Humans Of City Tech

“Robotic Mannequin: Roboquin (SInce a female robot you can also call it a RoboQueen!!)

It is an interactive robot mannequin initially intended to be used in fashion industry, but later decided on also being used in classrooms especially in a linear algebra course or a computer programming course. The interactive robotic mannequin or Roboquin can be used as a greeter in a shopping mall, can be used to display clothing and jewelry and the customers willing to buy don’t even have to hunt for the price tag or what sizes and colors are available as the Roboquin could be pre-programmed to be able to say all those details as soon as it senses people around it (with the help of motion sensors). This will lead to an enthusiasm among the customers and probably they would go to the stores that  has this mannequin initially just to have a look at it, and perhaps end up buying a lot of stuff from there, which is obviously very much beneficial for the store owner and worth buying $200 Roboquin as opposed to the expensive $3000 available in the Japanese and Korean market.

Since it is made out of materials available off the shelf, it is pretty affordable to have them in several multidisciplinary courses. Once we are able to implement the image recognition feature into Roboquin, it can be placed in the classes and perhaps when Roboquin senses students are not paying attention and dozing off in the back benches it might make some noise to wake them up and explain them how was this amazing Roboquin built and tell them if they pay enough attention to the class, they will be able  to build something of that sort  soon. This will help students to have more interactive classes and infuse a lot of enthusiasm and they will see practical applications of the classes they are taking which might have seemed very abstract and vague to them.”

young woman with glasses and braided hair, standing in front of an academic posterRumana Hassin Syed

The Big Duck: Part One

For a two-week special edition to my historical architecture theme, I decided to deviate from my initial plans of staying within the boundaries of the five boroughs of New York City. Instead, I have made a crucial decision to focus on a landmark housed practically on the tip of Long Island (near the Hamptons) by name of The Big Duck. This monumental building was very important to modern architecture (which years range from the 1800’s to the early 2000’s) since it possibly could have been the beginning of a major style in the 1980’s, called Post-Modernism. Personally when I think of the beginning of Post-Modernism, I think of the infamous married architectural duo, Robert Venturi and Denise Scott-Brown. This couple was like the Mom and Dad of this movement since they practically created it and were the key figures in making it popular.

There’s an architectural philosophy that many modern architects, as well as in many other professions of the design world, strongly applied to their work, “Less is more…” by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. This is a term commonly used in describing modern architecture since it was more common for structures to be honest and functional, leaving elaborate exterior adornments in the past. Venturi later coined his own term, “Less is a bore…” meaning that we should bring back some of the characteristics that we have already parted with; in a dire attempt to reestablish personality in structures since he thought that every building looked identical and they all took the form of boxes.

After Venturi and Scott-Brown traveled in various parts of America they noticed something, a trend. They found that roadside attraction businesses were something to be studied and analyzed. They found them to be the most honest pieces of architecture since they were not hiding what they were selling or what they truly were. They created their chain of analytics by using a structure called the Big Duck. The Big Duck is a 1930’s house that was built to sell duck influenced items to the driving public. People would drive by this oversized duck and want to pull over since they know what they are selling and what they were expected to purchase. From this Long Island distributor is where most people in 1932-1984 bought the infamous Pekin Duck and specialty items like duck eggs. They appreciated the different form of honesty and started basing their other structures on this billboard building. Others started to formulate their work on this philosophy and it soon became a trend. Which gives us buildings like The Longaberger Company building which literally  looks like an oversized basket.

Even if certain parts of these buildings didn’t have any structural or operational reasoning, it was still considered important since it had stylistic necessity.

Tune in next week to see more of the historical side of the Big Duck now that I have explained why I find it so interesting that something so architecturally important is housed in New York.

Virtues from Motherhood: Time is a slippery creature

I talk about time often, how quickly it passes or how it doesn’t stop for any of us, but I come back to this idea because time and time again it’s proven to be so very true. When I was younger I saw my late 20s as this big gaping whole in the vortex of time that marked the end of life as I knew it. I didn’t think life happened after 30 or that you could still chase your goals that long. Well now a few years off of 30 I realize I may have missed the mark. Time is what you make of it, time is what you put into the cause and time is evasive and it hides from us even though we know its there and we feel it moving.

