Washington Square Park: Music Hub

By Rohan Butani

Washington Square Park in the East Village of Manhattan, New York, is a hub for musicians and their fans.  According to a recent unofficial survey, many of these artists perform here to practice their music for other jobs that they have at clubs and other venues.  A lot of the music is jazz, played on  instruments ranging from a saxophone to even a grand piano.


Adam H. plays jazz saxophone with a group including a bassist and a percussionist.

Adam chose to perform in Washington Square Park as opposed to other parks because of its acclaim as a performer’s park, he said.  He also chose to perform here because you, “don’t get fined,” he said.

He hopes to play professionally one day but until then he uses the park as a place to practice with his band and have fun.

Adam wants to continue playing music as long as he can support himself.  He also wants to one day teach sax at a university.  Right now, Adam, like other artists who perform in Washington Square Park, has jobs outside of performing.  Adam does music tech, performs, and teaches small kids in Westchester County.

Adam said he makes about $40-$50 during weekdays with a group of three to four people playing for five hours at a time.  On weekends, he said that he makes $70-$100.


Tina P., a trombone player in Washington Square Park, can be found alongside another percussionist but also plays solo.

She performs in Washington Square Park because of her friend who has performed here for almost 30 years.  She said that she likes the vibe of the park and she likes that everyone in the park is great at playing their music.

She performs in Washington Square Park in order to develop her music.  She said she also hopes to collaborate with other musicians in Washington Square Park.

In addition, she performs her music at various clubs.

“Unintended Consequences” performing in Washington Square Park Photo by: Rohan Butani

Alan G. is a tuba player for a group called “Unintended Consequences.”

Alan said that he plays in Washington Square Park because it, “is the only New York City park where you are allowed to busk without a permit.”  He said that the park is exempt from this rule probably because of the tradition of performing there.  He finds the positive reaction of his audience in the park to be very gratifying.

Alan plays in the park for fun and is, “basically retired.”  He said that people do approach his group about performing at various venues.  He and his group are also working towards releasing music online although, he said that the real goal for him and his group is, “to continue to be able to perform.”

He said that the group refers to their earnings as “beer money” and is often enough for “incidental expenses.”

Another member of “Unintended Consequences,” Matthew B., plays percussion.

Matthew said that the audience has a positive reaction to him and his group’s music.

They are not looking to be picked up by a label but rather are playing because it is fun, he said.

Matthew is an aspiring choreographer and he draws on his experience in Washington Square Park playing as a percussionist for a better understanding of rhythm.  He danced professionally for years performing ballet, concert dance, and musical theater and he even spent some time as, “a main character/featured dancer for a Cirque du Soleil tour.”

He, too, is not in it for the money.  Tips for a day have ranged from $20 to about $85.

How Much Does Each Artist Make in Tips?

Adam H.:        Weekdays: $40-$50 Weekends: $70-$100 per 3 to 4 people 5 hours at a time

Tina P.:           Always a surprise

Alan G.:          Incidental funds

Matthew B.:    $20-$85

Washington Square Park Permits

When performing for revenue in New York City parks, it is the law to have a permit.  But, according to some performing musicians, there is an unspoken rule between performers and local authorities that allows many musicians and performers to play in Washington Square Park without a permit.  According to NYC Parks, there is a Temporary Use Authorization, allowing vendors to generate revenue without a permit for up to 29 days.  Artists not performing for more than 29 days in Washington Square Park are legal to busk.  Those who have been there for longer times are allegedly illegal without a permit but local authorities take the musical history of the park into account and allow them to play.

Cost of Sound Device Permit: $45


Rohan Butani is a High School Junior from Pierrepont School in Connecticut.

Technicians Strike Against Spectrum

By Chenyi Zhao

Spectrum technicians have been on strike for more than 130 days, as of August 8.

“We don’t want money. We just want our pensions and medical plan back,” said the strike captain on Broadway and East 4th Street, on behalf of the idled technicians.

Local Union 3 of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, representing 1,800 employees of Charter Communications/Spectrum, has been on strike since March 28 against alleged unfair labor practices.

Spectrum is a TV, internet and phone services provider. It is owned by Charter Communications, which merged with Time Warner Cable and Bright House Networks in 2016.

Several negotiation sessions have been held. In one of the recent negotiations, Charter offered “an average 22-percent wage increase — some employees up to a 55-percent wage increase — and comprehensive retirement and health benefits, including a 401(k) that provides a dollar-for-dollar match up to 6 percent of eligible pay,” according to a Charter spokesperson.

“This competitive offer will have a positive, lasting impact on employees’ standard of living and allows us to grow a well-paid, highly skilled workforce for the benefit of our customers,” the spokesman said.

The union and Charter met again for negotiations on August 7, accompanied by a federal mediator. According to the union, the company refused to negotiate pensions and medical coverage. The company said that they do not comment on the details of the negotiation.

The workers will stay on strike until they get the union pensions and health care back. IBEW Local 3 business manager Chris Erickson said in a LaborPress broadcast that the company offered more money than the union was asking for, but the union members would lose medical benefits and the union pension fund.

