The High Line

The High Line, many people know about it and some of its history but it’s more than an old railroad, it’s an elevated public park overlooking Manhattan’s gems of the city. Apart from that amazing futuristic outlook of space, it is also very ecologically sustainable since it is essentially a recycled use of space which is the most eco-friendly aspect of the entire park. Since Manhattan is severely structurally dense the thought of having a public park elevated using air space instead of land space is a simple and clever way to resourcefully utilize New York City’s space.

In the year of 1929 the idea of a central railroad on the west side of Manhattan along with the West Side highway was proposed by Robert Moses. The costly project was carried out and by 1934 freight trains began to use the railway. The route was essentially tailored for heavy deliveries to major factories and such; like the NABISCO factory (which is now Chelsea Market, that I had mentioned last week). By the mid 1980’s, trains stopped using the railway entirely; it had served its purpose for 46 years, throughout the depression and the departure of the NABISCO company (also as I stated last week). At this point in time, the High Line faced the risk of being demolished; it wasn’t being used anymore and was a waste of much needed space. In 1999 the Friends of the High Line formed and started fundraising to rebuild the line as a park; its purpose became apparent as drought-resistant weeds and other plants began to sprout, taking over the railroad. After getting the railway disconnected from the main railroad, they began landscaping it in 2006 with the help of James Corner’s Field Operations, re-building it with help from architects, Diller Scofidio + Renfro, and garden design from Piet Oudolf. Many more helped with this project as it opened in parts; Phase I opened in 2009, Phase II opened in 2011, and Phase III opened in 2014, the High Line in entirety opened in 2015.

Currently the park sustains different parts of life in New York City; it contributes as homes for animals and other nature, it is a tourist attraction, and the park’s infamous qualities and heavy foot traffic easily makes it the focal point of establishments or residential housing that reside alongside the railway. Along the way I saw a plethora of cafes, hotels, and other eateries advertising themselves with the High Line; like Highline Pizzeria, Underline Coffee, and The High Line Hotel. There are also major architectural developments that are taking and have taken place juxtaposed the High Line, giving the people inside the building a view of the High Line and the park-goers a view inside the architectural world of that person’s office or dwelling. If you have been on the High Line, you’ve probably seen the Neil Denari apartment building; through the windows you can see how the residents made the apartment a home by decorating the windows with “kid drawings”.  Another new structure that is in the process of being built is a building by infamous female architect, Zaha Hadid. Seeing it in person for the first time shocked me. I had forgotten about the construction of her first residential building in New York City. The building is very close to being completed. Although, Hadid will not be able to see it due to her unfortunate death last year, I feel like it enriches the High Line and vice versa.

If you are ever up for a 1.5 mile walk try out the High Line. Take in the nature and the surroundings; green space is highly valued in New York City since we rarely see it.

Neil Denari’s Residence building is framed within other buildings (pictured towards the back).

Zaha Hadid’s High Line Condominium

Virtues from Motherhood: You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be

Have you ever caught your reflection in a passing car or store window? Have you ever gotten lost in thought and wondered how you got where you stand today and think back to those pivotal moments you’re sure changed the course of events in your life? Yeah, me too. It’s crazy to think how quickly we made those choices in the heat of the moment and how big they impacted our lives and I often wonder why I’ve ended up here, am I doing this right? I spent a lot of time micro managing what I did that I forgot to stop and breathe, stop and realize we are exactly where we’re supposed to be at this moment. Sometimes years later we can look back and see why a friendship ended or why we were laid off from a job, because those things ending made room in our lives for bigger and better things.

Too often human beings spend so much of their time banging on closed doors, or weeping outside of them, that they lose the ability to see the colors on the road ahead and life becomes gray. In that gray corridor we tend to lose ourselves in a flurry of “what ifs” and “why me’s” and as hard as it is to do, we have to shut those little voices of doubt down. It isn’t easy, in fact the hardest thing we as human beings have to do is learn to mourn the loss of someone who is still alive, without loosing ourselves in the process. We have to make peace with the fact that everyone we love may not be for us and in the ever revolving sphere that is life, people sometimes go and do not return, and that is okay. When you catch sight of yourself in a store window, instead of noticing what’s missing, I challenge you to notice what’s gained.

Instead of looking down, look up and count the good, instead of saying something has taken you too long to finish credit yourself for finishing at all. Everyone’s clock is different, your 25 is not the same as your moms, your siblings or your best friend’s and to compare and contrast the lives and progress of totally different human beings is counter productive. Count things on a scale that makes sense to your life, you cannot weigh grains of rice on a scale meant to weigh an elephant. Understand that time moves at a pace that is right for you and nobody can tell you that it’s taking you too long to reach a goal or heal a wound, it is your life and as long as you’re trying, you’re progressing.

