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.