A personal injury attorney for workers, Neil Kalra, said, “it’s the uncertainty that they have to deal with for the rest of their lives.”

The union has been advocating members reject to Spectrum’s offer. One post in the official union blog NYCableTruth said, “do the right thing and just say no to modern day slavery and corporate greed!”

The members will vote on whether getting back to Spectrum if the union reaches a consensus with Spectrum, according to the strike captain Robert Kersten.

A member picketing the Spectrum payment center on East 8th Street said that people had to get jobs elsewhere, so the number of workers protesting on a daily basis has been declining.

The union business manager Erickson said in the broadcast, “I believe [Charter/Spectrum] is trying to starve our members into submission here.”

The Spectrum protesters are gathering at W 219th St. They are holding a memorial for a recently deceased union member as well as picketing in front of a Spectrum garage.

The union said that workers had been working without a proper contract since 2013, but the Charter spokesperson said that they were working under a contract that expired March 31 this year.

They chose to go on strike March 28, two days before the contract expired, Charter said. Kerston responded that the contract was not agreed by the union.

The union also said Spectrum “disciplined its technicians over repeat service calls …over unobtainable WiFi internet speeds,” and “does not provide proper training or promotions to its technicians.”

The Charter spokesman said that the claims had no basis.

One post on the blog said, “Charter/Spectrum is not willing to bargain in good faith.” The Charter spokesman said that Charter is ready to negotiate at any time.

Spectrum Lawsuit

New York State Attorney General on behalf of 5 million customers announced a lawsuit on February 1 against Charter Communications/Spectrum for allegedly misleading customers by promising high-speed internet service that was knowingly inaccessible, according to the Attorney General’s website.

“The allegations in today’s lawsuit confirm what millions of New Yorkers have long suspected — Spectrum-Time Warner Cable has been ripping you off,” said New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.

A 16-month investigation by the Attorney General’s office indicated that the wired internet speed of the subscribers was up to 70% lower than advertised, with WiFi speed up to 80% lower, according to Schneiderman.

A screenshot of the New York State Attorney General Schneiderman announcing the lawsuit against Charter Communications/Spectrum for allegedly misleading customers.

The complaint also accused Spectrum of failing to upgrade the internet provider’s network capacity and replace large numbers of deficient modems and wireless routers, the Attorney General said.

The spokesman of Spectrum said, “Charter has already made substantial investments in the interest of upgrading the Time Warner Cable systems and delivering the best possible experience to customers.”

Spectrum provides approximately 2.5 million subscribers with Internet services in New York State, and the complaint covers the subscription of almost 5 million people in the relevant period, Schneiderman said during a press conference earlier this year.

The company said in their official statement that the internet speed advertisements “occurred prior to Charter’s merger.”

The Attorney General said in his press conference, “the name of the company may have changed from Time Warner to Spectrum but the company has not changed its pattern of providing slower speeds than advertised.”

“We will continue to invest in our business and deliver the highest quality services to our customers while we defend against these allegations involving Time Warner Cable practice,” the company’s spokesman said.

On the Picket Line

Whistles and trumpets blown, flags and fliers waved. The Spectrum protesters were trying to grab attentions from passers-by.

There are 14 picket locations in NYC and 1 garage in Bergen, N.J., according to one of the captains, Robert Kersten. All these are near a Spectrum payment or storage center. In the past three weeks, the union held about two rallies every week in a chosen location to get the scattered picketers together in one place.

The picketers are gathering in front of a Spectrum garage, where the deceased technician used to work for decades.

The strikers are doing more than picketing. Picketers handed out flyers in front of the doors of Spectrum payment centers and asked people to support their strike.

On East 8th Street, the picketers grabbed a visitor’s attention. Several hesitating new comers came to the picket line to get more information about the company and services.

The fliers that strikers handed out said that Spectrum had been using subcontractors and warned customers to demand Spectrum’s own technicians for customer service.

Spectrum’s spokesman said that it is impossible to use the company’s own technicians if they are all on strike.



Chenyi Zhao is a high school student from Qingdao, China.

Music Underground

By Chloe Keen

New York City subways are noisy – screeching train brakes and the din of human voices. But there’s also music down under.

Musicians in the subway “enhance the transit experience for customers,” according to Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the city’s mass transit.

Some of the subway musicians are part of Music Under New York, a program to showcase the city’s diverse talent. 

In an effort to humanize the subway experience and capitalize on the acoustics found in some stations, the MTA established Music Under New York.

It is a program where musicians audition and are permitted to play.

Musicians are found throughout the subway system: the platform, mezzanine or in the subway cars.


There is no process to independently play or sing in the subway. Artists will perform when it is most convenient to them.

Music Under New York holds an annual audition. Winners receive a banner to hang behind them during their performances. They are given optimal locations where the subways are busiest.

Once musicians are registered, they are part of the program as long as they abide the rules, regarding safety between commuters and the performers.

