The Hudson River runs up the west side of the island of Manhattan. By walking up the river or taking a cruise down into the harbor, you can see great memories of a New York past in the old piers, the rising spirit of the Freedom Tower, or the natural beauty of the bluffs on the shore of New Jersey beyond. It’s a must do in New York City.
At the very heart of the vast urban sprawl of New York City lies Central Park. Call it what you will. An island. An oasis. From The Plaza to the old Band Shell. The park itself and the buildings which surround it are as quintessential New York as you can get.
New York City is a place of incredible color. The one color in particular I always associate with the city more than any other is blue. I look up and see a glorious reflection of the sky off of the glass of the buildings or off of a simple rain puddle on 8th Avenue. The city is wrapped up in blue, just take a look around.
Brittany Smooch is a young, up and coming teen pop star and Hip Hop artist. Brittany’s music is fun and catchy and her personality is similar. I had the pleasure of speaking to Brittany yesterday about her music and charity work she has participated in. On the phone, Brittany seems sweet and determined. She knows what her goals are and she is pursuing them with great success. Brittany recently did work with the WGirls for their charity Project G.L.A.M, which gives prom dresses and accessories to girls who can not afford them. You can check it out at http://www.wgirls.org/get-involved/project-glam/
As soon as Brittany answered I knew she was going to be fun to interview.
When did you get into hip-hop?
I have always been into hip-hop music. But when I started writing my own songs it just came out that way. It just sounded like a rap.
When did you know you wanted to pursue a career in music?
I have been involved in music my whole life! At 5 years old I was taking singing lessons and by 7 I was writing my own music. I have always known that this is what I wanted to do.
Who is your favorite rapper?
Oh my God! I have so many favorites. But I guess if I had to pick it would be T.I. He is amazing!
You have a unique Urban style, where do you love to shop?
I love Patricia Field. They have a store in the City and the clothes are so crazy and cool. I really like anything that has a unique feel. I also really like Betsey Johnson.
How did you become involved with the WGirls and Project G.L.A.M?
I have always been involved with charity work. I really enjoy it. I was working with the NY city charity NY Cares and when the chance to do Project G.L.A.M came along I took it. Its really an awesome charity and I love being able to help young girls.
This charity is so amazing, and it must have been cool to see the girls faces as they got their dresses, how was that?
Seeing their faces was priceless. Watching the girls try on dresses and find ones they loved was really exciting.
What did you wear to your prom?
Well, I’ve actually been to a few proms. But my favorite dress was one I wore to a Long Island prom. It was really girly and looked like a Princess dress. It was pink and lacey. Usually I don’t like really girly clothes but this dress was beautiful and really made me feel like a princess.
Do you have any advice for prom goers this year?
“Don’t fall into peer pressure.” Have fun and enjoy this time in your life but don’t think you have to do something you don’t want to. That is really important to me.
What do you have coming up?
Well, I just released my EP and now I am working on my new album. I just finished up my High School concert tour and am getting ready for my next performance. I am performing at Six Flags Boston on June 29th.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Well of course, T.I. since he’s my favorite rapper, but I also think it would be really cool to work with powerful women in music. I’d love to do something with Nicki Minaj, Fergie, or Britney Spears.
What is one lyric to describe your life right now?
It would definitely have to be the chorus of my song, “Super Turned Up.” Because that’s how everything in my life is right now, “Super Turned Up.”
You can check out Brittany Smooch on her website http://www.brittanysmooch.com/
You can also check out her interview in Vibe magazine.
Take a moment. Step back and think. How does a city the size of New York City function? Only through the hard work of those that fix the streets, collect the trash, clean the streets, work on the tugboats and barges on the river. Through the dedication of those that work the midnight shift so that when we wake up in the morning our city is all the more perfect. Without out any filters or fancy photography tricks this is the first of many journals I plan to post in their honor.
I love the variety of neighborhoods in New York City. Walk a few blocks and you can go from Little Italy to Chinatown. From Koreatown to the Garment District. In the upcoming weeks I will be spotlighting in photographs the mosaic of communities that make up New York. They will not be advertisements or real estate agent walking tours. Rather they will be what the communities look like from the street level. As if you took a stroll and simply looked around. The point is to draw the flavor out from what that neighborhood has to offer from the average point of view in every day life.
The first in this series is Sutton Place. A very small neighborhood on the east side of Manhattan. Sutton Place and Sutton Place South run from 53rd Street to 59th Street. It’s as far east as you can go on the island of Manhattan at that point. The numerous cul de sac parks offer sweeping views of the East River and Roosevelt Island, as well as the Queensboro Bridge.
Sutton Place is considered one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in all of New York City. The wealth is evident from the attentive doormen of the high rise apartments and the clothes of the women walking around on a sunny day.
It is a beautiful yet exclusive part of the city that certainly adds to the character of all New York.
As the sun goes down over New York you can feel a change coming over the city. It’s not that the city awakens because as we all know, it never truly sleeps. It’s more like a mood change. If you put a soundtrack to it, it wouldn’t be a full symphony orchestra or an operatic aria. It would a lone whining saxophone filling the gray night air (think an abstraction from The Love Supreme); much different than the frantic piano piece of the hectic work day. (think Flight of the Bumble Bee) It’s the sound of the endless possibility of victory, defeat, or both. When the night falls over New York City anything can happen and usually does.
William Shakespeare once wrote, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances…” If the world is truly a stage then the people of New York City are at the very center of it. The human story that unfolds here daily is so rife with drama that it fairly swallows you up as soon as you leave your front door to wade into it. As shown here, just by going a few blocks in any direction you can encounter: creativity, romance, sadness, ingenuity, desperation, heroism, despair, and solemn determination. Each New Yorker contributing an equal amount to City’s story. Walt Whitman summed it up best by saying, “The question, O me! so sad, recurring—What good amid these, O me, O life?
That you are here—that life exists, and identity;
That the powerful play goes on, and you will contribute a verse.”
The Subway. It’s not the Underground. It’s not the Metro. And it’s not just any ordinary train ride in New York City. It can be stinky, crowded, noisy, sweltering hot or all of the above at any one time. Ask any New Yorker and you will probably get just as many that hate it, as love it. Since its inception in 1869, its hundreds of miles of tracks have stretched under the city like a web of veins carrying the people, who are the life blood of New York.