Summer in New York by Maeve Hitchen

The summer 2017 was my second summer going on a J1 and I decided not to go back to the windy city of Chicago and I ventured completely out of my comfort zone to spend the summer in the Big Apple. I honestly never felt more comfortable and safe in a city before than I did in New York. I normally finished work around 2am or 4am and coming home at that time was never an issue for me, in New York, the city doesn’t sleep! Personally, I think because of the location of our accommodation added to my sense of comfort.

After making the mistake on my first J1 of not having organised accommodation before I travelled to the state, I ensured I did not make that mistake again. It was only my friend and I who travelled to New York together and straight off the plane in J.F.K, we were able to, thanks to our accommodation organiser Paul, get an Uber straight to Hoyt Street for less than 20 dollars. It saved us so much effort and time trying to figure out the subways and carrying our luggage from the airport. Upon arrival to our accommodation which we both had pre-paid without viewing, were absolutely shocked. Bang in the heart of downtown Brooklyn, surrounded by shops, restaurants, cafes, supermarkets was our accommodation. We straight away couldn’t believe it. The subway station was literally across the road as well. We were greeted without waiting by the accommodation rep who brought us straight to our apartment, bonus! Unlike the apartments of most J1ers, ours in the J1 accommodation in New York were fully furnished which proper air-conditioning. I cannot emphasise enough how lucky we were have to have good air-conditioning in America never mind in New York during the summer! I couldn’t believe it. It was luxury in comparison to my accommodation we lived in on my last J1 and in comparison to a lot of my friends.

The social life in New York was unbelievable. Every bar/ club opened till 4am and not just that, thanks to the famous Sligo man, Patrick Greene, we were treating like royalty in each club. Patrick Greene organised most of the J1 accommodation events every night of the week. Patrick would host a new event in a different venue in one of the many clubs in Manhattan. Being part of the J1 accommodation we were treated to free admission in to the nightclubs, VIP table with bottle service, views you wouldn’t even believe of the Empire State building, Times Square, the list continues.

How many 21 year olds can catch a subway and 10 minutes later you arrive in Wall Street, to go have a drink under the beautiful lights on Stone Street. How many 21 year olds can spend the fourth of July having a B.B.Q by the Brooklyn Bridge or on their days off rent a car and drive up to the Hamptons? We did!

Maeve Hitchen