“Once you’re in, you’re in,” said Adrian Dimatteo, a performer recently admitted into Music Under New York.

Artists affiliated with Music Under New York can be seen in the mezzanine or the platforms in Time Square, Union Square and Grand Central stations.


Chloe Keen is a senior at Tivy High School in Kerrville, Texas.


Adrian Dimatteo

A new performer to Music Under New York, Adrian Dimatteo and his band, had their first performance in the Union Square station.

There is a bassist, a snare drummer, and the guitarist who is also the lead singer.

Dimatteo became involved with Music Under New York when he asked to perform with a saxophone quartet in the subways. His friend from the quartet, Eric Pollan, suggested he audition.

Adrian Dimatteo and his band had been admitted in the last three months.

He plays an Ibanez guitar for subway performances because it can take the “intense conditions,” said Dimatteo. He has another guitar that is played during nice events.

He has been playing since he was 11 and asked his dad for a guitar.

Outside of Music Under New York, Dimatteo plays parties and events as well as offers lessons.

The bassist, Ben Tiberio, has played the bass for 10 years but has always been involved with music. He started with the piano and clarinet.

Ben Tiberio is a long time friend of Dimatteo. They both are from upstate New York.

The snare drummer, Francois Alghisi, has played music for the past thirty years in the south of France. He emigrated from Italy.

Alghisi and Dimatteo became friends in a gym session and worked out ideas to put together the group for the subway.

For more information on Adrian Dimatteo visit adriandimatteo.com




As commuters get off the subway at Union Square, sounds from a didgeridoo and screeches and hollers resonate from StreetMule, a performer part of Music Under New York.

As people attempted to take pictures during his performance, on a Saturday evening, he shied away.

StreetMule has been playing “sweaty” music for 27 years.

When asked what that meant, he said “the music picks you.”

Researchers suggest that the didgeridoo is the oldest instrument in history. The instrument is tracked back to Aboriginal roots in Australia.

In the subway, StreetMule wore shells on his shoes for a maraca-style sound. He sat on Cajon, a type of drum.


“Everything picks you, even the clothes you’re wearing” StreetMule said in regards to how he began playing music.

StreetMule, also known as Marc Mueller, has a band with his brother Paul Mueller and also has a solo act.

His band is a percussive group called Mecca Bodega. Their album is called City of Rocks.

Both albums include rhythmic beats from a series of different drums and cymbals.

He also has an album featuring himself titled Talkin’ True Da Tube. StreetMule writes all songs on the album and is dedicated to his mother.

When he was asked about how he started performing StreetMule said, “The music got into me”.


A representative of Music Under New York, Tom Higginbottom, has helped StreetMule create a fan base and draw a crowd from the subway stations.



Independent Musicians

Performers unaffiliated with Music Under New York can also be found in the subway cars, platforms and mezzanines.

An independent artist, Gonzalo Silva, is a singer-songwriter, accompanied with his bass.

A solo bass act is pretty rare, according to Silva.

He plays on the subways because he had no representation after moving to New York from Boston.

New York has a “big pond” and playing on the subway is a way to give him “more exposure,” said Gonzalo Silva.

Silva was taught the upright bass in high school, but he sings and plays a headless electric bass using self-taught techniques.

A variety of music is performed from steppers to blues bands to doo wop music.

Riders can find artists that play the Korean drums to the Cajun cello to the gypsy violin.

Sheva, a singer also not associated with Music Under New York, sings all types of music on the subway platform.

She is singing on the side while, getting her masters degree in child psychology.

Riders can hear Sheeva sing “Dock of the Bay” by Otis Redding as subway cars pass.


How Outsiders View NYC Subway and Their Own

By Liwen (April) Kang

The New York City Subway is one of the world’s oldest underground transportation system, started on October 27,1904. It has tracks that are 229 kilometers long.

It is owned by New York City’s government and is overseen by the New York City Transit Authority and Metropolitan Transportation Authority. There are 468 stops included in the system. It covers Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens and Bronx. The New York City Subway is the seventh busiest subway system in the word. The first six are in Beijing, Tokyo, Shanghai, Moscow, Korean in Seoul and Guangzhou.

14TH Street and Union Square

While the New York City Subway has some six million rides annually, approximately 30 percent of people in New York City avoid taking the subway or buses, according to an informal survey by NYU Precollege Journalism students. The survey included New Yorkers, tourists and visiting students.

The main problems that are most concerning are dirty subway stations, service interruptions and safety problems.

“You don’t have security check before entering the subway. People might have weapons with them,” said a Chinese visiting student.

Almost three-quarters of those surveyed experienced delays or other service interruptions on the subways or buses.

Nearly 90 percent of people think public transportation could be improved.

Over half of people support the idea of banning food on the subways or buses and dirty environment in subway stations is the problem that most people complain about. The average rating out of 5 for cleanliness on the subways is 2.4.

“You have to wait to long for subway in such a hot and stinky environment,” said an NYU student.

