Work Life 2015

Last year was filled will many professional milestones, achievements, learning opportunities, and more. It was my first full calendar year of working full time and living in the same apartment. From traveling to a promotion, it was successful to say the least. Here are the highlights:

She Wolf of Wall Street

In July, I got to accompany Texas Governor Greg Abbott and delegation from the state to the New York Stock Exchange. After planning and implementing the visit, we got to watch the ringing of the Opening Bell and a live CNBC interview from the NYSE floor. Since walking down Wall Street every morning on my commute, I finally got to see what was behind the large pillars and security.

Triathlon Champion

Early August, I participated in my second DCI-sponsored race, this time the Central Park Triathlon. I placed first in my age group, winning a nice plastic trophy for my desk. The race consisted of a 400m pool swim, 12mi bike around the park and 3mi run mostly uphill — I clocked in at 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Dutch Dream

Taking a project on the road (or should I say: overseas), I escorted my first press trip — to the Netherlands, nonetheless! We hosted six American medtech journalists on a whirlwind four-day tour of the country. After, I went sightseeing for three days in Amsterdam, with stops including the Rijksmuseum, the Heineken Brewery and Amsterdam ArenA, where I attended the Amsterdam Music Festival (my first EDM event) with the world’s top DJs.

Power Presenter

After a fulfilling year on the PRSA New Professionals Section Executive Committee, I took my first trip to Atlanta to attend PRSA’s International Conference. I spoke on a panel about cross-training in your career, while also managing to attend a large number of sessions, catch up with old PR friends and explore the city.

An New Type of Executive

I can’t think of any better way 2015 could’ve wrapped up than my promotion at DCI to Account Executive. Adios to the ‘assistant’ on my business cards. Here’s to another great year with fulfilling client work and amazing colleagues.

Top Spots to Tap it Back in NYC

More than eight months into my ClassPass membership I’m finally writing the post I’ve been thinking about in my head after every spin and cycling class – a definitive guide to the best places to “Tap it Back” in NYC. This is a genuinely difficult topic to assess. With so many studios, they don’t all show up in Google searches, and when they do, each website seems to offer different information. There are pros and cons to the slew of studios across the city, so rather than list in order of preference, I’ve organized alphabetically to give my take on the best and mediocre parts of each ride and studio.


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AQUA Studio

Not your traditional cycling class, AQUA brings bikes underwater. What started as a European trend is now accessible in this NYC-only studio. While I would never replace my normal cycling with aquacycling full time, AQUA is a great way to mix up your workout a few times a month. The classes are small and you can get personal attention; that being said, this is definitely a low-impact workout where you get out what you put in. The studio is very boutique-y with high level clientele in Tribeca. Great locker room and amenities if you’re getting ready before work.

BFX

BFX Studio

BFX is one of few studios that uses the original Spinning method, while still getting a dedicated following of riders. While you can take the traditional Ride Republic class, BFX offers several other variations that let you ride for 30 minutes, followed by 30 minutes of TRX, HIIT, barre, and more — my favorite. BFX also has some of the best amenities around — plenty of showers and counter space to get ready.

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Cyc Fitness

Cyc Fitness is one of my of favorite studios and always one of the sweatier workouts. What sets Cyc apart is its heavy use of weights, throughout half of the ride, rather than just a few minutes. The weighted portions incorporate movements from other sports, creating an incredible full-body workout.  The lights and music never fail to disappoint, especially for someone like me, who loves to feel like they’re at an exclusive party and not the gym.

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FlowCycle

I find it crazy that FlowCycle is the only studio in Manhattan with RealRyder bikes, but it’s true! These bikes tilt 20 degrees to each side, giving you an experience most similar to riding outside, not to mention the screen that takes you on trails and roads across the country each ride. One thing to note is that since FlowCycle is in an office building, it’s a bit smaller and doesn’t offer showers.

Flywheel

Flywheel’s welcoming atmosphere and variety of instructors, from personality to playlists, is what I like most about this studio with several locations. They use ‘torq’ for resistance, tallying points of your total output and projecting them on an (optional) scoreboard — great for the competitive type. Flywheel also has their amenities down, with showers and beauty bars at every location.

