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Archive for November, 2017

Summer Daze in the Concrete Jungle by Ruaidhrí O’Doherty

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Summer Daze in the Concrete Jungle.

If you’re reading this you either have too much time on your hands, or you’re considering going to New York for a J1. I hope it’s the latter. If it’s the former, spend that time contemplating the aforementioned J1.  The idea of going to New York for a J1 struck me as somewhat of a pipe dream, the logistics of which seemingly too convoluted to possibly overcome. The most paramount being, ‘Where the hell am I going to live?!’ You’re going to live in the LIU dorms, run by J1Accoms. I’m going to tell you why.

Manhattan is a jungle. Therefore, you must adhere to its laws. One of which being, it will swallow you whole if you arrive unprepared. I didn’t know what to expect living in Hoyt Street. I chose to live there because all my friends had already booked it and, for fear of being geographically ostracized, I caved and opted to live there also. Retrospectively, it was one of the truly auspicious happenings that would ultimately shape the greatest summer of my life. You won’t understand until you live there. You have ‘the’ base in New York. You have a haven to retreat to should you ever feel threatened, disorientated or overwhelmed. You have a home. This is not least of all exemplified by the fact that you are living with nothing short of one hundred Irish students. If the concrete giant is wearing you out, go to the common room on your floor. David will make you a cup of tea if you ask for it in an obsequious manner and Sinéad definitely has milk. Sinéad always had milk. I worry about that girl. She had a predilection for lactose-based beverages one can only describe as ‘unhealthy’. In any case, the world is larger than the human mind can fathom, and the Manhattan/Brooklyn combo only serves to emphasize this. It’s easy to feel lost, confused and even lonely in a place with over eleven million inhabitants. You won’t feel alone in Hoyt though. The bonds you make within the strange confines of 1 Hoyt Street go beyond the scope of my descriptive ability. Remember starting college? Everything seemed grander. The jokes funnier. The beer colder. Quite simply, that’s what living in Hoyt is like. You live in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, amidst the weird and wonderful. You walk outside and a smorgasbord of sights, sounds and smells assault your senses and you’ll grin to yourself, knowing that the possibilities are endless. You’ll invariably end up in the $1 pizza place near Jay Street Metrotech. It’s a beautiful concept. You hand over a single dollar bill and, in return, you receive a classic slice of New York cheese pizza. Simpler times, how I miss thee.

Lest I forget, a ten-minute picturesque walk from your front door step is one of the most magnificent amenities available to you and, like all good things in life, it’s free. I’m talking about the basketball courts, barbecues, squash courts, astroturf and roller-skating rink down by the Hudson river. We lounged in the North American sunshine, laughing and throwing three-pointers that would inevitably miss and we couldn’t have been happier. You got the sense that you’d never had times akin to these before nor would you ever again. This is what the LIU dorms offered and we lapped it up.

Booking accommodation with J1Accoms grants you access to another ‘service’ that you’ll utilise if you have your wits about you. I say ‘service’, I mean Patrick Greene. Haven’t heard of him? There was an article in the Irish Times in September 2017 dubbing the Sligo man one of the largest nightclub promoters in New York City. It sounds hyperbolic. It isn’t. My evidence, like a humble milk stool, stands on three legs. One. A boat trip around the island of Manhattan at night, and I’m talking about all the bells and whistles. You get to gawk, slack-jawed at the Statute of Liberty, illuminated like a beacon in the night as some DJ you’ve never heard of plays the most mind-blowing tunes you could possibly imagine. If you have a propensity to use Instagram, and New York is the place for it, then this is the night for you. It was Bad. It was Boujee. That’s all there is to it. Two. Le Reve. This is the name of a club Patrick promotes and promote it he does. When you walk into it, it feels like you’ve been enveloped in shadow and Flume and what a feeling it is. To attempt to describe it further would only do it a disservice. Finally, three. PHD. The pièce de résistance. Let’s attempt to forget that when you walk in, Patrick will probably hand you a Belvedere on the rocks. Let’s attempt to forget that, once again, the music is nothing short of phenomenal. You’re at one of the best rooftop bars in Manhattan. You’re standing there looking at the New York City skyline and you’re stunned. Your natural instinct would be to whip out your phone and taunt your friends via Snapchat, but you don’t. It’s not worth it. Knowing deep down, no picture could ever do it justice. Patrick Greene gives you access to this lavishly luxurious lifestyle. LIU/J1Accoms gives you access to Patrick Greene.