Baby Care Room

Qingdao Subway is a subway system located in Qingdao, Shandong Province in China. It opened in December, 2016 and it just has one line, including 22 stops, and there are seven lines under construction.

It has baby care rooms in two stops, which provide baby cribs, sofas and other equipment for women who carry babies.

The pricing system for the Qingdao subway is a metered fare. Less than five kilometers is charged 2 yuan (30cents). Five to 10 kilometers is 45 cents. Ten to 17 kilometers is 60 cents. Seventeen to 27 kilometers is 75 cents. Seventeen to 38 kilometers is 90 cents. For more than 38 kilometers, riders can travel every 20 kilometers for 15 cents.

“It’s so new and services are good here. AC is always on and I don’t have to wait too long,” said Zeng, a high school student from Qingdao. (Translated from Mandarin)

“I am glad we have a subway in Qingdao now. It’s really cheap and convenient” said Bi, a high school student from Qingdao.


People are not satisfied with hot temperatures in the summer, homeless people and food trash in subway stations. Also, visiting students are confused about complex train lines.

“The subway map in New York City is too complicated for me. Besides, station-calling service on the subway is not clear enough for me so I might get off wrong stations,” a visiting student from Chengdu, China said.

The fact that New York City’s subways have no security check or no windows between station and trains worries some Chinese students.


 The Beijing Subway was the first subway opened in China. It opened on Jan.15, 1971, 67 years later than New York City subway. Until 2017, there were 18 lines, covering 11 districts in Beijing, and around 344 miles long. It’s the second largest city subway system in the world, behind Shanghai.

“You cannot imagine how crowded it is in Beijing to take subway from 8 to 10AM and 6 to 8PM. The subway is like a sardine can. People can literally be pushed out by crowds,” said Kang, a 36-year-old working woman in Beijing, in Mandarin.

“Once I was carrying my suitcase. I pushed myself in but I lost my suitcase on the platform,” said Liu in Mandarin, a 17-year-old high school student from Chengdu.

“It’s really quick. You have to wait for maximum of 1 minute for next train,” Li said, a working man in Beijing.

Liwen (April) Kang is a NYU precollege student from Chengdu Foreign Language School AP Center, currently a 12th grader.


Chinatown in Manhattan

By Shucong Zhou

                           Chinatown in Manhattan

The view of Chinatown in Manhattan. All photos by SHUCONG ZHOU.

        Chinatown is a lively neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, New York . With aestimated population of 90,000 to 100,000 people, Manhattan’sChinatown is also one of the oldest Chinese ethnic enclaves in New York.

        Souvenir shops and exotic restaurants greet visitors when they step out of the Canal Street subway station. It comprises the area south of Broome Street and east of Lafayette Street and makes people feel like they are entering a different continent.

        The first Chinese immigrants arrived in New York in small numbers in the 18th century. Not until the mid 19th century did a significant number of Chinese move to the East Coast and settle in New York.

        Chinatown has become a place with well-preserved Chinese culture as well as a place with mixed culture. In addition to traditional mainland Chinese food like dumplings and Peking duck, Chinatown is embracing many more kinds of cuisines like dishes from Hong Kong, India and Vietnam.

The Little Italy near Chinatown

        As Chinatown expands, it is moving into the neighborhood known as Little Italy.    

       “I am so happy to find out there is the Little Italy in Chinatown. I can taste both Chinese food and Italian food whatever I want. 

        That’s so great,” said Mary, a visitor in Chinatown.

        There are many opportunities for tourists to get fully involved in Chinese culture.

       Mahayana Buddhist Temple is a center of Buddhism in Chinatown and it has the largest statue of Buddha in New York City. The main worshiping area provides tourists a great place to pray for good luck for their friends and family.

      “We believe in Buddhism and think he can bring fortune for us. Every Sunday morning we come here and join in the Buddhist ceremony. We have been doing this for three years, and we are pious followers,” said Wen Yue and her daughter, both residents in Chinatown.   


              The Museum of Chinese in America

       The Museum of Chinese in America (MOCA) at 215 Centre Street was founded in 1980. It is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history, heritage, culture and diverse experiences of people of Chinese descent in the United States.

        The Museum of Chinese in America has amassed a nationally-significant collection of materials documenting Chinese life in America. It was described by the Smithsonian as “ a cultural rescue mission to save a little-known immigrant heritage”.

The Museum of Chinese in America

       “I came to MOCA today because I think it will help me relate the history of Chinatown with my own family history,” said Mary Pan, 20, a Chinese immigrant to New York who was visiting MOCA.

         MOCA’s Collections and Research Center has more than 65,000 artifacts, photos, memorabilia, documents, oral histories, and art work.

         MOCA’s educational programs and workshops aim to provide residents in  Chinatown and visitors better opportunities for deeper engagement with the history and contemporary community issues.        

The display in MOCA

        “I have been working in this museum for three years. We work as a workshop and provide educating programs to engage participants in an active learning process. We want to make the history alive, and instill a love for lifelong learning,” said Sam Guo, an educator in MOCA.                                                  

          A Glimpse into the Chinese Community

       Columbus Park, formerly known as Mulberry Bend Park, is a public park on 67 Mulberry Street in Chinatown, Manhattan, New York.

