New York State of Mind

This month Natural Selections interviews Lola Yu, Research Assistant from The Kapoor Lab.
Interview by Melvin White

NYSM

How long have you been living in the New York area? 

Almost one full year.

Where do you currently live?  Which is your favorite neighborhood?

-I currently live on the Upper East Side but my favorite neighborhood has to be the East Village. You can get amazing Japanese food, hop from thrift shop to thrift shop, and then hang out at my favorite spot- Barcade!

What do you think is the most overrated thing in the city? And underrated? 

Probably black and white cookies. Aren’t they just sugar cookies with black and white frosting on top?

The most underrated thing in my opinion is the street performers. It’s easy to overlook them since they’re always there but when you actually stop to listen or watch, they’re incredibly talented musicians and dancers who you would normally have to pay money to see in any other venue or city.

What do you miss most when you are out of town? 

I miss how spontaneous the weekends can be. There’s always something to do and you never know where you’re going to end up. Sometimes someone will have an extra ticket to a concert or you’ll stumble upon a street festival or a friend will be stopping in town (because why wouldn’t they want to stop in NYC?)

Has anything(negative or positive) changed about you since you became one of us “New Yorkers”?

I feel like I’ve become a much stronger person living alone in the city. Everything from dealing with bed bugs to handing over a ridiculously large check every month for a teeny tiny apartment has taught me that life is always going to be tough. Whether or not these little things keep me down is up to me.

If you could change one thing about NYC, what would that be?

The cleanliness of the streets. There’s always trash piled up sky-high on every street and there’s too much dog poop on the ground to comfortably walk without constantly keeping your head down to check what you’ll be stepping in next. Also, it really wouldn’t hurt to plant a few more trees, bushes, or flowers.

What is your favorite weekend activity in NYC?

My favorite weekend activity is probably hanging out at a bar or restaurant with really good live music. There’s no doubt that NYC attracts the best musicians!

 What is the most memorable experience you have had in NYC?  

It would have to be when my really good friend came for a day and we ended up staying out until the break of dawn. We walked the Brooklyn Bridge together to watch the sunrise and it was breathtaking.

Bike, MTA or WALK IT???

Walking for sure and MTA but mostly walking. I’m not a very good biker, and I’m also terrified of getting hit on a bike but maybe one day I’ll muster up the skill and courage.

If you could live anywhere else, where [would] might that be? 

Maybe somewhere in the Bay Area of California. The idea of constant sunny weather is really appealing to me but that’s for the future. As of now, NYC is where it’s at!

Do you think of yourself as a New Yorker?

 I do! I complain a lot about what typical New Yorkers complain about, like the MTA lines not working, the constant construction work in the back, and all the trash on the streets but I always find myself defending New York when non-New Yorkers talk badly about it.

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