Pre-booking a place in the LIU dorms doesn’t just give you a platform for the greatest time of your life.  It also helps you avoid the despair many found with regards to finding jobs and starting work. It allows you to begin working immediately, unencumbered by the fact that you might have to move out of your hotel soon, or that you might never find a place to live. New York is expensive. This much goes without saying, so why am I saying it? I say so because people had to go home early due to their topsy-turvy living arrangements. An easy life is a happier life and J1Accoms enables you to achieve this. You don’t want to be hindered by unnecessary burdens in foreign lands, trust me. You’ll learn a lot living in the helter skelter of downtown Brooklyn. About yourself. About people. About the world. You’ll experience things you never thought you would. Some good, some bad, but all of them shall enrich your life and contribute to your development as a human being. Hoyt’s a nice place to start that adventure.

P.S David and Sinéad were people I met on the J1. You’ll meet people that are equally Irish I imagine. One person on your floor will have teabags.

P.P.S Don’t hop the barriers in the subway. You get fined $100. I found out the hard way.

Ruaidhrí O’Doherty

My J1 New York Experience with J1Accom/Hoyt Street by Kristine Brouder

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This year I made the nerve wrecking decision to travel to the Big Apple for a J1, by myself.

Originally, I booked a room in a shared apartment in Harlem, long story short let’s just say it turned out to be any J1’ers worst nightmare. After doing some research, I came across the J1Accom Page on Facebook, I contacted Paul to see if they had any space left and he got back to me within the hour and I went to see the place that evening!  The Price is defiantly the best by far that you will get for the area and you can also pay online which is so handy! Knowing you have somewhere safe to arrive to takes most of the stress of moving to a different country away! (For you and your parents!)

Hoyt Street (Where the building is located) was so easy to get to! It is in the heart of downtown Brooklyn with the 2/3/4/5 trains right outside the door and the A/C/Q/N/F and lots mores line a short 4/5-minute walk away. These are all the main subways and you can be in Manhattan within 1 stop! You’ll Know if you’ve been to New York that this is IDEAL for getting to work as you don’t have to travel ages to connecting subways or even worse get the bus! This is also ideal for exploring New York on your days off, subways from here go straight to Coney Island or the Far Rockaways. Not to mention getting to and from Manhattan on nights out! (A cheaper alternative to taxi’s!) Shopping is also amazing there, H&M Steve madden, Macys, target, Adidas, Nike, MAC, trader joes, Duane Reade and loads of restaurants are literally on your doorstep.

The building is literally FULL of all fellow Irish j1er’s, and there’s just something about living with Irish when your abroad! Especially since I traveled to New York by myself, it made me feel more at ease as I wasn’t the only one in that boat and quickly made friends! There was also lots of opportunities to go out and enjoy what New York’s nightlife had to offer, I suppose that’s the good thing about living with a surplus of Irish … there’s always someone that wants to drink! Patrick Greene is an Irish club promoter and organized loads of events and nights out for us. Being on Patrick’s guest list came with a lot of perks, Skipping the line at some of New York’s biggest clubs, Yacht parties, VIP sections, free tables bottles etc. (Thanks Patrick, Sorry Mam!) He really looks after the Irish students that come over and who doesn’t like to think they’re VIP in a New York Club? (It’s great for your Instagram lol) One thing id like to highlight is the security of the building and how easy it is to get help if you have a problem. Your parents will be glad to know the building has doorman and you need ID to get into the building so no need to worry about robberies or anything like that! Also Paul is very accessible if you have any problems Paul replies straight away and is more than likely in the area and will help you if needs be!

I honestly think that being part of the J1 Accom group really made my experience in New York a better one. I made lots of new friends and lifelong memories with them, I loved it so much I actually applied for a graduate visa and I am now currently 2 weeks into my 12-month graduate visa, living with friends I met on my J1 and am still attending amazing nights that Patrick Green hosts. (You don’t get sick of free drinks and no lines!)