       At Columbus Park in Chinatown, visitors can get a glimpse of the diversity of the neighborhood, especially on weekends.

      There are amateur Chinese opera troupes performing in the park, residents playing mahjong and cards, folks practicing tai chi and learning kung fu, and the stray fortune-teller or two.

Chinese performers in Columbus Park

     “Every weekend I come to the Columbus Park. There are always a lot of things to do here. The facilities are basic, but the atmosphere is just wonderful,” said Zhang, a resident living in Chinatown for two years.


        Columbus Park is separated into two parts. The north part is for older Chinese people playing musical instruments or card games. The south part is for children and there is a playground with all kinds of facilities.

the statue of Dr. Sun Yatsen

       “I love to see children playing here. It is quite relaxing here and seeing Chinese children and the American children getting along well and playing together is very interesting. I saw the Chinese children taught the American how to play PIng-Pong,” said Bill, a New Yorker.

        There is also a statue honoring Dr. Sun Yatsen, the leader of the 1911 Chinese revolution in the northern part of the park.

           Authentic Chinese Food in Chinatown

         Lots of the so called Chinese food in Chinatown are different from the authentic Chinese food in China. Some of the restaurants changed their cooking styles to better fit the taste of foreigners.

Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot in Chinatown

         However, there are some Chinese food in Chinatown that taste just the same as they do in China.

        Little Sheep Mongolian Hot Pot at 105 Bowery is a restaurant with a mission to introduce Mongolian culture and food to North America.

        “What is so special and delicious is our broth, which is prepared for more than 8 hours with a variety of herbs and spices. It tastes the same as it does in China because we apply the same method to make the broth,” said Zheng Yan, a waitress in the restaurant.

       Dim Sum Go Go is another Chinese restaurant on 5 East Broadway in Chinatown. It serves Cantonese food, a cuisine from  Southern China.

Dim Sum Go Go in Chinatown

       “I went to China two years ago and that was the first time I tried the Dim Sum with my family. I was so happy when I found the same dishes in Chinatown. I love Har Gow and Chueng Fun very much,” said Jimmy Scarano, a New Yorker.


SHUCONG ZHOU is a senior high school student from Beijing, China.

Sugar-high 2017 trends

Cha Cha Matcha has Instagrammable beverages and white and green soft-serve swirls.

By Paloma Hanaini

Two former NYU students travelled around the world after graduating in 2015. It was in Uji, Japan, where Matthew Morton and Conrad Sandelman got their inspiration for their matcha-based Manhattan shop.

Matcha, a type of green tea that’s made of leaves crushed into a powder, is very popular in Japan where it is used to flavor and dye foods like noodles, mochi, ice cream, and more. Matcha has a bittersweet vegetal taste that might be hard to get used to for first-time matcha tasters.

Cha Cha Matcha’s SoHo store on a hot Sunday afternoon. All photos by Paloma Hanaini.

Cha Cha Matcha’s site says the best part is that “you can infuse matcha into just about anything — pastries, candy, hot beverages, even cocktails”.

This matcha store is a small but popular shop with a few sitting spots located in one of New York’s most famous neighborhoods, SoHo, where usually young people hang out.

According to employee Clay E., people are really interested in the health aspect but also in the cultural aspect of matcha. Health claims include having over 100-times the antioxidants of regular brewed tea and containing amino acids that calm and focus the brain, Cha Cha Matcha’s website says.

But Cha Cha Matcha itself is a draw.

Clay E. said that “the atmosphere and the vibe that we give is very relaxed, it’s almost like a club for the morning.”

This social-media oriented store attracts mostly young people because they were born in a generation in which there’s a lot of stuff popping up and there are many different ways of looking at the world, Clay said.

They have two types of customers: the ones who drink half of the beverages because they are only there for the picture, and customers who get triple shots of matcha and really are interested in the lifestyle, the employee said.

Finding the perfect Instagram shot of Cha Cha Matcha’s drinks.

Camila B. from Weston, Fla., said she, “came to Cha Cha Matcha because I wanted to see for myself the vanilla-matcha soft-serve and the green drinks everyone on Instagram is talking about.”

Even though matcha powder and other types of products are available at retail stores such as Whole Foods, Clay E. said, “it’s not becoming a thing of the past and the reason for that is because it’s all about the physical experience of being here. There’s the music, the aesthetic, the vibe. It’s a social atmosphere.”

Cha Cha Matcha is located in 373 Broome St. New York, NY, and it’s open seven days a week, usually very crowded on weekend afternoons. Prices range from $3.75 to $8.


“Coffee in a Cone”—hot trend for winter

Dayne Levinrad is the mind behind this new concept that consists in having your daily espresso, latte or any other  hot coffee drink served in an ice cream cone. It’s “Coffee in a Cone”.

