• ADEA42E9-B15D-46E5-923F-1FAF5CEAF939.jpeg?fit=1600%2C1202
    My friends Bailey and Amni enjoy impromptu photo shoots on the last day of camp. The last day felt bittersweet because we enjoyed hanging out but knew we would not see each other for a long time. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)
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    The view from Fordham University, where the School of the New York Times takes place, holds a concert scene. Some students tried to get tickets to the community concert. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)
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    Although none of us are old enough to go to Prom, my friends from Pressing the Future love posing prom-style. The students at camp made living in New York worthwhile. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)
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    The Pressing the Future staff plans their first six months live. My friends loved working together on journalistic projects ranging from recipes to investigations. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)
  • 36251444-55E5-4152-945D-9D90AB8FAC6F.jpeg?fit=1600%2C1202
    My interviewee insisted on taking a picture with our group. New Yorkers have big personality but most of the time they act down to earth. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)
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    Julia Pepper, Brooklyn-native, led me around the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). New Yorkers I talked to did not realize how glamorous their home looks to outsiders. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)
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    Nature finds its way into the city in the most unlikely places. This neighborhood “garden” stuck out like a green thumb in the industrial revolution. (Photo/Bella Ramirez)
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    My mom, aka the best roommate ever, travels to New York with me. Give this wonderful woman a round of applause for her love and support!(Photo/Bella Ramirez)

Life Flip or Flop Weekly: Live like a New Yorker

in Entertainment/Fashion, Food & Lifestyle by

For two weeks, I lived in the fabulous, furious and overly polluted city of New York. I attended the School of the New York Times, and, while I learned the tools of journalistic trade, I also felt the need to live like a real New Yorker. The only downside? According to my summer camp’s safety seminar, I need to act rude to become a New Yorker. It was going to be a long week…

“Keep your hands in your pockets, your eyes both on the ground and all around. Don’t accept anything from everyone. Don’t donate. Mind your own business and you will survive,” our honest safety instructor says.

New York proved much kinder than depicted in the safety seminar. Some homeless people ask for money on the streets, but people help them and give them food. You hear police sirens 24/7, but the immediate response shows care in the midst of chaos. Loud and brutal New York may not be for everyone, however, for me, it felt like home.

One of the most impactful moments during my New York experience was my Central Park visit. The middle of the craziest city in the world held a green, calm, wonderland. When I laid in the cool grass I felt free. With the constant stress of school, it’s hard to feel relinquished from anxiety.

According to the Atlantic, high school students in two elite east coast schools were diagnosed with depression four times more than the national average. The Center for Discovery even expressed that around 20 percent of modern teens experience depression before their adult life. With AP courses, extracurriculars and a hectic home life, teens today often have more to stress about than ever. Additionally, today’s teens have to worry about their social media presence. If they plan on running for office or trying to stay relevant as an activist or influencer, the stakes rise. Stupid mistakes are out of style and Ivy League-bound students push to limits previously unheard of.

Everyone stresses in silence until you enter Central Park. Stress does not exist in Central Park. People strum guitars on the benches, play ultimate frisbee in the grass, walk their dogs on the sidewalk and climb the mysterious group of rocks. If you close your eyes, then the whole world disappears in that one moment. In Central Park, AP test scores and old responsibilities do not matter anymore. You just exist.

After experiencing the simple life in Central Park, I went to Jackson Heights, Queens. This borough, or county, is the most diverse and second most populated in New York. A person from nearly every country resides in Jackson Heights. Everytime you turn a street corner, someone speaks a different language. In one walk around the block, you can find ten different cultures. Flags hung around stores like badges of pride and, even though everyone announced their differences, they still remain united. Jackson Heights depicts beauty. Even though not everyone can communicate or understand each other’s languages, the community still looks out for each other. The New York Police Department (NYPD) found crime decreased by 34 percent in Jackson Heights from 2001 to 2017. The residents explained that most cases were car parking tickets, not murders or robberies. Jackson Heights surprised me after I miscast New York as a disconnected and rude place.

A million other adventures ensued while I stayed in New York but the verdict does not differ. New York changed me. For the first time in my life I felt free and at home. Now I can only count down the days until I go back.

Verdict: Flip

Bella Ramirez, 15, is a passionate journalist and Marvel fan. She enjoys writing for the newsmagazine, doing segments in WAHS and running her third publication, Pressing the Future. Ramirez has her head in the clouds and her heart in New York, fingers crossed she can last the next few years of high school in this Florida heat.

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