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Articles by: Tommaso vaccarella & Tommaso galletta

  • Life & People

    Two Italian Teens Experience the New York Summer

    We have been in New York for a month and since unfortunately our experience here is going to finish this week, we decided to write this article as a guide for all the teenagers who are going to visit New York for a long period. Many people, especially our peers, thought that our departure was a little hasty for our age, because living in a flat in New York is not so easy.

    Living in an apartment implies lots of things that you can’t even image when you stay in your home with your parents, because housework is not of your concern. It was not easy to look for ourselves and be so indipendent all of the sudden but we did learn a lot from this experience. Housework, however, was just a small part of our vacation, because we spent the whole rest of the time enjoying ourselves.

    We decided to recount you can enjoy the city h24, and we will do so by diving the day into four different moments: morning, afternoon, evening and night.

    The morning is the cultural part of the day,  as it is known that NY is the world’s capital for everything new in the culture and art fields and hosts every kind of musuems,  from modern art one to the museum of sex or sport. We visited them not only to learn but also to have fun, given that we met there many young people from all over the world who were participating to summer exchange programs

    From this point of view the most interesting  museum was the MoMA, which offers not only a wide range of art exhibits but is also fashinating for its interior design and the numerous attractions he offers to the public, including interactive games, which constitute a great opportunity to meet new people.

    The cultural part does not only include museums: visiting Manhattan makes you feel like touring an open-air museaum, with its breath-taking skyline, Central Park and Soho, the neighborhood that maybe hostes the largest number of art galleries in the city.

    Lunchtime is often just a quick break for those newyorkers who spend their weekday at the office. On Sunday morning most of them, however, try to wake up at a "decent" hour after the crazy Saturday night, to enjoy a good Brunch, the traditional weekend meal that combines breakfast and lunch.

    Most of the restaurants in the city have a Brunch menu, so you have several options to choose from, and pick a place in the Upper East Side or in the Village, at last Meatpacking District or in Chelsea. We have been to Pastis, in the Meatpacking District, and we had a great experience having a meal that in Italy we could never get. 

    Afternoons offer lots of things to do just as well. During the week you can go shopping in Midtown, or on Fifth Ave, an area where you can find several boutique of the most exclusive labels and big malls like Bloomingdale’s. Another area where you can go is SoHo, which is less known by tourists and where you can find great deals and the most attractive shopwindows in town.

    During the weekend it is nice to visit Central Park in the afternoon because it's quite and relaxing. You just need a ball or a frisbie to enjoy a few hours of complete relax in New York's largest green spot. Central Park also offers many romantic spots that have become famous thanks to Hollywood movies, where couples can go walking holding hands while enjoying the rare beauty of the numerous lakes of the park.
    Besides being the most well-know restaurant located in the Park, the Loeb Boathouse rents out boats to those who want to sail the lakes. 

    Before dinner we advice you to have a happy hour or  in one of the thousands of bar the city offers you. Depending on the zone it’s possible to find the best for you, choosing from Midtown, the area that attracts more tourists of all,  or the Greenwich Village with its many beautiful bars crowded with musicians and artists or the Meatpacking District, which in the last few years has been attracting more and more young New Yorkers

    Being New York an international city, you have a wide choice of where to go. There are restaurants for any kind of food and you only have to choose the best  and try a different cuisine every night. The classic American dinner is, of course, the hamburger that you can find of any size and with any side. We tried the Jackson Hole burger, which has been the best one ate in NY for us. We have been also to the River Café, a trendy and elegant place to choose for a special occasion and where to enjoy an amazing view of the NY skyline.

    After dinner it’s time for nightlife... we experienced why New York is called “the city that never sleeps”. The city lights accompany you till the sunrise, supermarkets are open 24/7, people are around at every hour and the city seems to never stop.

    If you want to have a drink with friends you should go to the East Village, where you can find at every corner a crowded pub where to play billiard or just chat. If you like live music the Greenwich Village is your place. Here there are plenty o live jazz and blues bars where to enjoy the night listening to fantastic music. The west side of Manhattan is the clubs and discos area, crowded with trendy bars and amazing rooftops. The area is called the Meatpacking District, a crowded place where people are always moving and looking for the coolest club.

    Obviously it’s not easy to get into the clubs if you are not 21, but sometimes the bouncers don’t ask you for your I.D.. The times that they actually ask you for it, you better have an expedient...

    Our recount of our staying in Manhattan ends here with the hope that this article has been helpful for other young people who want to spend a long time on their own in the big city of New York...

  • Events: Reports

    The Italian Team at Copa NYC. A Fast Defeat, but a Great Debut

    Soccer is a global sport: it’s simple and loved by children and adults from all over the world. We all followed the last World Cup in South Africa, and among us many celebrated bus also many cried, there were champs and losers.
    While for the rest of the world the soccer summer was over on July 11, for us in New York it had just started with the COPA NYC, whose motto was not by case “The World Cup Is Not Over”.

    Soccer is a sport that is becoming increasingly popular in the U.S. also thanks to the arrival of some European stars like David Beckham and more recently Thierry Henry. American folks now go to the stadium more often and throughout the national territory you can find many more soccer fields than before. On weekends, indeed, neighborhood public parks are crowded with people that not only play basket but also soccer.

    Since 2009 Copa NYC gives the opportunity to foreign communities living within the urban borders to build their own soccer team and to challenge other teams of different ethnicities, just as in the World Cup. This year also an Italian team participated to the tournament.

