Tag Archives: Manhattan

In Remembrance

Last night, I slept at my cousin’s apartment which happens to be right next to the 9/11 Memorial. Even at 10pm last night, security was present, blocking off streets and redirecting traffic. This morning, there was an NYPD officer at every corner, every subway entrance and at every building entrance. Who could have imagined the events of September 11, 2001 and now, no one can forget them.

I can tell you every detail about that day, from sitting in my 6th grade social studies classes, watching students leave school one by one to sitting outside at recess wondering with my friends what was going on. I distinctly remember meeting my mom at the bus stop and thinking how weird it was since our bus stop was only three houses away. I remember the entire two-minute conversation I had with my dad and the feeling of relief I had when I knew he was alright. I remember the first images I saw and the great sadness I felt. I remember it all.

At the time, all of my parents worked in Manhattan as well as almost all of my aunts and uncles. Our lives could have turned out a lot differently that day. I know it effected my dad and stepmom, who lost lots of friends. I know my aunts and uncles will never forget watching the plane burst into flames as it hit the first tower. I can’t help but feel eternally grateful that my loved ones returned home safely that day, when so many others didn’t.

As I commuted to work this morning, I thought about those who lost their lives 12 years ago today. The only crime they committed was going to work. They were innocent. Now being someone who goes into Manhattan every day, what happened that day hits me even harder. All those people did was go to work like they were supposed to. Today is truly an example of how quickly life can change.

We should not sit and cry all day today, though we might want to. Hug your loved ones a little tighter and celebrate your life. And never forget what happened on 9.11.01.

911

Dude, Where’s My Boss?!

When I started my job almost four months ago, I had no idea what to expect or who I’d be reporting to. Quickly I realized the person I’d be working most with (aka my boss) was located in Chicago. So this is fun, I thought. How exactly is going to work?

Coming straight from college, I’ve always interacted in person with my supervisor(s). We would communicate through email, occasionally over the phone and absolutely meet in person at least once a week. So not having my boss in the office was definitely something I wasn’t used to. But, working virtually is a way of life for most people here and in larger companies across the nation.

telecommuting-pro-and-conMost people at my company are telecommuters, which means they work from their home office most of the time. Some people split time between their home and work offices while others come into NYC everyday. It is more of a personal preference and thankfully, my company is flexible in letting employees work from home. Not having my direct supervisor in the office has been an adjustment for me but here’s why it works.

  • Technology: Conference calls and live meetings are an integral part of life here. We have the ability to conference several people into a call at once. Live meeting allows people to share their computer screen’s in order to explain a document to their audience. This visual aid makes training new employees so much easier. We rely heavily on these tools and others to help us feel like we’re all in the same room.
  • Understanding: Most of my team is in Chicago, which is an hour behind me here in Manhattan. We all are conscious of the time difference when scheduling meetings and are very understanding of each other’s schedules. Some of us get to work earlier while others stay later. Being aware of everyone’s schedules and best times of productivity is a key factor is our team’s efficiency.
  • Trust: My boss does not need to see me to know I am doing my work. Similarly, her boss doesn’t need to see her to know she’s working..super hard I might add. Of course, there will be some situations when employees must come into the office. But, on the whole, there is a level of trust between supervisors and their team. Because of this, there is more flexibility in where people work from.

Last week, Spin Sucks published an article about working from home versus working at the office. The article cited pros and cons to each, but studies found it came down to the ability to focus. Whether my boss is sitting behind me or sitting in Chicago, I have to keep myself motivated and focused on the task at hand. Limiting distractions is the biggest factor into staying focused. For more tips, check out the Spin Sucks article here.

I have learned that having a virtual team and office can be just as rewarding and productive as having your team right in front of you. It’s been a great way to improve my communication skills as well. Do you work virtually? Is it a challenge? Let me know!

ny-to-chi

Commuter Diaries Part 2

In my first post about commuting, I shared my best practices for traveling through the city without killing anyone or yourself. Now it’s time to talk travel!

I am fortunate enough to travel for my job. In just three short months, I’ve gone to Florida, California and Chicago. When I’m not flying around the country, there are times when I have to ride the bus or train into Manhattan. Along the way, I’ve found little pieces of technology that have become extremely helpful.

nj transitText Message Schedules: NJ Transit has signs at each of their bus stops with a number to text to receive real-time updates about the bus assigned to that stop. Some mornings when I get to my stop, I text the number to see how far my bus is from picking me up. This service is also available for NJ Transit trains. Costumers can text in their route and will receive a menu of options. For example, if you text New Brunswick to NY Penn Station, you will receive different options for that route. You can text back a certain letter that corresponds with the option you want. You can include a time in the message as well.