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Monster Cycle + Studio

While the Monster Cycle may have an edgy vibe, it’s always a fun ride. The only studio with two huge projectors, you get to watch your favorite hip-hop videos while sweating it out. If seeing in-shape dancers isn’t motivation to ride harder, I don’t know what is.

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Peloton

Peloton is unique in that it utilizes a lot of technology to live-stream classes to riders at home — using the same bikes you use in the studio! Each ride is filmed and also includes a leaderboard for the competitive-types. It’s like many other indoor cycling classes, though the average age of clientele is slightly higher than other places.

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Revolve

I’ve found that Revolve, more than other studios, really focuses on indoor cycling as a benefit to true cyclists, whether you’re hitting the road for fun or training for a triathlon. The location is right in Union Square, and though the locker room is small, it has everything you need.

SoulCycle

SoulCycle is what made indoor cycling a “cult,” but I love it. How can you not be motivated when the mantra on the wall calls you an athlete, legend, warrior, renegade, and rockstar? — all while basically dancing on your bike. You’ll feel physically and emotionally refreshed after every ride. (*note: SoulCycle is the only studio on this list that is not included on ClassPass.)

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Studio 360

My favorite part of Studio 360 is that after your first ride, they’ll take note of your bike settings, and set it up before your next class! Talk about customer service. Try out the Signature Series class for a solid 45 minutes of cycling followed by 20 minutes of yoga for your cool-down stretch.

swerve

Swerve

Swerve’s team atmosphere takes the technology and competition of tracking your ride, while splitting the class into three colors, that you work with for the highest score. One great thing about Swerve is the emphasis they put on riding to the beat, which not every studio does. Full amenities make me a regular here.


I’m looking to venture a little further this fall and try out Crank Cycling Studio, BYKLYN, T2 Multisport, Revolutions 55 and Torque Cycling & Fitness.

What are your favorite cycling studios in the Big Apple and across the country? Let me know and I’ll see you on a bike!

Recognizing Life’s Pace

T I M E /tīm/ noun
the indefinite continued progress of existence and events in the past, present, and future regarded as a whole.

It just hit me that time has been a common theme this summer. First, it’s been a long time since I blogged (more details on why, to come).  Second, time has flown by as it’s already the “end” of summer, with August right around the corner. Third, now that I’m in my first full-time job, time is of the essence, whether it’s remembering to do your time sheets or analyzing work-life balance.

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Honestly more as a reflection post, I’ve realized that I miss blogging and have been struggling to figure out when to fit in time to write (and read) more, for leisure.  Whatever your passions are and you enjoy doing, you need to make a priority. I love writing: I’m fortunate to write most days at work and continue to learn a lot. With that, many days I become either: burnt out and need a break of writing when I get home, so my personal projects get cut; or simply busy with plans to meet friends, head to the gym or climb into bed.

One of the most common questions that come up when strangers engage in conversation is, “What are your hobbies? What do you like to do for fun?” While this should be a simple question, it is often broad and hard to respond – yet the answer can uncover similarities between two friends and help anyone get to know each other. I don’t know how many times I’ve answered something along the lines of being so busy that I don’t have “down” time and that when I do, I’m trying to make time for friends.  Reality check: something’s got to give and I need to make time for me, doing things I enjoy – regularly. It’s not healthy to not have a hobby or something you enjoy doing.

Public Relations is a career that almost always requires a lot of hours of work and for less pay than those working similar hours on Wall Street. Other careers aren’t the same.  Whatever your field, I’ve realized that if you enjoy what you’re doing you cannot compare hours, workload or anything office related with others. Whether it’s you or your roommate who work the 9-5 job, and the other whose hours are always changing, it’s a waste of time to play the “my day was so long” card at home. No matter how many hours you work, someone will always say they had a rough day when you think yours was so much worse. When it comes to talking hours, I’d advise keeping quiet, just as is frequently the case with religion and politics.

