Do You Know the Origin of Your Fashion?

By Ayana Herndon

Boxer braids, bindis, grills and henna. All things that we as teens adore and find fashionable. But did you know that sometimes we steal parts of other people’s cultures through fashion?

This is called Cultural Appropriation, which  occurs when a group claims ownership of a fashion or trend, ignoring it’s actual cultural origins.

Think the Kardashians in cornrows. Then think Snoop Dogg in cornrows. Is one chic and the other off-putting?

Cornrows have always been a style in the Black community. However, some famous people have appropriated this hairstyle and suddenly it became a trend.

Kim Kardashian shown wearing cornrows on her Instagram.
Kim Kardashian shown wearing cornrows on her Instagram.

“Keeping Up With the Kardashians” star Kim Kardashian was seen in an Instagram photo wearing two braided cornrows.

MTV UK tweeted that the hairstyle was trendy and new.

 “The A Listers are loving boxer braids right now so here’s an easy way to do them yourself,” said MTV UK.

The Tweet was soon taken down after it received a lot of comments saying that cornrows were only considered “A list” when White stars started to wear them.

Cornrows aren’t a new hairstyle. They were seen as far back as 500 B.C.E. in a clay sculpture from the Nok Civilization in Nigeria. They were later widespread throughout Africa in clans and tribes, and later into the Americas via the Middle passage.

“K.C. Undercover” star Zendaya recently said “Braids are not new. Black women have been wearing braids for a very long time. Another problem is it became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black woman. You know what I mean? So that is the frustration.”

In the early 2000s, cornrows were everywhere on celebrities like Alicia Keys, Tyra Banks, Ludacris, and Bow Wow.

Still, The New York Post calls Cornrows  a “HOT NEW TREND” of this year.

“It’s just not fair then when our people [African Americans] wear our certain hairstyles were made fun of but when the white race does it it’s acceptable,”  said 19 year old Aliya Roberts  of the Bronx.

According to a survey, 75% of teens from ages 15-18 agreed that the White race isn’t ridiculed when they wear other culture’s hairstyles.

The same survey showed that 100% of teens agreed that minority groups are targeted when they wear their own hairstyles.

Zendaya (left) wearing dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscars shown next to Giuilana Rancic (right).
Zendaya (left) wearing dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscars shown next to Giuilana Rancic (right).

When Disney star Zendaya was seen wearing dreadlocks at the 2015 Oscars, “Fashion Police” co-host Giuliana Rancic said “Zendaya probably smells like patchouli oil and weed” in a segment of the show on “E!”

Many people took offense to this including Zendaya herself.

“To say that an 18 year old young woman smells like patchouli oil and weed is not only a stereotype but largely offensive,.” said Zendaya in an Instagram post.

According to Rancic the comment was entirely a joke and wasn’t meant to be offensive.

“There’s a long history about racist comments about Black people in terms of how they smell.” said Jeffrey C Stewart, Chair of the Black Department Studies at the University of California.

Model Kylie Jenner wore cornrows and posted a picture of herself Instagram. She received over one million likes with the caption “I woke up like disss.”

Amandla Steinberg (left) and Kylie Jenner in cornrows (right) .
Amandla Steinberg (left) and Kylie Jenner in cornrows (right) .

In her response to Kylie’s post, actress Amandla Steinberg commented “When u appropriate black features and culture but fail to use ur position of power to help Black Americans by directing attention towards ur wigs instead of police brutality or racism #whitegirlsdoitbetter,”

Steinberg even went to create a video, later in April all about cultural appropriation and how white celebrities adopt aspects of Black culture but fail to support or comment on the harsh realities of being a Black person in America.

At the end of the video, Amadla asked viewers asking an essential question, “What would America be like if we loved Black people as much as we love Black culture?”

Further information on cultural trends: What’s the Deal with Low-Slung Pants?

Stories Hidden Underground

by Shiran Zhang

Throughout the New York City subway system, there are underground performers who always have fresh stories to tell. If you look closely, you’ll find a child protégé on the piano or some passionate break-dancers. Because there are no age or performance restrictions, the group of performers at any given station is very diverse.

At the Union Square station earlier in August, an older man gazed at his two beloved music players. One was a younger man on the drums, and the other child played alongside him.

A musical family plays bucket drums in Union Square Station (credit: Shiran Zhang)

They are father-son duo from the Bronx, who played drums made of water buckets. Though there was a crowd of admirers, their biggest fan was the young boy’s grandfather, who lovingly gazed at the two players. Three generations gathered together here, having a lovely time.

