ICNYC Student Reflections

Students in the ICNYC program share their experiences and insights from one of the greatest cities in the world.

Posted by Francesca Toscano at 11:43AM   |  Add a comment
Ryan McNamara with Ithaca College Pizazz. 2012 Performance still. Still courtesy of the artist and Elizabeth Dee, New York.

This entry originally published March 5, 2012.

Having the opportunity to live and working New York City is undeniably exciting. Waking up in Manhattan outside my window every morning is an incredible feeling, and the fascinating clients and creative campaigns at Nike Communications, the luxury public relations agency where I intern, are always riveting. Therefore, it might seem as though taking courses amongst these exciting happenings would become mundane and dull. However, the interesting courses being offered by the College in the New York City program have added depth to my experience.

A perfect example of how amazing the courses have been thus far was my class experience last Saturday. I am taking Art and Architecture of New York City, a course that emphasizes New York City’s influence on the art world throughout history. We take weekly trips to museums and exhibits, led by our incredibly friendly and passionate professor Harry Weil. As a girl who couldn’t distinguish a Picasso from a Pollock prior to this class, my understanding and love for art history has grown exponentially.

Last Saturday, our class met in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan to explore local art galleries. Completely unaware of Chelsea’s bustling art scene, I was amazed as we navigated blocks flooded with galleries. From traditional paintings to the completely abstract (such as a picture of crumbled paper on crumbled paper), Chelsea is a haven for those interested in works from both famous and underground artists.


The most interesting part of the afternoon was walking into the Elizabeth Gallery on 20th Street between 10th and 11th Avenues. Alternative artist Ryan McNamara’s performance art exhibition Still was underway, and when our class walked through the gallery doors we were greeted by Mr. McNamara himself. He excitedly handed the group monster masks and made us collectively pose in a variety of different ways as he took pictures of us. He then told us he would create art with it and send us the finished product. He shared one of his photos with us (see photo) and I hope that ‘our’ work makes it to the second part of his exhibit where he’ll show the pieces that he and his gallery goers created. However, whether we’re in the show or not, having the opportunity to become artists ourselves in one of New York’s most prestigious art neighborhoods was an experience I will never forget.


Sure, midterms and homework assignments can seem annoying while studying in one of the most fascinating cities in the world. However, the classes offered in the New York City program perfectly balance traditional academia with the incredible opportunities available only in New York.

Posted by Francesca Toscano at 11:43AM   |  Add a comment

This entry first published January 27, 2012.

Embarking on Ithaca College’s pilot New York City program has indeed been an adventure: the feeling that I’m blazing a path for future IC generations to come is both daunting and invigorating. Growing up in a Manhattan suburb my entire life, I thought I had a decent understanding about what my semester in New York would be like. However, my first weeks in Manhattan have completely shattered and exceeded my previous expectations. Here are some of the biggest misconceptions I had about living in New York City.

  • The city is too expensive on a college budget. It’s no mystery that Manhattan can be pricey. New York City is a cultural, educational, and corporate mecca, so naturally prices may be a bit skewed. However, the money-conscious can easily navigate the city with ease. For my fellow foodies, many restaurants have half-priced appetizers or meals during happy hour, and lunch specials (especially at sushi or Chinese joints) can be a steal! A quick search on Yelp can give amazing tips for any neighborhood. Also, avoid chains in major tourist areas: they hike up the prices. For entertainment, the Met has a “suggested” admission price, as does the Bronx Zoo on Wednesdays. Plus, a stroll through Central Park or an unfamiliar neighborhood is a free, fun-filled adventure!
  • Having alone time is impossible. Living in the most populated city in America, it’s easy to believe that you will never have time to just relax by yourself. I can be a bit of an introvert, and I relish my time spent watching a movie or reading a good book. However, not only have I had my much-needed alone time, but I have felt (dare I say it) bored! Although NYC may be a hectic metropolis, you need to remember that you’re not always going to be in the middle of it. And when you want solitude but get stir-crazy sitting in your apartment, taking a walk around your neighborhood is the perfect relief. It’s amazing how on a crowded street you can feel so at peace.
  • The city loses its appeal in time. One of my foremost worries about living in Manhattan was that the glorified image of the city I had created in my mind would be tarnished. However, when you’re living somewhere as fascinating and exciting as New York City, the passion never fades. Sure, my eyes don’t light up like they did the first time I saw the lights of Times Square, and walking to my subway stop becomes a task in the cold winter months. Still, when you least expect it, the magic of the city will creep up on you once again. Just yesterday while picking up products for my internship, I was taken aback by the beauty of Battery Park overlooking the Hudson River. Last week, I stopped in my tracks as I passed the World Trade Center construction and was consumed by emotions. Even the streets I travel down regularly are far from mundane- if you stop and look around, you’ll always notice something new!

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