Time moves quickly. Don’t let it pass you by. Make the most of every moment starting now; after all, your life is the indefinite progress of existence.

Reflection: Real World

Alumna. Wow, that’s what I am now. It’s only two days short of a month since I’ve graduated college and I’m off in the “real world.”

In four weeks: I’ve moved out of my college house, into my parents house (for less than a dozen days), and to a new apartment in Manhattan; I’ve gone from having a garage sale in suburbia to frequenting the subway and dodging tourists; I’ve gone from sleeping in and packing during the day to working a lot, loving/learning a new job and making the most of my weekends.

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So, is the “real world” all I thought it’d be? Honestly, who knows. That first credit card bill isn’t due until June and it won’t hit me that I don’t have class again until the fall. I lived last year in the city without a car, so it doesn’t seem strange. I will say, it’s the best feeling not studying or looking for jobs after work; my Netflix account is happily re-activated and books are getting read on my iPad again.

Even though my career has started, one thing that hasn’t wavered is my dedication to the public relations profession and networking. Less than two weeks after moving to New York, I went outside of my comfort zone and attended a PRSA New Professionals networking event – get this – alone. And guess what? I survived, got some business cards and most importantly met some really great people that make me glad to have joined the organization.

Hopefully now that I’m settling in on the East coast (maybe an understatement, since this month holds apartment searching for my next move, within the city) I will catch up on my blogging and make it a priority.

How are you starting your summer?

New York, New York – City So Nice, They Named It Twice

Top 20 Quotes & Lyrics about NEW YORK CITY

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  1. “There is something in the New York air that makes sleep useless” – Simone de Beauvoir
  2. New York is not a city, it’s a world.
  3. 3069653541_8eed4ba079_b“When you leave New York You ain’t going anywhere.” – Jimmy Breslin
  4. A bad day in New York is still better than a good day anywhere else.
  5. “New York had all the iridescence of the beginning of the world.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald
  6. “New York is a city where people are ambitious. They want things.” – Candace Bushnell
  7. “When I first moved to New York, I bought a Vogue instead of dinner. I just felt it fed me more.” – Carrie Bradshaw, Sex and the City
  8. “The New York Times, The New York Times, (extra, extra, read all about it), they say you can win anywhere, if you can win here, and you ain’t been no where if you ain’t been here, ball so hard you aint really in the game man, same place, different face, on the train, man, New York, New York” – 50 Cent & J. Cole
  9. “Make your mark in New York and you are a made man.” – Mark Twain
  10. “It is often said that New York is a city for only the very rich and the very poor. It is less often said that New York is also, at least for those of us who came there from somewhere else, a city for only the very young.” Joan Didion
  11. “Give me such shows — give me the streets of Manhattan!” – Walt Whitman
  12. The glamour of it all! New York! America!” – Charlie Chaplin
  13. “There’s something so romantic about being broke in New York. You gotta do it. You have to live there once without any money, and then you have to live there when you have money. Let me tell you, of the two, the latter is far better.” Amy Poehler
  14. “The true New Yorker secretly believes that people living anywhere else have to be, in some sense, kidding.” – John Updike3642540085_89196bb74d_b
  15. “New York is a diamond iceberg floating in river water.”
    – Truman Capote
  16. “If you’re greedy for life, that’s what New York City is all about. If you’re trying to get as much as you can everyday, this city is the place to be.” – Pam Nelson
  17. The city that never sleeps.
  18. “Concrete jungle where dreams are made of, there’s nothing you can’t do, now you’re in New York – These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you, hear it from New York, New York, New York!” – Alicia Keys
  19. “Skyscraper National Park.” – Kurt Vonnegut
  20. “You haven’t lived until you died in New York.” – Alexander Woollcott

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What quotes about New York did I miss?  Want to fall in love with the city even more? Check out these photographers:

 

Does attending a large, BIG10 school translate to conquering the big city?

The post below, was originally for Hubbell Connection‘s blog, the student-run PR agency at Michigan State University and affiliated with PRSSA.