 

Kristine Brouder

Summer 2017 in the LIU residencies in downtown Brooklyn by Charlie Ryan

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I spent summer 2017 in the LIU residencies in downtown Brooklyn, which was undoubtedly the best summer of my life. Spending a J1 in New York is a wonderful experience, which gave me memories I’ll cherish forever. Living in Hoyt Street was such an accessible area, situated only 1 subway stop from Manhattan, with the surrounding districts also within convenient commuting time. Most tourist attractions are within 20 minutes from the residency, which is well connected with different underground subway stations. Downtown Brooklyn is a dynamic area with lots of shops, parks, restaurants, and sports facilities.  Century 21 Department Stores is a huge mall is across the road, within the store complex there is also a modern cinema called Alamo House which is a must visit for students. Dekalb food market is also in this complex, providing students with a range of different food options from across the world. There are food vendors of all different nationalities in the food market and we regularly visited the market to hang out and grab food together. Trader Joes supermarket is located next to the market and is a convenient supermarket right on your door step. Planet Fitness is directly opposite the LIU residencies, my friends and I joined for the summer. Membership only cost us $15 dollars per month each. Fort Greene Park is a nice little park only a 10-minute walk away. It has basketball and tennis courts in the centre and a barbeque area at the entrance too.

During the summer I made numerous friends from all over Ireland, the accommodation is full of Irish J1 students and we all had similar interests. The 2 resident organisers Patrick and Paul hosted meetup gatherings for all students in the building on a regular basis, giving us an opportunity to meet other J1 students. These were very useful for integrating with everyone, the events also had free night club entry and a range of promotions in top New York venues. Having a residency so central with lots of other students in a similar age bracket contributed massively to an unbelievable summer in Hoyt street. Students share a communal kitchen on our floor which was great for meeting people and planning days off together. The student accommodation also has wash facilities, making it very easy to take care of washing on days off. Once we arrived in New York it was such a relief to have accommodation sorted straight away. Finding a lease for 3 months in New York proved very difficult, we had numerous friends who had to change residencies during the summer and had to spend a week in a hotel at the beginning. Having LIU set up from when we arrived was hassle free and we moved in on our first day of arrival. The accommodation also had a discounted UBER voucher for us that we used to get to Hoyt street from JFK airport. There are 2 beaches within travel distance from Hoyt street. Coney Island is a funfair beach area. It takes 40 minutes to get down to Coney Island but is worth the trip, then Far Rockaway beach is 50 minutes but is extremely nice, there are lots of food vendors and shopping facilities around the area. The Barclays arena is a 20-minute walk away. During the summer we saw the promotional event between Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather in the arena. The event was free on Ticketmaster and the Barclays arena hold a lot of these promotions over the summer. As well as that, there are a lot of artists and sport events that take place here. Piers 2 and 3 are a subway stop away and we regularly went down here for barbeques and to hang out. There is a great view of the Manhattan skyline from the pier and it’s a good area to chill out with friends in the evenings. Dumbo is beside the Pier and it is a viewing point underneath the Brooklyn bridge, all the boats in the harbour pass here and it’s a real spectacle at night time. Kimoto is a roof top bar we visited often. This is a 28-storey rooftop bar and there’s a great view of the Statue of Liberty at the top. Overall, I would highly recommend LIU Brooklyn residencies for a potential J1 students. It is located at the heart of New York and there are endless possibilities for students in the locality.

 

Charlie Ryan

J1Accom.com Review – Brooklyn, New York – Cathal Costello

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Looking back now, I and my three friends were extremely lucky coming across Paul and J1.Accom back in May. We had extremely good jobs in upper east Manhattan as doormen, flights were paid for yet we had no luck finding accommodation. We wanted somewhere close to Manhattan with an easy commute to work and nightlife but not the typical J1 haunts like Queens or Woodlawn. The places and people we contacted through different social media, family relations of friends of friends turned out to be dead ends with either location, cost or simply just something not feeling right about a property. Luckily we got in contact with Paul in late May, who was recommended through a friend, and as a group we thought the location was ideal in LIU Brooklyn from researching it on google maps.

