Home Is Where The Commuters Are

Caroline O’Daly: Managing Editor

“I honestly feel most at home with the people crossing the Hudson River by bus with me everyday. We’re no Brady Bunch––there’s far too much screaming about line cutters and late buses for that––but we’re there for each other when it really matters.”

I’ve endured a mini identity crisis in high school that I’m sure many of my fellow commuters understand. I’m definitely not a New Yorker, but my urban high school experience has diluted my suburbanite identity.

When I began commuting to school from northern New Jersey, I’d push through the urine-scented tunnel that connects Port Authority to the Times Square subway station at mach speed. Plowing past slowpokes, I drowned out subway preachers telling me that I need Jesus (my Catholic school uniform must not count for much) with Harry Styles music.

That was until one day, when a child singing the Temptations’ “My Girl” broke my transit-induced trance. A small crowd of commuters and I stopped rushing to our next destination, unplugged our headphones, and listened to this pint-sized pop star for a bit. Everyone enjoying good music, together. As I stood there, I recognized the unspoken bond between us: we were all making our way home after a long day, united in our goal and, in this case, eagerness for a brief reprieve from the city’s chaos. So after that moment, I began opening up to the commuters I met each day, and found a community that has supported me throughout high school.

I honestly feel most at home with the people crossing the Hudson River by bus with me everyday. We’re no Brady Bunch––there’s far too much screaming about line cutters and late buses for that––but we’re there for each other when it really matters. On my worst days, my most reassuring conversations come from haggard construction workers or working moms on my bus home who, God bless them, rise to the occasion of cheering up a moody teenage girl. An unpredicted snowstorm once turned our regular ride into a 3.5-hour slog, so we alternated sitting and standing to ensure that everyone had a chance to rest.

We couldn’t seem more different, but we always come together in ways that surprise me. And that’s why, after three years of a grueling three-hour commute, I still look forward to coming home to Port Authority, and then New Jersey, everyday.

 

The Gracie Gals

Arabella Baker | Staff Writer

Lucy Booth | Digital Editor-in-Chief

:Open Source  Yorkville offers access to small businesses, charming parks, and a close-knit community.

:OpenSource Yorkville offers access to small businesses, charming parks, and a close-knit community.

“Approximately 50% of Marymount students are not from the Upper East Side of Manhattan.”

- Marymount Admissions Department, 2019

It would be hard for me to define the Yorkville community without the Mansion. The Mansion, a classic New York City-style diner, is a landmark and home base for the Yorkville community. It is frequently packed with people of all ages, especially Marymount girls sharing a late night or post-school snack. The Mansion is the glue of the Yorkville neighborhood. Over the past few years, shops have opened and closed, but the Mansion is a constant in the heart of Yorkville, the prime corner of 86th street and York Avenue. Even if you’re starving in the middle of the night, the Mansion will greet you with a hot grilled cheese sandwich and a smile.

Bagel Bob's is the Mansion’s main competitor. If you go, expect to receive wicked fast service, a shove out the door with a smile, and a “Thank you princessa.” Lucy Booth recalls with sadness the first time she realized that she wasn’t the only person who they called “princessa.”

Meantime, the Duane Reade on the north corner of 86th and York Avenue is most likely the smallest Duane Reade in the city, but nearby residents still remain loyal customers and enjoy going in for a stick of gum, some soda, and a nice chat with the checkout clerk.

Sadly, if you walk around the part of New York City once defined largely by German immigrants, Yorkville, you will find many vacant storefronts. It is hard to maintain business in the area, and the closed TCBY, Angel Nail Salon, and Lulu’s Massage can attest to that. Still, it remains a vibrant place overall.

Recently Yorkville has become particularly popular since the Netflix show, You, takes place in the neighborhood––especially centered upon one beloved bookstore. Despite the fictional horrors depicted in You, Yorkville exhibits an overwhelming sense of community. When the manager of the Mansion, Phillip, experienced a terrible car accident over break, his family created a Go Fund Me page for his recovery. Every shop within two blocks of the Mansion has posted flyers encouraging people to donate. When a neighbor needs help, the people of Yorkville unite.