The Buzz Family Thanks You!

We would like to thank our new readers who came to our table today. Both Jean-Luc and Sabrina had a great time meeting you all as they explained The Buzz and Openlab (as whole).  We hope that you guys will someday be as passionate about OpenLab as we are and find it as a really great resource for college or post-college uses. With City Tech being a public college, we don’t get many chances to be a part of the collegiate whole and this site is for all of us to virtually be in the same space; to get to know one another, help each other, and network ourselves.

So please, explore The Buzz and get acquainted with us as we, you.

Welcome, readers!

Grand Central Terminal

If you’re a New Yorker, you are probably well aware of the world famous Grand Central Terminal. This station is over 100 years old, it’s an innovation in its design, and has even inspired the designs of dozens of train stations and airports that exist today. This legendary station is a national and pop culture landmark as well. In 1976 it was decided that it’s a National Historic Landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Only the most iconic, historically important, masterfully designed places can be on these lists. There’s a good chance that you’ve seen this station being used, talked about, or blown to bits in a movie or TV show. Even if you’ve never been to Grand Central, you probably know exactly what it looks like on the inside from all the media exposure throughout the years. Grand Central is one of my favorite stations, it has a classic look and feel, and I used to go there all the time to ride the Metro-North line to get to my previous school, and to visit the Dia museum in Beacon, of course. Here are a few shots of the inside of Grand Central Terminal.

Grand Central Station

a chandelier in Grand Central Station the large clock in the center of Grand Central Station

the large clock, info booth, ticket counter, and large American flag

The World of Nutella

a newly opened jar of nutella

Image by: Marisina Vescio

Food in America has always been an issue since it has constantly been debated on the nutritional value of the foods being readily sold in a variety of supermarkets. I wanted to share this particular news because it shows the importance of food in America and how we as culinary professionals whether if this is the profession that you wish to pursue have the knowledge to educate the youth on better food systems. Personally, I aspire to be a pastry chef but the culinary techniques and information that has been taught to me will remain with me to be passed on through my way of cooking and what I share with those that I communicate with.

nutritional value breakdown of nutella

Image by: MirrorUK

The mass production of Nutella reminded me of the Art of Vegetarian course that I took with Professor Hoffman. In that course, Professor Hoffman constantly encouraged us to partake in our own cooking and talked about the importance of healthy eating in terms of knowing the ingredients that we are allowing our bodies to ingest. Something that has been widely and commercially broadcasted as being healthy for families to purchase for snacks and breakfast options. But after this viral photo showed the accurate portions of ingredients in Nutella, it has led to an angry outcry about the honesty of company’s advertisements. Nutella is now being shown as having mostly sugar and palm oil with only small amounts of hazelnuts, skim milk powder, and cocoa powder. Both sugar and palm oil have respectively been viewed as unhealthy as it can easily lead to obesity which can lead to other medical issues such as diabetes or cancer. This has created a huge panic especially in Italy where many places have stopped selling the spread and have even banned it due to the fear of its predicted unfortunate health effects. No matter what the circumstances, it is always better to make food from scratch rather than buying food pre-packaged.

Comment below on foods that you enjoy making from scratch.

Chelsea Market

Located in the Meat-Packing district of Manhattan resides a foodie’s paradise. It stands on a large plot of land that stretches from west 16th street-west 15th street and 9th avenue-10th avenue; if you have ever walked throughout New York City, you know how long avenues can be. It seems to extend very far while walking inside the market but it also is an extremely enjoyable method of walking an avenue. Although it is a major tourist attraction, us locals can still enjoy the market on the regular basis since there is always new things to try from the vendors and recently added seating arrangements, leaving plenty of great places to relax, reflect, and recharge.