I think we’re all worried about running out of time and we’re not totally incorrect because time is not infinite but we need to stop watching the clock and start living the hours on it. The past decade of my life has been eventful to say the least and there are instances now where I wish I’d made better use of my time in the past, but I’m making up for that now.

Every single one of us gets the same amount of hours, the same hands on the clock, yet some of us seem to struggle with getting a handle on the days, months and years. Though we can’t touch time we can make it work for us, make it count, make it valuable. 2016 to me feels like a year of elusive and wasted hours, hours I spent preoccupied and distraught over things I knew how to overcome. So I challenge my readers this, what thing did you waste the most time on in 2016 and what will you do to fix it in 2017?

Academic-Self Discovery: Programs, Clubs and More

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear”- Jack Canfield.

I’ve touched on this subject before but fear is something that can often cause miss opportunities. It might hold one back and make them doubt themselves and/or their goals. When it comes to me, I get really anxious and start talking myself out of things I will want do, however what I have found helps me to combat fear is taking those chances anyway. Some of the ways I do this is by joining and taking part in things that spark my interest, for example writing.

Writing makes me realize that the experience gained when not letting fear get in the way is greater than letting those chances go by. Writing is a great form of expression for me and it is a way of connecting, so finding out about cool events or projects (Literary Arts Festival, Seek Ink and The Buzz) that deal with writing, I knew I had to put myself out tbere. To which I endes up glad that I did because they helped me challenge my craft and encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone.

The possibilities of exhibiting your skills are endless. There are opportunities in schools and online. If one were to prefer starting with something less out there, I would suggest joining clubs or workshops at their school. This works well because it allows the output of creativity as well as learning and sharing from their fellow club members. While if someone is more comfortable with the thought of participating locally, looking online for projects, contests or residencies could be the way to go. There are a myriad of sites that have programs one can apply for. This can be a stepping stone for their career or be something that looks great on their resume.

Here are some sites you can check out-

Artist Residency Program

I think it is important for someone to take a chance and put themselves out there, despite fears and doubts. The outcome will do more to benefit them in the long run.

NYC Women’s March

The NYC Women’s March of 2017 was one of the most powerful, inspirational, and emotional events I’ve ever been a part of. I was one in a crowd of about 300,000 women, men, and children, which was only a small fraction of the millions simultaneously marching around the world. From young children holding powerful signs to grown women wearing hand-made uterus hats, this march was unlike anything I’ve ever seen before. People were angry, but amongst all the marching and yelling, it was very peaceful, and even more prideful. History was made, voices were unapologetically heard, and I was lucky enough to capture some moments. This weekend was so mentally and emotionally taxing that I had to turn my phone off for a couple of days to decompress (I’m an introvert). Here are some of the photos.


tall, ornate, white building entrance with crowd of protesters two men holding up a young girl; protest sign says "MAKE AMERICA KIND AGAIN" a man wearing a manila-envelope hat that says "I'M WITH HER" protesters with sign that says "LEFT OR RIGHT WE CAN ALL SEE WRONG"

Senator Chuck Schumer protesting

Sen. Chuck Schumer in the trenches.

NYC Restaurant Week

Have you ever wanted to dine in an expensive restaurant…a Michelin star restaurant? Have you ever wanted to eat like royalty? Have you ever wanted to eat at a fine dining restaurant for a reduced price? Well, now’s the time that you can because it officially Restaurant Week in New York City. Restaurant Week has become a phenomenon for both mid-summer and mid-winter in New York in which it captivates the culinary world to share the inexpensive costs of normally financially exuberant meals. The entirely of Restaurant Week is to enable restaurants to create better sales for their business by offering more affordable prices in order to encourage more customers to dine at their restaurants. It helps restaurants to evoke their culinary skills to customers that under other conditions would not be able to purchase these gourmet meals. It also helps to increase foot traffic when it is a slow time of year for business.