Community to the people of Yorkville means supporting one another just as they work to support the local small stores and family businesses. The close proximity of these shops creates a sense of comfort and warmth on the Upper East Side that is hard to find anywhere else. The arrival of the Second Avenue subway stop might cause the arrival of more new businesses and the closings of more beloved stores struggling to pay high rent, but Yorkville will always cherish its roots, residents, and small shops.

 

West Harrison: Good People, Parks, and Pizza

Siwaar Abouhala | Staff Writer

I moved from Yonkers to West Harrison last summer-andyes, West Harrison is technically part of Harrison, but is also a small town that is separate from the rest of Harrison. There’s only one middle school, Louis M. Klein Middle School, and only one high school, Harrison High School.

At first,I was pretty underwhelmed upon moving to West Harrison. I was welcomed by a sign that says “Welcome to the Town-Village of Harrison, NY,” which was the first time I heard of a “town-village.” This phrase just means that West Harrison is really old and really small. So, you may be wondering, how old is it exactly? Well, West Harrison was the site of the Battle of White Plains from the Revolutionary War. George Washington and British General William Howe battled it out in front of the West Harrison Library’s current location. The Passidomo Veterans Memorial Park has a monument that honors all of the veterans who died in that battle.

West Harrison is also home to Silver Lake, which can be more accurately described as opaque white rather than silver. Silver Lake is near Buckout Road, a region that has inspired many urban legends of haunted houses, witches, and cannibals (I know, charming). Buckout Road even has a horror film named after it! I would reassure you that the rumors are false, but I’ve never been there and don’t plan on going anytime soon.

It turns out that overall, West Harrison is a small, tight-knit community of kind people. My neighbor has lived in her home for over forty years and was so excited to welcome my family into the neighborhood! So, if you ever find yourself in West Harrison, grab a slice of pizza from Silver Lake Pizza, stroll through Passidomo Park, and stay away from Buckout Road.

 

On My Block

Nazareth Battice | Staff Writer

Harlem is a community I got to know personally not long ago. Initially, our meeting was purely bittersweet. I wasn’t ready to bid farewell to Brooklyn, the bearer of my childhood. Despite my hesitancy, my love for this bustling community soon blossomed, as people outstretched their hands.

The streets are constantly alive, regardless of the time of day.  People gather at the steps of their buildings, casually bantering or basking in the soft murmur from their speakers. In the humid summers, the children scramble for the person on the street corner selling ices or piragua. Sometimes peeking out of my 142nd street habitat, I will spot people in the heat of an argument, and I find it entertaining, maybe even endearing. For the majority of my life, I’ve associated myself with the whisper of Brooklyn, and it gave me comfort. Never would I find myself making pace with the brisk rhythms and the booming downbeats of Harlem.

What I’ve learned from this community in the past two and a half years is the value of community and belonging. For the first time I was able to witness the people in my community gather and interact with one another openly, whether positively or negatively. Also seeing more people with my color of skin created a sense of belonging in a space that initially left me feeling isolated. Although I find myself observing my surroundings instead of actively participating in the Harlem scene, I still cultivate a personal appreciation for the community that became my home when I felt I had none. I invite everyone to venture beyond 100th street. After all, the smooth blues and culture-painted blocks of Harlem energetically welcome you.

Harlem is a community I got to know personally not long ago. Initially, our meeting was purely bittersweet. I wasn’t ready to bid farewell to Brooklyn, the bearer of my childhood. Despite my hesitancy, my love for this bustling community soon blossomed, as people outstretched their hands.

The streets are constantly alive, regardless of the time of day.  People gather at the steps of their buildings, casually bantering or basking in the soft murmur from their speakers. In the humid summers, the children scramble for the person on the street corner selling ices or piragua. Sometimes peeking out of my 142nd street habitat, I will spot people in the heat of an argument, and I find it entertaining, maybe even endearing. For the majority of my life, I’ve associated myself with the whisper of Brooklyn, and it gave me comfort. Never would I find myself making pace with the brisk rhythms and the booming downbeats of Harlem.