Mobile Boarding: So maybe I have been living under a rock because I didn’t fully understand mobile boarding passes. Most airlines offer an app for smartphones so you can access flight information and your boarding pass. Now my Blackberry isn’t very app friendly, but I can still pull up my boarding pass in a browser and have the attendant scan it. The mobile boarding pass comes with a QR code to scan and contains all of your flight information. It makes life so mush easier and eliminates something else you have to remember to carry around while traveling.

boarding-pass

Another tool I find super helpful when commuting is the different types of passes offered by NJ Transit. Both the train and the bus offer 10-trip passes that can be used at any point within 20 days of its purchase. These are even better than monthly and weekly passes since you can use them at any point. For me, there are some days I go in with my mom and some days when I commute alone. So the 10-day allows me flexibility in choosing what days I can use them. It also ends up being more affordable to buy 10-trip passes then a round-trip ticket every few days. Definitely look into your ticket and pass options when using public transportation to commute.

How has technology played a role in your commute? Share your thoughts!

Commuter Diaries Part 1

As I might have mentioned before, I commute to Manhattan everyday. My office is located on Madison Avenue between 41st and 42nd streets. Most days, I walk from Port Authority and others from my mother’s office. Either way, it’s a decent walk through the city.

Every major city is filled with commuters. These people hustle through the streets desperately trying to get to work without killing anyone in the process. As silly as it may sound, this is a legitimate statement. Millions come through Manhattan every day so walking in a timely manner can be a challenge. After about a month of completing my daily trek, I’ve come up with a few tips for those powering through any city each day.

1. Don’t break stride: Regardless of your direction, just keep moving. If you’re stopped at one corner, try to cross at the other. By not stopping, you are keeping the flow of people traffic moving. This being said, don’t cross a street if there are cars coming or if it’s going to be out of your way.

2. Be alert: You are absolutely allowed to walk with your headphones in or occasionally check your cell phone. However, you should not be focused on the ground, your phone or anything else. Your head should be up, paying attention to the people around you and the traffic on the streets. Make sure you actually look before running across the street and don’t just walk because other people are.

3. Hold on tight: Most commuters have purses, briefcases and laptops with them as they travel through the city. With everyone’s stuff floating around, it’s important to make sure your own belongings are secure. Be certain your wallet is deep within your bag and that all openings are zipped or buttoned.

4. Pay attention to events: The month of December brings tons of special events to the city of Manhattan. Most of these events bring mass amounts of people, especially tourists to the city. A smart commuter knows when these events occur in order to avoid the areas with extra volume on those days.

5. There will be obstacles: On any given day, there will be obstacles in your way that prevent you from getting to your destination. I’ve encountered Disney characters in Times Square and Girl Scout Troops in Penn Station. Always give yourself extra time in case you run into such challenges. And as always, pack your patience.

I’ve been learning the best routes to take on my daily walk to the office. It’s really fun to see all the Christmas decorations up; they bring the city to life! Getting from Point A to Point B can be a challenge but with patience, you can be a successful commuter too!

Motivation Mondays: Empire State of Mind

For the last three weeks, I’ve gotten to walk through the streets of Manhattan on my way to work. As much as the congested streets and cold weather can be annoying, I feel extremely lucky to be walking these blocks and avenues. There is something about the bright lights of Manhattan that captivate me and bring me to life.

Since a very young age, I’ve walked (or ran on some occasions) through the streets of Manhattan. Both my parents brought my brother and I into the city, to bring your child to work days, to see the Christmas tree and to go to New York Rangers hockey games. My mother even took us to the Ground Zero memorial only three months after the attacks. I’m so glad I was raised in the city and am blessed to be a part of it every day.

Not everyone is a city person. Some don’t like the noise and others can’t stand the traffic. I completely understand that but there is something about the city of New York that rejuvenates me. When I walk through the city, passing Radio City Music Hall, glimpsing at the Empire State Building, I become inspired. I’m not sure what exactly it is, but the city speaks to me, telling me that anything in the world is possible. So many people came to Manhattan to start new lives; the city gave them the same hope and promise of opportunity that I feel everyday.

I can wholeheartedly say I am a city girl. I love the hustle and bustle of a city and find all the bright lights magical. This love affair with cities even impacted my decision to attend Temple University. As you probably know, Temple is right in the middle of Philadelphia, another city I left in love with over the last four years. The view of City Hall from Temple’s main campus was on of the best views I’ve ever seen. That being said, nothing will ever compare to NYC. Sorry Philly friends, but Manhattan will always be #1 in my book!

There have been several songs written about the great city of New York. However, I am partial to one in particular: Empire State of Mind by Jay-Z and Alicia Keys. Both parts of the song refer to New York as a place where dreams are made and where people are inspired. Perhaps the most inspiring part is hearing these lyrics come from two artists who grew up in the streets of New York. You can tell that the city made them who they are; their passion for the city they love is contagious.

The next time you happen to be wondering around Manhattan, take a look around and see all the opportunities that lie ahead you. I can almost guarantee that some part of the city will inspire you. Until then, both parts of Empire State of Mind are below!

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