The ice cream cone is lined with four layers of chocolate, each with a different cacao percentage that reinforces it and makes it leak-proof. However, people only have 10 minutes to drink the coffee before the cone melts completely.

Drawing by Marina Estevez, junior student at Mar del Plata Day School in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.

According to Toronto coffee shop Balzac’s website, Levinrad worked for months to make this possible. He told Eat Out website that, “It took us a while to figure that out. At first we had people spilling – I had to replace quite a few. But we’ve now found a recipe that works.”

It all began in Levinrad’s coffee shop, The Grind Coffee Company, in Johannesburg, South Africa, after he had worked in Brazil, Australia and America for four years, the Daily Mail wrote.

The trend soon expanded to other countries in Africa and Asia, becoming a worldwide known Instagram trend with over one million posts under the #coffeeinacone hashtag.

But it remains unknown here in New York City. So why does it appear to be the next big thing?

In May 20 2017, Balzac’s coffee shop in Toronto, Canada, introduced Coffee in a Cone to its customers and Levinrad was there to witness the arrival of his creation to the American continent. It’s success up north is likely to filter south.

According to a Daily Mail report, Coffee in a Cone puts together three of Instagram’s best-liked items: coffee, chocolate and ice cream.

”We used the cone as a way to become an Instagrammable product. When people come in they take a selfie and tag #coffeeinacone,” Levinrad told CNN.

Efforts to reach Balzac’s Coffee Roasters authorities were unsuccessful.

Step inside this 80-year-old candy store and feel like a kid again

Lower East Side landmark Economy Candy seeks to recreate childhood memories by offering more than 2,000 sweets that range from old time favorites to today’s trends.

“The World’s Largest HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bar”.
All photos by Paloma Hanaini.

What first began as a shoe store is now an iconic family candy business that attracts both New Yorkers and tourists. It is described by food writer Ed Levine as the “Best Penny-Candy Store”.

“Back in the day when we first opened up we used to sell tea, jam, oils and coffee, but little by little they started dying out so we stopped selling them. Everyone wants candy now,” said employee Ray A..

He said that most locals choose to buy jelly rings, pretzels or graham crackers, whereas tourists look for all the stuff they can’t get in their own countries.

According to the employee, the next candy trend will always depend on future generation’s tastes, but right now “all kids love sour stuff. They find boring the candy that I grew up with.”

“What people buy most depends on the time of the year. During summertime people come a lot for parties so they stick to the gumballs and things like that,” said another employee, Jeanet.

Jeanet also said that the 5-pound Hershey bar, which Hershey’s website describes as “the World’s Largest HERSHEY’S Milk Chocolate Bar,” is today’s hottest candy trend. And it’s on sale: it costs $19.95, approximately $25 less than its original price.

But candy isn’t just something that you can see, touch and buy in stores. You may have tried one of  burger restaurant Black Tap’s cocktails without even realizing that it had candy on it.

“People will start incorporating candy into other things like Black Tap does,” Jeanet said.

Kids are all about sour stuff now.

Economy Candy is located in 108 Rivington Street in Manhattan and it’s open seven days a week. Its third-generation owner, Mitchell Cohen, launched the official Economy Candy website that delivers all over the country.

Paloma Hanaini is a junior student at Mar del Plata Day School in Mar del Plata, Buenos Aires, Argentina.




Skateboarding: From a Chinese view

By Yingyin Jade Chen

In the eyes of a visiting student from southern China, skateboarding culture in New York City is a completely novel thing. It reveals a new world with skateboarders and skate parks all around.

For New Yorkers, skateboarding is not only for recreation, but also for transportation.

“For me it’s a transportation method, because of its ease of use and quick movement it can bring,” wrote Krishan Patel, a visiting student at New York University who skateboards everyday, in a survey.

Besides movement, skateboarders also use their boards to do tricks and even dance, which  form elements of the street culture in the United States.

In contrast, skateboarding is not so popular in the Eastern world. 

Johnny Tang is a skateboarder from Toronto and longed to skateboard in China. However, Tang’s mom told him not to bring his skateboard to China.

“ She said there were only ‘dirt roads and horses’ since she was really embarrassed that have a 17-year-old skateboarder kid in front of her traditional family,” said Tang.

“I just rarely see people play skateboarding [in China] ,” said Jenny Wang, a Chinese visiting student who showed interest in skateboarding.

“Comparing to the skateboarders in New York City, who usually skateboard on the road as transportation, people consider the ones in China as trouble makers on the road,” she said.

Skateboarding has been slow to develop in China because of the lack of a strong preexisting street culture and of a skating infrastructure, according to Wikipedia.

“It’s hard for Chinese culture to accept this kind of exotic pastime. On one hand is Chinese conservative thoughts; one the other hand is the stereotype in their mind, which depicts skateboarders as bullies,” said Zhiqiang Xu on Zhihu, a Chinese website.

“Also, skateboarding needs economic base to support. Some families in China have difficulties to afford skateboards,” he wrote.

A skateboarder was doing a trick in Hudson River Park’s Pier 62 Skatepark. Photos by Yingyin Jade Chen.