What I’ve learned from this community in the past two and a half years is the value of community and belonging. For the first time I was able to witness the people in my community gather and interact with one another openly, whether positively or negatively. Also seeing more people with my color of skin created a sense of belonging in a space that initially left me feeling isolated. Although I find myself observing my surroundings instead of actively participating in the Harlem scene, I still cultivate a personal appreciation for the community that became my home when I felt I had none. I invite everyone to venture beyond 100th street. After all, the smooth blues and culture-painted blocks of Harlem energetically welcome you.

 

The History of Hispanic Heritage Month

Siwaar Abouhala, Staff Writer

Hispanic Heritage Month, which spans from September 15th to October 15th, is a national celebration of American citizens of Hispanic ancestry. This annual period of festivity first began in 1968, when President Lyndon Johnson implemented it. Later, in 1988, President Ronald Reagan extended it into a month-long celebration. The reason that September 15th was chosen as the start date is because it is the day of independence for many Latin American countries including Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

With millions of Hispanic Americans living in the United States, it is important to respect and celebrate the Hispanic heritages of our fellow Americans. There are many incredible celebrations held throughout the country. For example, El Barrio Latin Jazz festival, held in the Bronx, is a ten-day long event filled with music and dancing. Another way to honor Hispanic Heritage Month is to be open to hearing and learning from the stories of Hispanic Americans. In 2013, PBS released “The Latino Americans,” a documentary series that discussed the experiences and contributions that Latinos have made to North America over the past 500 years. These are just some of the ways to mark this exciting occasion.

Main source of info: http://time.com/4943371/what-is-hispanic-heritage-month/


Latinxs in Politics

Juliet Davidson, Editor in Chief

There are and have always been severe disparities between population and political representation. For example, women represent 1 out of 3 city-wide offices, but 52% of New Yorkers are women. As you can see, this is a rather dramatic difference and one that unfortunately makes sense, as women have been and continue to be deprived of opportunities in the political sphere.

    Though the results are dreary for women of New York, the disparities are even more devastating for communities of color, especially Hispanic and Latinx communities. There are over 57.5 million Hispanics living in the United States, who comprise 17% of the national population. However, only 8.4% of Congress and 9% of the United States Senate identify as Hispanic. There is a severe lack of representation of Latinxs in politics, which can be attributed to discriminatory biases perpetuated by the our broader political system.

    Despite this overwhelming lack of political equity, there has been significant progress in recent years, indicating movement in the right direction regarding representation. This year’s primaries in September marked a banner year for women, as 257 women are running this year for Congressional and Senatorial positions, a figure that is the highest in history. Not only is there a promising future in store for women, but change is also occurring for phenomenal, progressive women of color serving our own community in New York City.

    Councilwoman Carlina Rivera, for instance, was born and raised in the Lower East side by a single mother who emigrated to the United States from Puerto Rico. After attending district schools and graduating from Marist College, she returned to New York City, working with children through after school programs in some of New York’s most under-resourced communities. She then returned to her own neighborhood as Director of Programs and Services for GOLES (Good Old Lower East Side), mobilizing initiatives for the homeless and senior residents of the district. Rivera continued to serve New York’s second congressional district as Legislative Director to former Councilwoman Rosie Mendez. Rivera’s tireless work contributed to legislation, such as the Asthma-Free Homes Act.

    In 2017, Rivera led a grassroots campaign, recruiting volunteers, interns, and family for City Councilwoman of New York’s second congressional districe. She won by a landslide with 83% of the vote. She is a true leader for the people, as she goes above and beyond to help her community in times of crisis, directly assisting residents after Hurricane Sandy and the Second Avenue Explosion, and dutifully representing her district.

