R&R Weekends in New York City

Colleges love sending mail. Whether it’s promotional pamphlets or personalized emails, universities take marketing to prospective students to a whole new level. Juniors and seniors who are currently in high school know exactly what I’m talking about.

As a current first-year student at Swarthmore who still receives emails telling me, “Applications due soon! Apply to your dream school today!” I can attest to the fact that I didn’t read each and every piece of mail I received from colleges.

In fact, Swarthmore’s admissions guidebook was the only promotional material I paid any serious attention to and yes, this may or may not be due to the fact that the front cover read: “DO NOT READ.”

I remember reading about the school’s proximity to Philadelphia and the world of opportunities that existed in the city of brotherly love, but something that isn’t highly advertised is the ease with which students can get to New York City and Washington D.C.

A few weeks ago, after an exhausting week of midterms, papers, and presentations, a few friends and I decided we deserved some rest and relaxation.

We packed our day bags, took a quick train ride to Philadelphia, and hopped on a bus to Manhattan. Surprisingly, the bus only cost us $13 round trip!

After about an hour and forty minutes, I looked out my window and was greeted by the familiarity of Lower Manhattan. Here’s what our day looked like:

11 a.m.: A group of eight extremely hungry Swatties walked into the first restaurant they spotted – Spitzer’s Corner. The food was great, as were the conversations.

12 p.m.: Sharples doesn’t get a ton of credit, but the ice cream is delicious; my personal favorite is the increasingly rare, and highly coveted, birthday cake ice cream. After an entire year of getting ice cream with every meal, my friends and I can no longer resist dessert. We decided to go to Ice NYC to test the hype of “rolled” ice cream. Conclusion: it was good, but didn’t quite live up to our expectations.

1 p.m.: We then headed over to New Museum, which is free for youth and discounted for students. There were several ongoing exhibits. My favorite was a series of artworks by Ray Pettibon, an American artist known for his “comic-like drawings.”

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My favorite piece in the collection. It reads, “I wish I could show you — give you — the real thing, and not this pale representation.”

3 p.m.: Made it to the top floor of the New Museum: the Sky Deck. We took a ton of photos and I got to spend time people watching—we had fun with it!

4 p.m.: Strolled through Soho for window shopping, which was cut short, in part, due to my inability to handle the cold.

5:30 p.m.: Made our way to Chinatown in desperate search of a warm bowl of pho.

7 p.m.: For dessert, we were able to go to Tous les Jours café in Koreatown, one of my favorite places growing up. After ordering our coffee and pastries, we sat down and took out work. I read a book for my Economics class, Global Capitalism Since 1920, while a friend finished her computer science lab. It’s pretty instinctual for Swatties to seek out coffee shops when looking for places to work—thank you, Hobbs.

10 p.m.: It was the end of our night and we all parted ways, excited at the prospects of spring break. Half of the group spent the night in Queens in preparation for a flight to the Dominican Republic the next morning, while the rest of us trekked back to Swarthmore.

12 a.m.: After falling asleep on the bus, I woke up to find myself back at Jefferson Station. I was grateful for the day trip to New York and the accessibility of the city, but I was also happy to be home.

While it was my first trip of the school year, many of my friends have been able to make frequent trips to both New York and DC. Whether it’s for conferences and events, to visit friends and family, or like us, simply for restorative purposes, the world is your oyster.

Swarthmore’s proximity to so many key cities is rare among liberal arts colleges – take advantage of it. Who knows, maybe I’ll even catch you there someday!

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