Keep optimistic and go skateboarding

On a sunny Saturday afternoon, skateboarders clustered in the Lower East Side’s Coleman Park chatting and practicing. Pat Shields, who began to skateboard at seven and has been skateboarding for 20 years, was joking and laughing with his friends.

According to a survey conducted by an New York University Precollege journalism student, most of the skateboarders interviewed in New York City said that they have optimistic opinions toward life. And most of them said they have changed since skateboarding.

In the survey, the average optimism rating toward life given by skateboarders interviewed in New York City was 4.5 out of 5. More than a half of the interviewees gave a full score about how optimistic they think they are. All of them gave no less than 3 for the rating.

Also, 12 out of 13 responses said that skateboarding changed them in a positive way.

“It taught me to never give up,” said Robbie Berg, who has been skateboarding for 27 years since after 12.

“I think it makes anyone stronger; mostly it just makes people have a respect for certain things,” said Andrew Gelles, a professional skateboarding coach who started skateboarding in childhood.

“As you rarely see a skateboarder get frustrated easily cuz they have been meeting [obstacles] for so many times,” he said.

Several responses also said that skateboarding shaped them as a person. 

What people do strongly affects who they are, according to a psychological study of the connection between hobbies and personalities by M.Farouk Radwan M.S., who has studied psychology  for 11 years and holds several related degrees.

“There is no separation between me and skateboarding. It built me. It’s essential and it’s my existence,” said Pat Shields, a skateboarder who has been skateboarding for 20 years.

Skateboarders were chatting and watching a player skateboard during the rest in Hudson River Park’s Pier 62 Skatepark.

China: The world’s next skate park

Though the Chinese visiting student Jenny Wang rarely sees people skateboarding at home, skateboarding is in fact becoming more and more popular in big cities in China, especially in Beijing, Shanghai, and Shenzhen where a lot of skate parks have popped up.

“China is probably the most amazing place in the world to skate right now,” wrote a veteran skateboarder Tommy Zhao in Huck, a bi-monthly magazine about subcultures. “You get to be one of the first dudes to skate these places, and everyone wants to leave their mark.”

“It’s becoming harder and harder back home [in the US]. There’s so much security, people are always kicking you out, yelling at you and giving you tickets,” said Zhao.

Located on the outskirts of Shanghai, Shanghai Multimedia Park is now formally the largest skatepark in the world at 12,300 square feet, according to Skateboarding Magazine.

Beijing International Fashion Sports Park has became one of the largest indoor skate parks in the world, according to Wikipedia.

In addition, Shenzhen is featured by Wikipedia as the most popular destination for visiting pros because of its smooth black marble ledges and security guards who are indifferent to skateboarding.

Yingyin Jade Chen is a Chinese senior student in Jiangsu Tianyi High School who went to New York University Precollege Journalism School.

Blurred Lines

By Zhu Jude Yue


The lines between genders are being intentionally blurred by fashion designers. As a result, it will be more difficult to judge someone’s gender only based on their appearance. This September, we will welcome Fall with the bloom of gender-fluidity.

Hunky Dory

Gender-fluidity is a fashion style featuring the mixture of the attributes of both genders’ traditional ways of dressing while making something new. It used to be considered to be a “sub-culture,” and there were always people engaging in this style to iconize themselves.

David Bowie, the late British singer, is believed to be the influence of many contemporary artists, not only musically, but also visually with his fuzzy gender identities and sexual orientation. He put on feminine make up on the cover of his album “Hunky Dory,” which is described by AllMusic as a “cinematic mélange of high and low art and ambiguous sexuality.”

In Hollywood, Miley Cyrus is accepted by the public as a contemporary representative of gender-fluid. Cyrus told TIME that she does not feel comfortable in either traditional gender boxes or gender-fluid, but she is fine with being identified as the latter for now.

Thom Browne 18 Summer/Spring Collection

Thom Browne, the three-time Council of Fashion Designers of America awards celebrated designer from New York, is famous for his gender-fluid clothing. In his 2018 spring/summer collection, he put a male model in a gray pencil dress. He designed purses, high heels and white wedding dresses for men’s wear.

For women’s wear, he presented the public with short-haired models wearing suits and ties. This collection received generally positive reviews for its fabrics and his concept of gender-fluidity.

The inspiration for the designer’s spring collection is “the idea that when you are a baby you wear pretty much the same clothing as your brothers and sisters,” based on a Vogue runway report.

Gigi and Zayn on Vogue

The latest issue of Vogue had model Gigi Hadid and her boyfriend Zayn Malik on the cover, where we can find some clues of non-binary dressing trend. This cover is titled with “Gigi & Zayn: Shop Each Other’s Closets”. These two cover stars were wearing similar suits and sportswear from fashion houses like Gucci and Burberry, which made it evident that the spirit of gender-fluidity is taking over the fashion industry.