    Nydia Velázquez, meantime, was one of nine children in her small village in Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, where she was born and raised. She began school at an early age, skipped grades, and entered the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras at the age of 16. Velázquez was the first person in her family to receive a college diploma and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in political science. After earning her Masters at NYU and teaching at CUNY Hunter, Velázquez pursued her destiny: being a motor for change. In 1984, she became the first Latina to serve on the New York City Council. She then became the Director of Puerto Rican community affairs in United States, empowering and mobilizing Latinos across the country.

Velázquez went on to accomplish incredible feats. In 1992, she became the first Puerto Rican woman to be elected in the US House of Representatives, in which she is currently serving her thirteenth term. Velázquez is also the first Hispanic woman to serve as a ranking member member of a full House committee and the first Latina chair of a full Congressional committee.

She is a vocal advocate, a legislative legend, and an inspiration. Her determination, integrity, and passion for compassion have changed lives for decades, and she hasn’t stopped her meaningful work for even a moment.

    These are two of many incredible stories about Latinos overcoming adversity with unrelenting resiliency, passion, and determination. Latinx and Hispanic Heritage Month calls us to listen to these stories, empathize with others’ experiences, and work individually and communally to create a world where the discriminatory barriers that have held Latinx communities back are broken down. Individually, that work lies in voting. Electing female candidates and candidates of color can bring progressive change, enabling the systems that so desperately need reform to fully and fairly represent the diversity and dynamism of communities.


Identity Poll

Nazareth Battice, Staff Writer

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Colombia, Brazil Exchange

Samantha Zaccaro, Staff Writer

This year four Marymount students traveled to Colombia and Brazil as part of the exchange program, venturing outside of their comfort zones and trying new things. We interviewed one of them, Caitlyn King - who traveled to Medellín in Columbia - to get a fuller sense of what these experiences are like.

Sam Zaccaro: In what way does the culture there differ?

Caitlyn King: I think that one way the culture differs is New York City is much more fast-paced than Medellín. I personally think the people in NYC always seem like they are in a hurry to get somewhere and can be very focused on themselves while people in Medellín seem more friendly towards strangers and seem always to say hi to each other.

SZ: How was the food?

CK: The food was delicious! I tried exotic fruits like granadilla, maracuya, and sapote, which you can’t find in New York. I tried arepas with quesito, which were served with almost every meal. Each meal had lots of protein, and I don’t think I had lots of vegetables when I was in Colombia. My favorite food was obleas with Arequipe, which is similar to caramel.

SZ: What were some of the highlights of you trip?

CK: Some highlights were walking up La Piedra de El Peñol, which had 600 flights of stairs (the view was worth it), relaxing at la fincas, which are farms, visiting towns and exploring, and going to the Museum of Antioquia and the Museum of Modern Art.

SZ: What was different about the school there versus Marymount?

CK: Marymount Medellín is an open campus with lots of trees and a field unlike Marymount New York which is more urban. We did have to walk a lot to get to each class. Another thing that is different is that in Medellín the girls stay together in one class instead of mixing up students, except for language and math, so the classes have the same students in all of the subjects. They also have a snack break before lunch, so I was never hungry, but school started at 7:15. They also learn nineteen different subjects like statistics, philosophy, sociology, and take all three sciences every single year.

SZ: How would you describe the total experience?

CK: The experience was one of a lifetime. It was absolutely amazing. I was able to experience life in another country for three weeks and learn about their culture. I was able to explore the city and try things I probably would never be able to do in New York. I even gained a new perspective on my life here in New York.

SZ: Would you recommend this trip to other marymount students?

CK: I would 10/10 recommend this trip to other Marymount students.

SZ: How much has your Spanish improved?

CK: I think my Spanish has improved a lot. It was hard talking only in Spanish at first, but I was able to get used to it and practice it every day. I also think my listening improved since I was only surrounded by Spanish at home.

SZ: Did you become close to anybody there?

CK: I don’t think I became extremely close to anybody only because it’s hard for me to become close to a person in only three weeks. However, I definitely made a couple of really nice friends who helped me a lot when I was in Medellín.

