Cashing in 18 hours of class and 35 hours of work every week may make Jack a dull boy, but not me. Since last week I have begun full-time work at Stix (a Mediterranean grill and espresso bar) and gone through the syllabus-stuffed intro classes of freshman year. On top of that already packed schedule, I have started a sort of community service with my roommate, Maddy. (None of this would be possible without the free Americanos I get at work.)
After late night shifts at Stix, there is a constant mass of leftover food on its way to the landfill. The first few nights I was urged to bring the food to my roommates, but one slow shift while I was reading a blog on Crusty Punks, I had the idea to give it to the homeless, the travellers, the train hoppers, and the wary. Three boxes of meat kabobs and a 30 minute walk later we arrived at Tompkins Square Park, but by then it was well past midnight and everyone was already asleep. Not wanting to give up and careful as to not wake anyone, we left the boxes next to the sleeping bodies and snuck away. We call it Guerrilla Goods and will begin our search for more restaurants willing to donate food within the next few days.
Karma instantly rewarded our good deed, as the area surrounding Tompkins Square has become our new favorite spot in the city. It’s the Dinkytown, the Bushwick, of Manhattan. Even at 1 AM on a Sunday night the street is alive with buzzed cheer streaming out of the bars and string lights illuminating vegan cafes.
That first night left me feeling electric and I likewise leave my classes invariably stimulated. Each professor is uniquely fascinating, the discussions hit fast and hard, the location is in the middle of Chelsea (the art capital of New York), and there are so many gorgeous minds in our miniscule department of Visual and Critical Studies. My only complaint: How long can a line for Trader Joes possibly be? It’s preposterous.
With all of this invigoration, I’m not left with much time to be homesick. However, if I do get stricken with a twinge of Midwest nostalgia, three blocks up is the infamous Shake Shack. If you ever make your way to lower Manhattan, Shake Shack is a must, regardless of how long the line. So why does this New York favorite remind me of home? The ‘Shroom Burger. A meatless, mushroom burger, covered in the house “Shack Sauce” and filled with melty cheese. Jucy Lucy, anyone?