Seeing all the people walk and lounge throughout the market makes it hard to see what it used to be, a factory for NABISCO (aka National Biscuit Company). NABISCO started in 1898 by a lawyer/businessman named Adolphus Green in Chicago. He curated a merger plan of 40 small mid-western bakeries and 6 small bakeries from the New York Biscuit Company (created by William Moore). In 1906 the headquarters was moved from Chicago to Manhattan (what is now Chelsea Market) and was labeled the world’s largest bakery of its time. The very popular Oreo cookie was first manufactured between those walls, changing milk for kids nationwide. NABISCO left the building in the 1940’s and left behind the factory space. It is now home to many vendors after complete renovations had been done on the space by Vandeburg Architects in 1998. They stripped the space to its brick facades and utilized recycled industrial objects throughout the market, in a way making the remodel eco-friendly while giving it more of a grungy industrial essence. The market is not only a holding space for stores it’s so much more; it’s a indoor park, cafe, art gallery, historical museum, etc. Just think of getting your coffee, cheese, bread, books, or baking supplies from the same address that used to make your childhood’s favorite dunk-able cookies and infamous crackers that were crumbled over many bowls of soup.

Every time I go into an establishment or a public space I always tend to put it in my own mental category of what I would do there, in my opinion this place is perfect for reading, sketching, writing, or catching up with a friend. Try it out and visit the Chelsea Market or visit it again; if you haven’t been there in the last year ,like me, you will probably see newly added stores and exhibits. Nonetheless, it’s always a fun and exciting 800 foot walk, as you weave through the stores.

Uneeda Biscuit Boy

Wishing well collects spare change and gives it to the Salvation Army.

Virtues from Motherhood: What happens to the people society fails?

I wonder this often when I ride the train, I see people that society is just not designed to benefit and I imagine how hard everyday life must be in their shoes. One of the first things that comes to mind when you hear about the NYC subway system are the people who call it home, the homeless population that seeks refuge on the iron horse. I’m sure I’m not the only person who wonders when their life went left and they ended up homeless? Where are their family members? Didn’t they have any friends? Was it drugs or just hardship? The questions are endless and I’m sure in some cases it’s a result of poor choices and bad judgment but what about the people who are just failed by society? What about the guy who’s on the spectrum but grew up in a time where it wasn’t recognized and can’t hold a job because he was never given the tools to do so. What about the child who was born to drug addicted parents and thrown into the system at 2 years old and aged out at 18 with no idea how to navigate society, higher education or make stable life choices?

Society, while it’s slowly becoming more inclusive, has a longer more harsh history of excluding those who need guidance the most. Instead of just tossing these people who need more time, more space, or more guidance, into rooms, jobs and settings where they’re competing with the mainstream we should develop ways to help these people, give them tools, not pink slips. In most NYC public schools classrooms are inclusion classes where kids of all levels are expected to learn the same material at the same rate. While the argument is pitched to say kids learn better off their peers, this sentiment ends when the school year does and they fall behind.

We need to recognize that not every person learns the same, comprehends and functions the same and we can’t skew the system to support kids until their 18th birthday and then expect them to figure it out on their own when the training wheels are abruptly yanked. A few months ago I read a post on a blog from a photographer who photographs the homeless across the country and tells their story. One of his posts though, from a 19 year old homeless kid, really struck a cord. This poor kid had been raised by his grandparents, didn’t know where his parents were, and when his grandmother passed away he found himself homeless when the bank took the house he grew up in. His job couldn’t support rent and life expenses and so he took refuge in city muni stations.

How do we call people adults when we’ve never provided them the proper tools to function as one? How many high school students learn about taxes, IRA’s or retirement? We teach students to pass, not to know and we then have adults who relied on being told what to do and how to do it and when that structure is gone they fall through the cracks. Society fails them.

We as a society need to make a change, we need to change the method and change the approach. You can’t expect kids to just figure it out of their peers or after having it done for them for years, you have to offer a safety net and not a hand out. Until then though I’ll hope for the best and teach my own daughter to do for herself and learn the steps and not just the outcome.

WTC Oculus

The theme of my posts usually revolve around travel, exploration, and discovering places you may not know about. But when it comes to traveling, the means of travel itself is often overlooked and underappreciated. Some airports and train stations in this country are true works of art. For the next few weeks, I’ll be posting about the transportation hubs and train stations in our eastern bubble. In New York alone, there are so many masterfully designed stations with long, complicated histories. The first transportation hub I’ll be talking about is the Oculus, also known as the World Trade Center Transportation Hub. It’s a massive, oddly shaped structure with a brand new 21st century design (just opened to the public in 2016), but the station within has a long history of opening, closing and reopening. Luckily, this isn’t some boring history lecture. All you need to know is that it’s massive, it’s weird, it’s beautiful, there’s a mall inside of it, and you should totally go visit when you have a chance. It was designed by an architect named Santiago Caltrava, and he has being designing massive structures all around the world since the early 1980s. The Oculus is by far my favorite station, here are pictures of Santiago’s $4 billion project in downtown Manhattan.

the interior of the Oculus a white hallway with two pedestrians visitors in a white hallway the entrance to PATH trains to new Jersey exit turnstiles

The Best Week for a Sweet Tooth

heart shaped candies

Image by: Peace & Love

This week was Valentine’s Day…which is a holiday that celebrates love and happiness. Although, love shall be shared each and every day amongst each other, this particular day of February 14th has become this renowned holiday which is designated to showing love and appreciate for all the special people in our lives. This day is easily celebrated by way of cards, teddy bears, flowers, or most of all….with candy.