“My father was a singer, my uncle was a drummer, so I’ve been doing this stuff since I was five years old. I remember my father and my mother play music in the kitchen when I was young, using every possible tools as instruments,” said the boy’s father with sweat on his face.

“We play music everywhere, subway stations, movies, commercials, Broadway plays…I’ve never had bad times when playing music. I just love it so much!” the father said.

The passion and skill brought by this talented family has touched many passengers, who showed their admiration and made a donation.

“We can earn 150 bucks per day here”, said the father.

A 62-year-old Chinese man named Yizhou Wu, makes a living playing the erhu (a two-stringed bowed instrument) in the subway. (Credit: Shiran Zhang)

“I can earn 11-12 dollar per hour, Once a big boss gives me a $20 bill, I was so freaking happy,” said Yizhou Wu in Chinese with a smile.

Wu was a high school teacher who taught Chinese in Guangzhou, China years ago. He started practicing erhu when he was 13. He immigrated to New York City when he retired and has been playing music underground ever since.

“It’s so great to be one of the New Yorkers. Surprises happen from time to time when I play music!” He pulled something out of his pocket: a thick bunch of $1 bills.

“Strongest proof of my music achievements!” he said.

While many musicians win coveted play informally, music underground spots are given by the N.Y Transit Authority. In order to become part of the official Music Underground Program, under which performances can be legally entertain in the subways, they must pass an audition held every May at Vanderbilt Hall at Grand Central Terminal. There are about 36 professional music experts to judge the performances. The competition of music underground promotes the arts and music culture of New York City, which has become an inseparable part of New Yorkers’ life.

“Only 20 out of 300 candidates can be selected!” He proudly introduced the challenge of being an underground performer. He was selected in 2008, and kept playing the erhu after.

“I’ve never, ever had bad times playing music, no matter, in the subways.” Both the father on the drum agreed.

Side Bar


Side Bar

Free Workout Spots in NYC

By Izzy Blansfield

Finding free workout spots are key for an NYU student.

Clothing brands provide free workout classes plus the ability try out their workout clothes during the free class. Brands include Nike, New Balance, Asics, North Face, Athleta, Lululemon, Under Armour, Reebok, & Sweaty Betty.

There are many other free workout classes located throughout New York:


Studio B Bandier

Yoga to the people

Shape Up NYC

NYC Fun Run- every Wednesday at 7pm

Jordan Metzl’s Iron Strength Workouts

The Rise NYC

Drill Bootcamp Ride at Drill Fitness

In addition to these free classes, incoming NYU students receive discounts and free classes to numerous different workout spots such as Cyc, and Soul Cycle when they first get to NYU during welcome week.

What Do Teenagers Do In NYC?

By Meghan Riley

Sena Cheung (17, left) and Sebastian Flores (16, right) enjoying a Friday night in Central Park
Sena Cheung (17, left) and Sebastian Flores (16, right) enjoying a Friday night in Central Park

Even in a city that never sleeps, teenagers sometimes have trouble finding age appropriate things to do on a Friday night in New York City, according to an informal survey.

Once teenagers are allowed to go out with their friends without supervision, they need to find something to fill their time.

The survey showed that about 71% of teenagers are allowed to go out at 14 years old or younger, 14% are allowed to go out at 15 years old, 7% are allowed out at 16 and 7% are allowed out at 17 years old or older.

This doesn’t mean that kids are allowed to roam free and do whatever they want.

“My mother won’t let me go out at certain times,” says Amber Miranda from the Bronx, “And there are things that are too far, like Brooklyn.”

The survey also showed that almost 79% of teenagers have a strict curfew to follow. Almost 36% of kids have some kind of boundary from how far they can go from their house. And the other 28% have some other kind of restriction.

Once teenagers are allowed the option to go out and be with their friends, they have to find things to do.

Only 14% of teenagers who took the survey said that they had trouble finding thing to do in New York City this summer.

Parks, movie theaters and cheap restaurants are all popular places for teenagers to hang out on the weekends, according to the survey.

However, in order to go to movies or restaurants teenagers need money.

A large 86% of kids who took the survey said that their parents in some way pay for them to do things with their friends.

Only 14% percent said their parents always pay for them to go out with their friends, and half of the survey takers said that their parents only pay for them sometimes.