Apart from high-fashion designers, mass market retailers like H&M and Zara are also involved in this trend by providing unisex wear. Ann Greyson is a saleswoman who works for the H&M on the Fifth Avenue, New York. She said that this store holds every single item that H&M produces, including all the unisex clothing.

“We are trying to catch up with the trend but with more decent prices,” said Ann, “and we want our customers to feel free to shop for whatever they feel like wearing.”

Dam, a Latino teenage boy in the NYU Precollege program, wears unisex clothes on a daily basis.

“High fashion is not accessible to us. But those retailers enable me to dress up the way I want in an affordable way,” said Dam, wearing a black blouse. “By the way, it feels free to be myself.”

Zhu Jude Yue is a student journalist in the NYU Precollege program who goes to Nanjing Foreign Language School in China, and this report is written in summer, 2017.


I naturally connect gender-fluidity with a relevant word, transgender. Transgender people were active in the fight for queers’ rights. Sylvia Rivera, a transgender woman, was one of the leaders of the Stonewall Riot, and once shouted for “gay power” in Washington Square Park in New York.

President Trump’s recent tweets about reinstating a ban on transgender troops might have become a turning point in the history of LGBT rights. There were demonstrators gathering to protest against Trump’s ban in various spots in New York, according to an online report by ABC News.

Celebrities also declared their support for trans’ rights on social media.

Though we cannot tell by now, decades later, historians might see this incidence as a milestone which marked transgender people’s entrance into the mainstream. Fashion designers noticed the need for a more tolerant and transgender-friendly style. As they weaken the traditional sexual identities between male and female and blur the lines of limits, designers like Thom Browne are trying to popularize a kind of clothing style which tells transgender people: “You are not different.”

Speak of the Subway

By Will Robin

The summer of 2017 in New York City has brought heat, rain, and subway delays.

Almost three-quarters of subway riders experienced delays, according to an unofficial survey conducted by NYU Precollege Journalism students.

Almost 90% of subway riders from the survey answered Yes when asked if the subway service could be improved.

The service has not been significantly improved; only minor repairs have been done to this 112 year old system, according to the Metropolitan Transit Authority.

Within a 25 year span from 1990 to 2015, the number of subway riders has doubled. In 1990 there were a billion riders annually. Now there are just under 2 billion riders annually.

During these 25 years the New York City Transit system has added only 27 cars to their 6,391 car fleet even though the ridership has almost doubled, said Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota.

The over 2 billion people has caused major overcrowding, Lhota said.

This overcrowding has caused over one-third of the delays, according to the New York Times.

Many New Yorkers including Joseph Riccio, of the Lower East Side of Manhattan, say that the subway does pretty well for the amount of people that it serves. Although there are also New Yorkers including Michelle Benoit, of the Upper West Side of Manhattan, who say the subway has declined significantly in the past five years.

According to a Times article, there were 75,000 delays in the month of June alone.

These delays don’t only hurt the city’s reputation but they also hurt the city’s income as people might choose not to take public transportation, according to Chairman Lhota.


Food Underground

Allowing food on the subway has been cited as the cause of track fires, rats, and the lack of cleanliness in the subway system, Metropolitan Transit Authority Chairman Joe Lhota said.

Banning food on the subway is becoming a controversial topic, in the opinion of subway riders.

Some 52% of subway riders said that the subway should ban food and 48% said that food should be allowed, according to an unofficial survey conducted by NYU Precollege Journalism students.

Subway rider and native New Yorker Joseph Riccio said that there should be food on the subway because people need to eat before and after work and that the subway is often the first place they go after work.

Chelsee Marks of Glen Cove, N.Y., however, said that it’s disgusting and people should wait until they get home or to a restaurant to eat.

People who answered that food should be banned on the subway said it would help with cleanliness, eliminate the chances of a track fires and rats.

The Metropolitan Transit Authority tried to ban food in 2012. Police officers were stationed in the subway and instructed to distribute tickets to individuals who were eating food. This did not last for long as the ban was reversed weeks after it began.

Plan of Attack: Subway Renovations

The Metropolitan Transit Authority is failing its customers, MTA Chairman Joe Lhota said at the opening of his presentation on the current state of the subway.

The problems that are the most significant are the aging infrastructure, lack of capital investment, and the record number of customers. Lhota said this in a presentation that was streamed online through the MTA’s Facebook page.

When the subway opened in 1904, only 73 million people road it annually. Now almost 2 billion people ride it annually.

The 15% increase of customers over the past 10 years has been caused by many factors, one of which being the significant increase in tourism, Lhota said.

There has been a 38% increase in tourism within the past nine years, Lhota said.

Chairman Lhota said the subway is the only system globally running 24 hours a day, seven days a week and it’s the largest in the country with 472 stations.

The 850 miles of tracks throughout all five boroughs of the subway are an average of 41 years old.

His plan of attack for the renovations is comprised by a set of five key steps.

  • Track Maintenance
  • Car Reliability
  • Safety and Cleanliness
  • Customer Communication
  • Critical Management

Will Robin is a senior at Friends Academy in Locust Valley, New York.