For those of us that received chocolates or other candies on Valentine’s Day as well as those that gifted those sweets to themselves may find that it can be difficult to get rid of. Though, you can snack on candy, it may become boring after a while. Instead of wasting all of that candy, I will share a few ideas to better make use to all the leftover candy from the holiday of Valentine’s Day.

chocolate frosted cupcakes with heart sprinkles

Image by: Janet Sumner

  1. Cookies

You can easily upscale your normal recipes for cookies by adding chopped pieces of leftover Valentine’s Day chocolate to the recipe. For instance, instead of putting the typical chocolate chips into the batter for chocolate chip cookies, you can incorporate chopped up chocolate candies.

  1. Truffles

These chocolate treats are very simple to make with ingredients that may already readily be in your home. Simply, melt some chocolate either by nuking it in intervals of thirty seconds at a time to stir in between or by a double boiler in which you will stir the chocolate constantly in a heatproof bowl that is over a boiling pot of water. Then, add some heavy cream or condensed milk before shaping it into balls and refrigerating. You can also roll the balls into chopped nuts, cocoa powder, coconut flakes, or sprinkles to add other flavors, textures, and to better the appearance of the truffles.

  1. Hot Chocolate

Since the most popular candy received on Valentine’s Day is chocolate, this recipe will put all the leftover chocolate that you have to use in this easy recipe. Simply, warm a cup of milk either by boiling it on the stove or by nuking it in the microwave. Then, put a few pieces of chocolate into the mug. Let this steep as the hot milk will slowly melt the chocolate. Then, stir the chocolate in accordingly until it thoroughly dissolves into a cup of hot cocoa.

Comment below on desserts that you make with leftover Valentine’s Day candy.

Valentine’s Day Project

Every chance we get we try to outwardly express our feelings for one another; whether it be a kiss goodbye, an “I love you” before hanging up the phone, or a slap in the face we all have this innate response to portray our emotions with actions. This is why a one-hundred-year-old trend called “Love Locks” seemed like a natural reaction. It started in World War I in Serbia; in a time when certain people weren’t able to be with each other since couples were geographically divided by the war. Most Ljubavi, the Serbian bridge in which people started locking padlocks onto, means “The Bridge of Love”. Locks upon locks, love upon love, the bridge grew tremendously over the years.

This trend started to migrate to other countries as time went on, and finally made its way to the Brooklyn Bridge in 2009. Tiny professions of love seemed sweet at first, but gradually turned into something disastrous as the tiny professions became large exclamations of love. It officially became outlawed in 2016 by DOT when a wire for an overhead light snapped under extreme weight of the “Love”. It caused the lane to be closed for two hours causing traffic among other things. The damage was able to be fixed but the risk is far too great to have people continue to further impair an iconic landmark like the Brooklyn Bridge.

Now that your “unbreakable” love will be clipped and will also cost a one-hundred dollar fine, I think it’s time to start finding more eco-friendly and pocket-friendly methods to profess those bottled feelings to that special someone. So this is a project for those who are itching to put their love on lock. You know who you are…

1. Think of that significant person in your life. Don’t worry this isn’t a test, take as long as you like on this step.

2.  Find a rock and buy/borrow indefinitely from a friend/get a sharpie. These are the only tools you will need for this project.


3. Scribble you and your special someone’s initials on the rock. If you are a perfectionist like me, you can stencil it with a pencil first and then trace over it with the permanent marker.

4. Just like with the lock, meet up with that special someone at any body of water in the city. Luckily, we are surrounded by water. You can find some really great suggestions from my previous posts like, South Street Seaport or Brooklyn Bridge Park.

5. Throw it into the water like Mariano Rivera. The chances of ever seeing that rock is severely unlikely just how you will never recover the key of the lock. Your love will infinitely reside in your chosen body of water and you can visit its residence whenever you want.

As a fellow college student, I understand that money can be tight but this project is virtually free. So go… go profess your love. Fill the Atlantic Ocean with your love.

Happy Valentine’s Day!