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Some people grow up in small towns, attend small universities and stay living in their home state.  Other people grow up not knowing their entire high school graduating class, attending a university whose athletics are televised nationally and moving to the world’s largest and most diverse cities.

This summer I moved to New York City not knowing the subway system, not knowing any of my roommates, not knowing where to get groceries, not knowing which nightlife spots to go, not knowing how to find out about free city events and so much more.  I’m happy to say that I found the answers to all these questions and more.  Already going to a large school was a plus, as I’m comfortable getting to know new people, the biggest must-do.  Hopefully my general NYC tips can be applied to wherever you want to go in life and move after graduation – the world is your oyster!

Network

Tap in to your school’s alumni: Michigan State, as well as numerous other large schools, have active alumni chapters and even bars across the country.  These alumni can be a great connection for shadowing at a company you’re interested in, networking, just looking for area tips and watching the games with friends.  MSU has amazing alumni, Spartans Will.

http://www.findspark.com

Attend free or low cost workshops: FindSpark (Formerly NY Creative Interns) is a website and weekly newsletter that is always posting internship and entry-level positions as well as speaker panels, job fairs and webinars to help aspiring professionals going into communications, advertising, marketing, fashion, design, and the like.

Stay in-the-know

Since I was only interning for the summer, I didn’t lug my TV out during my move for a short time.  With no TV I was left to read the news on my laptop and watch Netflix, though at times I still felt disconnected.  Sign up for The Skimm for a quick, concise daily recap of the most important current events to know.

Have fun

Never miss a free event: The Skint blog and daily newsletter compiles almost every single thing going on in the city, each day.  It almost feels wrong finding out about so many events, for free – take advantage of the opportunities!

Use GroupOn: Obviously Groupon is a common brand, but I never actually used it that much before moving.  Once you live in a new city (or even somewhere you’re familiar with) it’s a great way to try new restaurants or weekend activities.

A la gossip girl~

xoxo,

Hanna Porterfield

@citygirlhanna

BK

Brooklyn, an obviously well-known borough of New York, continues to grow in popularity with breathtaking views of Manhattan, safe places to raise a family, charming hipster neighborhoods and outdoor markets.  Having friends in BK and so much to do, I made a few trips out there on the weekend, highlights below.

The Brooklyn Bridge

A “bucket-list” item and touristy activity, I had to walk the Brooklyn Bridge while living in NYC.  A very nice almost-6,000ft walk, the BK Bridge was built in 1883, the longest suspension bridge at the time and the first physical link between then-independent cities New York and Brooklyn.  This marked the end of the original ferry to Old Fulton Street which had been running for more than 200 years.  Today it is a National Historic Landmark and  each day more than 120,000 vehicles, 4,000 pedestrians and 3,100 cyclists cross the bridge (NYC DOT – nyc.gov).  I recommend walking toward Brooklyn in the afternoon for daytime views and toward Manhattan at night for the skyline of lights. Also be sure to hangout in the beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park.

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Grimaldi’s Pizza

One of those “Best” in New York pizzas, one really must experience Grimaldi’s.  With a daily line down the sidewalk expect to wait at least an hour, but it will be worth it.  Tips are to go with only one other person (you’ll get seated before larger parties) or ask to sit at the bar if you want to wait less.

Brooklyn Ice Cream Factory

Quality, homemade ice cream made in small batches at only two locations.  If you walk the Brooklyn Bridge you can stop by the original location which is in an old fireboat house on the Fulton Ferry Pier right next to the Brooklyn Bridge Park.

Brooklyn Brewery

Though I haven’t made it yet, the Brooklyn Brewery is on my to-do list!  They offer tours Monday-Thursday, happy hour Friday, and weekend tours. The BB was founded in 1988 and is currently distributed in 25 states and 20 countries.

Smorgasburg

A foodie’s heaven.  Every Saturday at East River State Park in Willamsburg and Sunday at the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park’s waterfront in Dumbo there are 75-100 vendors with more packaged and prepared food choices than you’ll be able to process.  Go hungry, and don’t let the weather keep you away – they’re open no matter what and I went in the rain, still worth it!

