place on Earth quite like New York City.”

Harlem Poetry Slam
On Thursday after the seminars, we went to a poetry slam. The poems were all beautiful. Some were touching and meaningful, some were poignant, and some just had amazing word play. It was a great experience and was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.

Times Square
Times Square was right around the corner from the hotel we stayed at and it is amazing. For those who love shopping, Times Square is basically heaven. There are some stores that can only be found in very few other places in the world. Even if there are a lot of them, the version in Times Square is larger, better, and has so much more merchandise.

Toys R Us
This was one of the stand out places in Times Square. It’s a massive toy store, with an arcade and a three story ferris wheel. The seats in the ferris wheel are Disney, Nickelodeon, and various toy themes. There was also an animatronic T-Rex and Lego models of famous New York City landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty, Chrysler Building, and the Empire State Building (complete with a King Kong on top).

Outside the University, there are quite a few restaurants to eat at for lunch. There are chains, like Five Guys and Chipotle. There are also many restaurants that can only be found there. Tom’s Restaurant is famous for being the restaurant from Seinfeld. It’s constantly busy, but it is pretty cool to see. Another great restaurant was Mel’s Burger, which made one of the finest burgers that I have ever had. If you want,you could even just go to a street vendor. Some street vendor food is actually better than you might think.

General Sightseeing
My father has a saying “I’m not lost, I’m just sight seeing.” There is so much sightseeing, however, in New York that you are always sightseeing, lost or not. While the hype surrounding these locations may make them underwhelming (I distinctly remember Casey saying “That’s the Empire State Building? What’s the big deal it’s just a tall building that’s not even that tall?”) So while it might not have been for everyone, there were thousands of amazing sights to see in the city.

Little Italy
This area of New York City happens to lie right next to Chinatown, but offers many Italian related stores and restaurants. This was a great area to explore Italian culture, and it thrived with restaurants offering some of the best Italian food around. This was one of our favorite places that we visited, and it was obvious why!

The Hotel
The hotel that we stayed at happened to be right next to one of New York City’s most popular locations, Time Square! It was a little cramped inside, but the location of the building made up for it. We stayed at this hotel for two nights, but other than sleeping we didn’t really do much there.

Italian Dinner
Our group was lucky enough to be able to eat at a very nice Italian restaurant, and it was some of the best food that I’ve ever had! We were able to have some of Italy’s most popular dishes made in a very true Italian way. We were all offered desserts and coffee after dinner, and then got to walk around New York some more after eating an amazing amount of food. I hope that on the next trip we’ll get to eat here again, or at least some place just as nice!

The Meredith Vieira Show
NBC is one of the most popular networks it the United States, hosting shows such as Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show, and we were lucky enough to get tickets to the show of a popular American talk show host, Meredith Vieira! It was awesome knowing that some lucky people in our group would be able to be seen on a national television show, even if I wasn’t able to be seen on camera! The set of the show always seemed to be busy, with cameras and equipment being moved everywhere, people running all over the place, and people preparing to be on television. We were all kept entertained and in a good mood by a wonderful band and even a warm-up comedian specifically for the audience. He made some jokes and even gave out prizes, one of which a lucky GTV member received! The show we viewed aired on March 24th. If you recorded it, try and count how many GTV and EMC members you can find!

A staple of Mrs. Ostrander and her entourage during the long days in New York City, Starbucks coffee shops provide refreshments and a place to sit during breaks in between conferences. There seems to be more Starbucks in New York City than in the rest of the world combined. One can be found roughly every two blocks, sometimes within sight of each other! No matter where in New York City you are, coffee is always within reach.

Just as important as Starbucks, classic New York style cheesecake is a necessity during the New York trip. Cheesecake must be searched for, but if you know where to look, you can get as much as you want. Popular locations include the Little Italy restaurant, bakeries elsewhere in Little Italy, Starbucks and pastry shops found near the university, Times Square, and the hotel.

The M&M Store
Located right in the center of Times Square, within blocks of the Toys R Us and the famous “Red Staircase,” there is a massive store dedicated to M&Ms and the other brands of candy owned by the company. The store is three stories and includes a wall of candy stretching across all three. The wall holds the world record for the largest wall of candy and has dispensers at the bottom where you can fill up bags that are charged by weight, sort of like cold cuts. The rest of the store is filled with more M&Ms, candy memorabilia of all kinds, and a giant machine that measures your emotions and compares it to a M&M color. If you think that M&Ms don’t smell, well think again, the massive mixture of chocolate in the store creates a rather pleasant aroma, just to top of the experience.

The “Spray Paint Guy”
The mysterious man known as the “Spray Paint Guy” is a New York City native and a very talented artist who does his work right in Times Square every night. I suggest looking it up, because what he does with spray paint is incredible and creates some of the coolest artwork I’ve ever seen. He makes cityscapes with a cosmic twist, including martian landscapes and moons in the background, right on the spot in a matter of two minutes. He then sells them for twenty dollars apiece, and it is well worth it. Sadly, his art was copied as soon as it gained popularity on YouTube and there are now many people doing similar works in Times Square. While his imposters do good work and are just trying to earn money in the warren of New York City, the original has a serious leg up on his competition. The true “Spray Paint Guy” eluded us this year, as he occasionally moves around to avoid construction and other obstructions, but we found him on the trip last year and he is truly amazing.

EMC Bonding
EMC and GTV are very large clubs with quite a few members. This trip was a great chance to get to know everyone who went on the trip. What better way is there to get to know someone than eating a lunch together, going to a fancy restaurant, or just goofing around in Times Square together? By the end of the trip we were all closer together as a group of friends, and that’s the most important things because that lasts beyond the trip.

Thank you to the Galway Education Foundation for their generous grant that helped fund our trip!