It is nationwide event that takes place all over America but is widely appreciated in New York for its constant expansion of food. Restaurant Week in New York has already begun on January 23rd and will run until February 10th. It is being offered in over thirty-five neighborhoods with over three hundred eighty-five. There are so many restaurants that are a part of this special culinary-inspired week that the options are endless. With a vast variety of cuisines and culinary styles, there are so many choices to decide to dine. The discounts are eligible only on weekdays excluding Saturdays, although certain restaurants will include their discounts on Sundays. It works based on a prix-fixe menu which is usually a three-course meal that is set a fixed price with a few options. The three courses consist of an appetizer, an entrée, and a dessert. The reduced prices apply for both lunch and dinner; the lunch prix-fixe menu costs only $29 while the dinner prix-fixe menu costs only $42.

You can make reservations on OpenTable and on NYCGo as well as browse the restaurants that are participating in Restaurant Week. There is also a chance to win a $50 gift card to go towards your next meal for any of the participating restaurants when you snap photographs of your prix-fixe meal and post it to Instagram with the hashtag, #NYCRestaurantWeek, daily through the entirety of Restaurant Week.

Comment below if you would be interested in dining at any of the participating restaurants for New York City’s Restaurant Week or if you have in the past.

Diary of a Former Nomad: Adjusting Pains

Life happens pretty much whether you like it or not. It’s the worst feeling having to adjust to the same situation over and over again whether it be heartbreaks, disappointments, failures, and the list goes on and on. The hardest part of these events in life is what happens next. How we choose to pick ourselves up is what sort of defines us. Between you and me, my hearts been broken one too many times but I always seem to find my way back. It’s harder each time but I never imagined it would be any easier. It may be a New Year but for some people they are still facing pains and aches of the past and putting these pains behind  might be the only way to see 2017. If this is you here are 5 steps that I have taken when it comes to adjusting any to painful situation.


Step 1: Begin Accepting What Has Happened

You can never move on from any painful event in your life if you cannot accepted what has happened. The first step in moving forward is coming to grips with what has happened. Begin to pick up the pieces and accept the fact that what has happened is not something you can change any longer. Each day tell yourself that although it is hard it will not feel this way forever.

Step 2 : Build a Support System

Nothing in life is ever easy to get through alone. In finding yourself back to a better space and a better you it is important to build a system of people who support you and encourage growth within you. For those who are hesitant to opening up to friends or family now may be the perfect time to let them in and allow them to help you fix what is broken.

Step 3 : Avoid Reliving the Memories

Now is not the best time to be walking down memory lane. It is best to put the past where it belong and keep looking forward. Invest your time in making new memories and building a better you. Looking back will only keep you from seeing the great things that are possible for the future.

Step 4 : Invest in Yourself

After any traumatic event in life we are at our lowest point but we can only go up from there. When the grayness of the days have passed and you begin to see yourself for the strong person you are  take the time to pour more of your time into yourself. Put yourself first and never look back!

Step 5 : Learn From it All

Everything happens for a reason or so I’d like to tell myself. Whenever something disappointing happens it is important for us not to bury it away but take the time to learn from it. Realize why it went wrong and take the lessons learned and move forward with it. Remember don’t take the event with you but what you gained from it.

The City of Brighter Lights

Continuing on from my previous blog post last week, New York is in for some major things this year. Starting with the opening of Phase 1 of the Second Avenue train station and next “lighting up the bridges and tunnels”.


New York, known as the Empire State of Mind but also the city of bright lights is in for a even brighter future! By the end of this month … now … the bridges across the city will be lit in bright colors representing different holidays/events and more just as the Empire State Building does!

bridge over water with light reflections

Image taken by: Jen Chung


Governor Cuomo’s New York Crossings project includes the seven – (7) MTA operated bridges in addition to the two -(2) tunnels and the George Washington Bridge which is operated by both the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.. With cities like Jacksonville Florida, whom already have lit bridges.


Below you will find a youtube video with a clear demonstration on the state’s plan.


bridge over water, lit in blue

Photo taken by: Sherri Jackson


The Flatiron Building

On the opposite side of Madison Square Park is the pinnacle of the Flatiron district in Lower Manhattan. Built in 1902, it remains a major tourist spot for its oddly picturesque features. Back in a time where skyscrapers were virtually unheard of, New Yorkers thought that it was impossible to have a structure amount to that particular grandeur of height. Although the building is only 22 stories high and doesn’t really seem to be very tall compared to other, more contemporary, skyscrapers, The Flatiron Building was quite baffling for the people of that time.