It’s no lie we had apprehensions arriving to LIU’s accommodation on Hoyt Street as it was the first time in New York and for the next three months to live in a new area and city which we had only seen on TV. All these worries faded once we got into our room which had plenty of space for ourselves with our own bathroom, which was luxury compared to most J1 students who could have 12 to a room! The communal area, where the kitchen and common room were situated, was perfect for making new friends with the rest of the J1 students on the floor, plan activities in Brooklyn or Manhattan or just share a few cups of tea when homesickness started to creep in. Paul teaming up with fellow Irishman Patrick Greene the owner of “The Greene Room” meant that plenty of nights out were organised in different places around Manhattan from roof top bars or boats on the river Hudson, both of which gave amazing views of the city, to some of the best clubs in town with Patrick making sure that we were well looked after throughout the night and asking how were we settling into New York life. These nights really did help us to get to know the city a lot better and grow a lot more confident in our surroundings plus these were the icebreaker nights for making more friends from people staying with J1.Accom that we might not have talked to until then or had just arrived.

Paul was fantastic in helping set us up in those first several weeks, getting minor things for the room and communal areas and giving advice on opening American bank accounts, social security cards etc. in order for us to be paid as soon as possible by our employers when we started work. However, one of the major benefits of in living in Hoyt Street was that when we began to explore the local area around us in Brooklyn we realised that all the metro stations for all the different lines were either beside us or less than 10 mins walk away. Having the subways literally on our doorstep meant we could be on a train to any part of Manhattan to see the tourist sights, go to a party or meet up with friends in Central Park. When the city got too much you could always take the subway further down into Brooklyn or go to Coney Island to go the beach for the day. Another handy thing too is that you can take the subway straight from Hoyt Street to JFK which saves a very substantial taxi fare.

There was so much on offer around Hoyt Street in terms of shopping, restaurants or just taking care of important things like pay checks, groceries with several banks nearby and a brand new shopping centre opened just a two min walk away on DeKalb Avenue which had Trailer Joes for all your grocery needs and a really unique food hall which had different eateries which are similar to market stalls you’d find around Europe offering different American dishes like BBQ ribs, freshly made donuts or craft beer and also other food. We had found a gem of a place along East River, which again is a straight 20 min walk from Hoyt Street, and that’s Pier 5/6 which is on the edge of Brooklyn Bridge Park. There’s a number of different piers that jut out into the river with some having AstroTurf pitches which we went to quite a bit to kick around a ball and take in the skyline of Downtown Manhattan. There’s BBQ facilities at the pier which we also used from time to time watching the lights turn on in Downtown, before walking through the park to Brooklyn bridge itself and taking in the views from there. The BBQ facilities were ideal for the 4th of July where we could meet up with other J1ers and plenty of locals and have the craic.

If I had known about J1Accom.Com and LIU’s collaboration in January I would have booked straight away. To be honest, there isn’t a more ideal partnership and the location alone speaks for itself, it made work, settling into life in New York a lot easier and allowed us to enjoy the best summer of our life and make lifelong friends and memories.

 

Cathal Costello

First Summer in New York! by Jen & Helena Lee Claffey

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When we first started our summer in New York, we had no idea where to

live and ended up in a match-box sized apartment on the Upper West Side.

Subtracted from the hustle and bustle of the heart of the city, two

weeks in and we had had enough. Scrolling through facebook we came

across J1Accom.com. Paul quickly suggested that we meet and have a look

at the downtown Brooklyn locations he had to offer. From the second we

met Paul and took a tour of the University buildings we were sold and

moved in the very next week!

The opportunity to make new friends also on the J1 program, an endless

selection of food places and shops in Fulton Mall and (most

importantly!) less than 15 minutes to all the best nightclubs that NYC

has to offer was at our footsteps. It was incredible having 24/7

security ensuring the location of the housing was safe and secure and

also having friendly faces to come home to every day. New York can be

intense and overwhelming so living with 100 Irish people who want to

explore the city and are in the same age group was a dream come true.

The building is within walking distance of Central subway lines

(2/3/4/5/A/C/B/D/N/Q and R) so wherever you need to be at whatever time,

you can get there pretty quickly! We never looked back from moving in,

every night there was something fun to do. For nightlife heading out

with Irish promoter Patrick Greene, a friend of J1Accom can have you on

the best rooftop venues enjoying the NYC skyline and making memories to

last a lifetime. We could not recommend J1Accom more, it is a

stress-free, affordable, safe and exciting home base to get the most of

your J1 in the Big Apple!

Jen & Helena Lee Claffey