“Finding cheap things to do is imperative when you’re in New York City for the summer” said 17 year old Michelle from San Diego.

Over 57% of answers from the survey said that they can only spend $20 or less when they go out with their friends.

Less than half of the survey takers said that they pay more than that on a regular basis.

Teenagers, especially starving college students, need inexpensive options for things to do in New York City.

It is after all one of the most expensive cities to live in, according to CBS MoneyWatch.

Even just walking around the streets on a Friday evening can leave teenagers with few age appropriate options, says NYU PreCollege residential and commuter students alike.

The streets that are filled with bars and nightclubs and expensive restaurants can be distracting and leave some kids thinking there is nothing else to do, according to the 14% of survey takers that had a hard time finding things to do.

When teenagers get bored and see a row of bars on St Marks Place, they look for ways in, according to the residential advisers who were in charge of the PreCollege students this summer.. This means they search for fake IDs and can get caught and in a lot of trouble for having one.

Out of the 20% of students who took a separate informal survey, only half of their fake IDs worked and got them into bars in New York City.

The other half were caught and their IDs were taken from them on site, according to NYU PreCollege students who were with the group that got carded.

The Fakes Epidemic; Underage Drinking and Fake IDs

Cheap Things To Do In NYC


The Fakes Epidemic; Underage Drinking and Fake IDs

St. Marks Place is a popular strip for bars and clubs in the East Village Photo taken by Meghan Riley
St. Marks Place is a popular strip for bars and clubs in the East Village
Photo taken by Meghan Riley

Hookah bars and fake IDs have been popular topics in New York University dorms this summer.

A hookah bar or lounge is an easy 21-plus establishment to sneak into, according to underaged NYU dormers,  where patrons can smoke tobacco out of a shared water pipe and order alcoholic drinks.

In the NYU PreCollege Program, only 20% of PreCollege students own a fake ID, according to an anonymous informal survey.

There are a few different ways of getting a fake ID, including ordering them from websites and online providers like

From this website, you can buy a fake ID from New York, Minnesota, or Colorado for only $150.

Each ID is guaranteed to pass a black light test at bars and nightclubs, have the correct hologram sticker for the state it is from, and a barcode to be scanned at stores, “to the best of their ability,” according to the website’s FAQs page.

The website even offers reprint options in case your fake ID is taken from you, which will happen if an establishment recognizes an ID as fake.

Bars and nightclubs have gotten very good at recognising fake IDs.

“Fake IDs will be confiscated and the police will be called,” according to a representative at Sahara Citi, a hookah bar on East 13th Street, “The police handle it from there.”

The ID must be handed over to law enforcement within 24 hours, according to New York State  law.

Using a fake name on an ID is considered a misdemeanour but using the real name of another person is a gross misdemeanour and can mean jail time, according to the underage and fake ID laws.

The possible charges for underaged possession and consumption would mean a minimum of $150 fine for a first offence.

That’s $300 that you’ve now wasted and a lot of explaining to do to your parents.


Cheap Things To Do In NYC

What is there to do year round in New York City? Let me tell you!



Asia Society Museum

725 Park Avenue, New York, NY



Free on Fridays from 6pm to 9pm

Under 16 free entrance always

Association with Hunter College is free admission


American Museum of Natural History

79th Street and Central Park West, New York, NY


Suggested admission fee is $22 for adults, not mandatory


The Guggenheim

1071 5th Avenue, New York, NY


Admission fee is suggested, pay as you wish on Saturdays 5:45pm to 7:45pm


The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY

200 Eastern Parkway Museum


Admission fee is suggested, pay as you wish

$4 discounts for students


Whitney Museum of American Art

99 Gansevoort Street, New York, NY


Fridays from 7pm to 10pm admission is pay as you wish

Association with New York University is free admission


Museum of the City of New York

1220 5th Avenue, New York, NY


Suggested admissions fee is $14 for adults and $10 for students, pay as you wish

19 and Under are free



Conservatory Gardens at Central Park

Entrance at 5th Avenue and 105th Street or 106th Street gate inside Central Park



Botanical Gardens

2900 Southern Blvd, Bronx, NY


Weekdays student price $18, Weekends student price  $22


Sports Games

Mets Games

$10 promenade level seating for students, rush list


Yankee Games

Half priced tickets for students at the Ticket Window



Broadway Shows

Discounted tickets to day-of performances


AMC Movie Theaters

Discounted movie tickets on Thursdays for Students


Exercise Classes

Yoga Classes

10 class card for $100 with student ID, 5 class card for $50 with student ID

Talking the Talk at Conversation Day

by Barbara Yerkes

A volunteer for Conversations New York leads a discussion about happiness.
A volunteer for Conversations New York leads a discussion about happiness.