The 307 foot building was built by a Chicago native, Daniel Burnham. He was born in New York and raised in Chicago. As most of us can empathize with, he didn’t start out his career as some noble architect who was extremely dedicated to becoming an amazing mentor and creator of beautiful structures all over the world. His story began with failed attempts of admission to Harvard and Yale then to unsteady career decisions until the opportunity of architecture came along; almost like he was called to the drafting table, the urban civilization needing him to be a part of something great, something that would eventually be historical and loved. He would eventually be trained under a remarkable Chicago architect, William Le Baron Jenney; he shared this incomparable experience with other great historical figures of the modern era like Louis Sullivan and Martin Roche.

Upon the completion of the Flatiron Building, some New Yorkers fell in a complete and utter dislike with the skyscraper and others were amazed. With the wonky angular building, people were concerned with the possibility of it falling; structures weren’t meant to be that tall and look so unstable on a 25 degree angle base. Eventually they learned to accept the building; it wasn’t going to fall down like so many thought, it actually became an attraction, another reason to come to New York.

Burnham should be a symbol for all of us; that sometimes life doesn’t go your way but it doesn’t mean that you’re not destined for greatness. Maybe people won’t notice how great you are now, but we all have the potential to be or do something significant. Sometimes it’s the “Burnham’s Follies” in life that can completely change and enrich your life.

Virtues from Motherhood: Look back sometimes

Often we’re told that we should never look back, that the windshield is larger than the rear view mirror because the best is ahead of us and not behind. While I agree to an extent that you can’t revisit the past, sometimes in order to keep moving forward we need to peek into the past. It’s easy to feel lost or restless when the present is clouded with smoke and mirrors and trying to decipher the path ahead of you seems impossible. Sometimes it feels like our world is caving in and the road beneath us is falling away, so what’s a girl to do?

Last week I was looking through some old pictures from the 90’s and laughing about how funny my hair looked or how outrageous my clothes were, but then it hit me. Those photos were a trail of a live lived, of memories, of things that weave directly into the fabric of who I am. Granted I’m sure outside of those gleeful snapshots there were some bad times or some unhappy memories, but I didn’t save those. While I’m sure anyone can recall the first time they fell off a bike or lost a friend the trail didn’t end there. The stream of pictures and keepsakes didn’t stop when we hit a snag in the road, though it may have felt like it at the time.

2016 was a rough year for me; I’m considered naming my end of year video montage “The Year of Perpetual Ls” (LOL), but all jokes aside the last 10 or so months have really tried me as a person. In a sense I just put myself into auto pilot mode and just went through the motions, work, school, home and repeat. I felt like I lost a grip on who I was and what made me tick and it was infuriating when I put so much energy into rebuilding myself three years ago. I felt like a turtle because not only did I feel like I was moving in slow motion but all I wanted to do was hide inside my shell. Going anywhere seemed like a huge ordeal that I had next to no interest in and being around large groups of people started giving me anxiety. For someone who’d spent summers and weekends before out gallivanting and being social it was a 180 but a rare few noticed. So I figured maybe it was in my head until I did a digital walk down memory lane, I scrolled through my library and my Instagram and realized how empty it was compared to a year ago when pictures from just a few weeks ago got buried very quickly.

Don’t get me wrong alone time and being frugal with your money and your time isn’t a bad thing at all, it was just a change of character for me. I realize it’s a lot easier said than done in a lot of cases because I’ve read my blog posts and thought, take your own advice dummy. So I’m going to do just that, or try to, as the New Year approaches I’m going to make a priority list and try to stick to it. I want to try new things and go places while I balance the things I’m responsible before. Most importantly though, I’m going to try and stop allowing grief and loss to eat me alive. I know that grief is a process and there are stages and I know that it takes time, but sometimes it attempts to linger too long and I need to stop allowing it. I know it is a tad bit earlier for resolutions but I want to start breaking bad habit now and this will be the first. What will you try?