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Beaches

If you’re looking for a nice, decent beach and only leaving Manhattan for a few hours, head to Brighton Beach conveniently on the Q line.  I wouldn’t recommend Coney Island if you’re going to lay out, but to see the historic amusement park rides/carnival-type fun, definitely!  Worth the trip to ride the famous Cyclone wooden roller coaster, the Wonder Wheel and to eat a hot dog at Nathan’s Famous. It’s old-fashioned fun that will have you feeling like a kid for the day.

The High Line

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It’s not in every city that you can walk on old railroad tracks 30 feet above the street.  While afternoons are often crowded along the highline, the unique experience is pretty cool.  I’ve done it more than once as it’s a nice outing with friends, a cheap date, or when family visits.  Running through Chelsea and the Meatpacking District you can stroll through the Chelsea Market or relax at the south end at the Biergarden at The Standard. There’s even views of Avenue Nightclub and Artichoke Pizza, as mentioned in my last post.

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View of Avenue Nightclub and Artichoke Pizza from The High Line

View of Avenue Nightclub and Artichoke Pizza from The High Line

Plan your walk and check out maps here.

Sunglasses & Advil, last night was mad real: NYC Nightlife

The city that never sleeps is an understatement.  Experiencing true New York City nightlife means you will probably be going home when the sun is rising, at least a few times.  There is also a stereotypically high chance that majority of guys out are investment bankers and fashion girls will be sipping a vodka cranberry, which they didn’t pay for.  If you’re lucky you’ll be popping champagne delivered with sparklers and dancing on the bar in the best city in the world.

These are a few (well it actually turned into a decent list) of my favorite places I went, though everyone knows there’s hundreds more I didn’t include.

Clubs

Nothing short of extravagant, Lavo Nightclub is sure to be full of its fair share of international bachelors and house music

My personal favorite club, Marquee is the place to be on Wednesdays.  A large space with swanky couches, flashy lights and a good mix of private tables and dance floor you can also overlook the excitement disco-ball level from the second-level balcony.  Hosted by famous DJs, a memorable night out I danced to Afrojack’s set.

Literally what looks like a hole-in-the wall during the day is one of the city’s classiest places to party.  If you can handle it, start your week off with a Monday night at Avenue, one of its most popular nights.  A frequent hot spot for celebrity sightings and great DJs you’ll be sure to be smiling the next morning at work, no matter how tired you are.  Conveniently located next to Artichoke Pizza (see below).

If you want everyone to know where you were and probably wake up with evidence, head to Riff Raff’s.  There’s no way you won’t have a good time, when being marked with their signature tribal paint on your face.

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If it’s already Thursday and you still don’t want a clubbing break for the bars, take the elevator to the top for panoramic views of the Meatpacking district at Catch.

With two locations on both Park Ave. and Meatpacking, the rooftops of the Gansevoort hotels offer you the best views of Manhattan.

Bars & Beer Gardens

If you’re looking for a chill, fun spot to hang with friends check out the biergarden at The Standard hotel.  Packed with tables, a photo booth and a few ping pong tables, it’s perfect for summer.

Part of the South Street Seaport, Beekman’s is the ultimate place for after-work drinks with it’s lounge couches and laid-back atmosphere.  Stay until dark for a gorgeous view of the Brooklyn Bridge and its lights reflecting on the water.

Just another bar in Lower East Side, Hair of the Dog is the place to go if you want to dance and drink beer.  Overall good time and good crowd.

If you’re interning or just a graduate missing college dive bars, head to Turtle Bay.  Packed with a young crowd, $1 beer Wednesdays and pong tables in back be prepared for a wild night.

Let’s just say that S & I planned to come here for an early drink before meeting up with friends, and never left.  With signature fishbowls in 3 flavors and a diverse crowd I wish I would’ve gone here more all summer.

Located on Pier 66, The Frying Pan is a huge hangout right on the Hudson River.  Fun with friends, coworkers and even a casual date.

I only went here once, but with a prime location in East Village, The Penny Farthing is a decent bar stop during your night out.