    COPA NYC took place at Pier 40, by the river, on the South-West side of Manhattan. It was a great location for the event for the many and beautiful soccer fields built there and the many stands available for the public attending. Supporters of every nationality being represented sang songs and encouraged the team players.

    We attended the first three matches of the Italian team on June 24, and a soft breeze coming from the river releaved us from the high humidity of that hot summer day. There were not the best weather conditions for a soccer match...

    There was a great atmosphere all around us. Players, supporters, men and women, children and adults... it was a feast of joyous songs, horns, and hymns...
    You could see how the teams were very involved in the tournament, the competition was very high and the players really seemed intentioned to use all thei talent to defeat the opponents.

     
    Argentinian and the Mexican fans were with no doubt the most numerous and noisy, they sang and shouted lout while blowing the thrumpets... Their hundreds of flags of different sizes gave the field a colourful background

    The Italians gathered in a small part of the stadium, they were less than the others but still made their voice heard. They were less organized maybe because this was the first time for them at the Copa NYC and they hadn't realized that the tournament is followed by the supporters of the other teams with strong passion and attention. 

    The participating teams were made of non professional players and this gave  everybody the opportunity to play more or less at the same level.

    Some of the teams found it very hard to play three matches a day, expecially those with the older players who felt more than the other the fatigue of several hours of running in the hot weather. The Italian team was among them and in fact it did not even pass the first selection.

    And it was a pity, because there were many expectations on it due to the long athletic training the players went through and to the visible talent of some of the players.

    The beginning of the Italian adventure was very encouraging because of the victory against the Brazilian team, one of the most attended matches because of the historical rivalry between the two teams in the real World Cup.  The exceptionally skilled Italian and Brazilian players played a great match with important turning points like the Italian goal and the red card received by an Italian defensor. This made the final victory a great success because of the spirit of sacrifice the Italian players had in the second half keeping the advantage till the end.

    The other two matches were not as exciting because the players tired.
    Italy played against Greece immediately after the first match and during the second half the Italian players were not able to maintain the same level of the previous game. The final score was 2-0, so a great victory for the Greece team. Also the last match against the England team resulted in a defeat, and to the final elimination of the Italian team.

    After all it wasn’t so much of a negative start for the Italian team that participated to the tournament for the first time this year: they showed to be talented players with a great team spirit. 

  • Events: Reports

    From Italy to New York and Back. Our First Experience with the American Giglio Feast

    The Giglio feast is one of the greatest Italian events in Brooklyn, NY, featuring an authentic mix of music, food and religion from the old country.

    It's a fantastic opportunity for all kinds of people, children, adults and teenagers, to have a great time joining the different activities organized during the event; to feel the taste of traditional food like sausages, zeppole and calzone; and to learn something about the religious message behind the symbol of the Giglio

    The Feast finds its origins at the start of the 20th century when people coming from the little village of Nola, near Naples,  moved to Brooklyn and settled down  in Williamsburg, the neighborhood that hosted the highest number of Italians and Italian-Americans at that time

    The Giglio feast has a very important religious meaning, since it is a homage to Saint Paolino of Nola who put his life at risk to save his people in 409AD. His heroic gesture is still remembered nowadays in different areas of NYC, where he is celebrated every year.

    In his honor the participants to Williamsburg's Giglio Feast carry a an hand-sculptured tower dedicated to Saint Paolino and the Lady of Saint Carmel along the streets of Williamsburg.

    Aside of this religious aspect, the feast is renowned to be a great enterntainment moment for all kinds of people, being them children or adults, Italian or not. The event has somehow changed as years passed by also due to the increasing participation of people who are not of Italian origin, but are still able to enjoy this unique atmosphere.

    The feast takes place on a main street of Williamsburg, where stands offering typical Italian food alternate with game stalls where one can win handmade Italian figurines and items.
     

    In the stands one can find every kind of merchandise, from t-shirts featuring images of Italy and the Giglio feast to typical homemade Italian cigars called "Toscanelli".

     
    All the vendors that we met were not only nice to talk to and kind, but were also of Italian origins. Although many of them have never visited Italy, they all showed  great pride for their cultural background

    Most of the Italian-Americans attending originated from Southern Italy, expecially from Calabria, Sicily and Puglia, being that during the first half of the XX century poverty brought their anchestors to move to the US in search of a better life, and many of them fortunately found it and remained here.   

    All the people we talked to were of a very kind and outgoing nature, which is very typical of Italians, and accepted to answer to some of our questions.

    The greatest number of them found this last edition better than the others, both because the feast got bigger and also because it attracted more people than the avarage. Also the stands were somehow more attractive and offered a better variety of foods and merchandises.
     

    We interviewed people from Italy or of Italian origin but also Americans that were there just to have fun. We met Francesco, an old Italian man who moved to Brooklyn 50 years ago. He told us how the feast has changed in the last years, attracting a more consistent international public. Matilda, whose grandparents moved to NY when still very young, told us how she feels proud of her origins even if she doesn't speak italian and she's never visited Italy.  Francis was having lots of fun at the feast. She told us that nowadays more and more Americans, expecially those who live in Brooklyn and Manhattan, go to Williamsburg during the feast to enjoy the activities, the food and all the joious atmosphere this event offers.

    We definitely encourage you to attend the celebrations and experience live the Italian life style that can still be found in Brooklyn.  Just take the L train and jump in the heart of Nola... you have time until July 18, hurry up!