People eager to discuss a variety of topics gathered at Bryant Park in July to join Conversation Day, an annual event dedicated to bringing people together through in-person interactions.

Anyone who was interested in participating could simply get a nametag, check the board of topics, and join a table of other people willing to talk.

The organization running the event was “Conversations New York”, whose goal is to encourage New Yorkers to engage in meaningful, face-to-face conversations to promote a better understanding of other humans and their perspectives. The nonprofit started in November 2012, and this was their third annual event.

Trained volunteers were stationed at each table to keep the conversations lively, and to make sure each participant was contributing.

Volunteer Sally Moses of Brooklyn said the appeal behind the conversations is that, “You can talk about anything and be as open as you want because you probably will never see the person again in a city like New York.”

We’re celebrating the soul of New York. Our collective ideas, feelings, intuitions, hopes, concerns, anger” said Ronald Gross, founder and director of Conversations New York. “I would want (the participants) to get is a reminder that it’s really fun and enjoyable and rewarding.”

Conversations New York holds conversations every day in a smaller format, to encourage people daily to pursue more human interaction.

Related article: How Social is Social Media?

How Social is Social Media?

By Barbara Yerkes

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The conviction that we’ve lost track of the value of human conversation as part of our social, culture, intellectual and educational life”

When you walk through Washington Square Park, be careful not to run into people glued to their phone playing the latest Pokemon game, completely solitary despite being in a lively area.

Or maybe when you grab lunch with a friend, you notice her scrolling through Instagram and checking her Facebook feed more than contributing to a conversation. As you look around, you might see similar scenes happening at each table.

Millennials, people born after 1980 according to Pew Research Center, receive a negative view about their cell phone use from older generations, particularly because of the large amount of time spent on phones.

“Looking around seeing everyone on their phones in the middle of a beautiful park on a sunny day makes me sad for this generation. Back in my day we had conversations with each other,” said Greenwich local Emma Bamdorf, 53.

Although the initial purpose of the cell phone was to increase conversations, 84% of teens aged 16 to 18 in an informal survey said that since they started using their phones, they actually talk to their friends less.

In an attempt to increase face-to-face communication, organizations have been created solely to bring people together to talk with each other.

Conversations New York” is a group where trained volunteers plan meetings around the city where people can go to sit down and have a conversation about anything ranging from politics to love.

Ronald Gross, founder and director of “Conversations New York,” said the inspiration for this group came from, “The conviction that we’ve lost track of the value of human conversation as part of our social, culture, intellectual and educational life… I want people to get a reminder that it’s really fun and enjoyable and rewarding and profitable.”

But with the growing consumption of social media, is conversation just growing on a different platform?

Ninety-two percent of teens reported that most of the time spent on their phones was on social media applications, the most prominently used being Instagram and Snapchat to post photos and videos. 

The move from face-to-face conversation to online doesn’t necessarily mean there is a lack of communication, or is detrimental to human interaction.

Sophia Klass, 17, of the Upper East Side said, “social media and phones in general allow teens to keep in touch with each other, especially because we’re always busy with academics and extracurriculars.”

Other teens stated that using phones too much only becomes a problem in large social situations if everyone is on their phone instead of talking to each other. Some said that their only negative is the distraction it can create at school.

Besides social media, other types of apps that take up time are gaming oriented,where they can be played anywhere on a mobile device.

With the recent release of the wildly popular Niantic app “Pokemon Go,” players travel with their phones to catch Pokemon, level up, and advance in the game with the use of real time location and activity tracking.

This new development in apps has created a new sense of being attached to a phone, as users everywhere are thoroughly attached to their mobile device. While some people see this as “teenagers being addicted to their phones,” most players just view it as a fun and interactive way to play a game, and actually have met people while playing.

Some of the negative stigma results from the fact that the new Millenial generation grew up with technological advancements, where older generations were introduced to it later on in life.

“There’s such an unfair blame put onto teenagers about being on their phones too much, but they allow us to stay connected, and have interactions that we wouldn’t be able to have without them. It only becomes a problem when used in extreme,” said 16 year old Amber Deshawn of Lower Manhattan.

For more on Conversations New York