Summer Daze in the Concrete Jungle by Ruaidhrí O’Doherty

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