While this was never my favorite bar, I thought I’d include it because it’s still an alright place to grab a drink if you don’t have anything else to do – and the line is long for a full house every night.

This small, Lower East Side bar is a pretty good time as its namesake.  Presuming there aren’t too many creepy dudes, the back dance room is a good time.  The bouncers will mark your arm with a “NO FUN” stamp, which is ironic to see a few hours later, after having FUN.  Be sure to talk to the owner as well, an awesome guy from Ireland.

Not a bar, but rather a sushi restaurant with unlimited sushi and sake bombs.  Yes, I did just say unlimited.  Look forward to making friends with neighboring tables as everyone will be doing the same deal you are for a rowdy 2 hours. Cash only.

A must-include on my list as it’s one of the bars for Michigan State watch parties. Spartans in a crowd are a guaranteed good time, and New York is a good time, so put the two together and it’s the best.

I can’t sing whatsoever, but going to Sing Sing with friends is a great time and you’ll definitely have hilarious videos to watch the next few days.

So their happy hour before 8pm is BOGO drinks and after 8pm is half-off bottles of wine.  Need I say more?

Not actually a bar, this Mexican restaurant needs to be included on the list because of its cheap, strong margaritas. Frozen, on the rocks or as a bulldog, you’ll be overwhelmed by the choices and having a great time with friends here…not to mention the sauce on their chicken tacos is to die for.

Where I need to go still

Just a few places I meant to make it to, and haven’t yet.  Comment with your own suggestions, as the city has endless places to explore!

  • LE BAIN
  • SOUTHSIDE
  • SL
  • 1OAK
  • PH-D
  • SPIN  – (I don’t actually know a lot about here, except that they liked one of my photos on Instagram, and once I checked out their feed it looked like a lot of fun!)

Transportation of choice for going out: UBER!  Download the app to hail a car to pick you up wherever, and be charged later.  Or better yet, find someone else who uses Uber to catch a ride so you can be rolling up to your next spot in a sylish black Escalade with tinted windows, an attractive driver and music blasting.

And the best food for your late-night cravings:

The best $5 you will ever spend for a huge slice of thick, delicious pizza.  You must try the famous artichoke pizza.  It’s so good, don’t be surprised if you find yourself in a cab to one of their 3 locations, even if you weren’t anywhere nearby earlier in the evening.  Late-night employees are always funny, and following @ArtichokePizza on Instagram will have you craving a piece of their pie every day.

The best hot dog you will ever eat. Ignore people’s comments about how “gross” hot dogs are, and go taste what the King makes.   Dozens of specialty franks as well as amazing fries and smoothies.  My order of choice: “Pig in da Blanket” (hot dog with bacon, cheese and onion) and curly fries with cheese and jalapenos.

Though I didn’t actually order food here, it’s the famous spot from “When Harry Met Sally” and has tons of tables and photos of history all over the walls.  Worth stopping by.

  • Any 24-hour Bagel Place

If you don’t get a true New York bagel now, guarantees you’ll need it in the morning when you stroll outside to get an iced coffee from Dunkin’ Donuts.

Elements of City Life

A couple weeks ago I went for a walk along the Hudson River by myself, at dusk and watched the sunset.  It was so relaxing, photographing everything and just sitting and thinking.  While I was staring out at the water trying not to think about leaving, I thought of a few reasons why I love New York City and cities in general.  I wrote down some thoughts in my phone and they are below.  Not really structured, yet not really poetic, it just reflects the beauty to be found within Manhattan when some people think of beauty only in nature.

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Stars in the sky? I might see them less but we still got the moon.  And city lights just might be better.

Lakes? How about looking across the Hudson River or the East River?  The water reflects the sun just the same and glistens in the waves.

Trees? Plenty to enjoy in Central Park, on the boardwalks along the West Side Highway, or on a rooftop where you can sip your favorite beverage.

Trails to walk, wander and get lost?  There’s the streets of Manhattan for that.

Welcome to the Concrete Jungle.

Photo: Canon Rebel T3.