SZ: Were there any major changes that you had to get used to? With the culture or the schedule? Was it hard adjusting to the time difference?

CK: It was weird at first staying with a family not my own because I didn’t understand the family dynamic and how my host family preferred things. My host family was extremely nice to me, which helped with the adjustment and I felt welcomed and at home with them. It was also hard waking up at 5:30 every morning, but I also went to bed really early. I probably got more sleep in Medellín than I do during the regular school year. There was a one hour time difference, with Medellín behind New York, only because America was in Daylight Savings, so it wasn’t hard adjusting.

Venezuela in my Eyes: Perspective on Venezuela

By: Victoria Callizo, Editor Chief Online

News headlines such as “Venezuelan President dines on steak while his nation starves” and “polls find 30% of Venezuelans barely eat once a day” don’t even faze me anymore; it is the harsh reality we have all grown accustomed to. While my country is in the midst of a turbulent civil war, I cannot help but laugh at the ludicrousness of it all. I am in utter disbelief that anything remotely close to this could happen to the place I was blessed to call home thirteen years ago. The once prosperous country my ancestors had settled in generations ago has turned into a barren underworld– a state of crisis. Venezuela is dying.

People are denied their unalienable human rights, and, instead of fighting against this injustice, the government perpetuates it. How little people know about the situation or this once gleaming nation on a map is the saddest part of it all. Though many of the current problems initially began in 1999, with the election of Hugo Chavez into office, the recent severity started escalating in 2016. In 2016, the Supreme Court suspended the election of four legislators for “alleged voting irregularities”; three of these legislators were part of the opposition and one of the ruling party. When the opposition tried to fight back, the ruling party in response took over the entire National Assembly, shutting down the voices of many. Protests over this action began immediately, and even inspired the citizens to protest about other prevalent issues such as hyperinflation, economic war, food shortages, health assistance, oil output, crime, and poverty. In the United States, an issue of this caliber would have been addressed with immediate action, but in Venezuela, it has been almost ten years of zero resolution.

Since these facts might seem rather abstract, here’s a more personal example of how these issues affect all Venezuelans daily. Two weeks ago my grandfather was admitted into the hospital because his medication was laced--a common occurrence in Venezuela--and his brain stopped functioning properly. He fell unconscious at 12 am in the morning, and my grandmother called an ambulance, which did not reach their home until 4 am, four hours later. Meanwhile, my mother and I clung desperately to our phones here in the United States, only to realize regardless of how hard we tried, the connection would fail every five minutes or so because of the country’s terrible service. When the ambulance arrived, the medics did not have a stretcher, or any of the other basic medical equipment that belonged in an ordinary ambulance. Upon arriving at the hospital, no rooms or doctors were available, and he could not be helped until later in the afternoon, the next day - a miracle in itself. Ultimately, after receiving treatment, my grandfather survived because he’s always been a fighter, no matter the situation.

This is an everyday occurrence in Venezuela. The hospitals aren’t working, people are kidnapped on a daily basis, and food is all but nonexistent. My mother and I mail my grandparents a plethora of boxes filled with the daily nourishments we take for granted here in America once every couple of weeks, but we should not have to. Though I know it’s hard for anyone to really do anything, all I ask as a Venezuelan is that people still attempt to remain aware and conscious of this situation that might seem very foreign. Next time you order something at Neo’s, ask yourself if you’re really going to eat it. If you ever (God forbid) have to call 911, be thankful that they respond in a matter of seconds. If you’re ever receiving medical treatment, instead of thinking how annoying it is you have to be in a hospital, think at least you’re not being taking advantage of, and the people there are actually working desperately to help you get better instead of worse. It breaks my heart to think that my grandparents, my cousins, my father, my stepmom, and my sister have to endure this constant exploitation everyday, but that doesn’t mean I’ve lost all sense of pride in my country. I have pride in the survivors who evacuated and began a new life for themselves and their families, pride in the fighters who still reside ardently waiting for triumph, and pride in the future generations--such as mine: the ones who will one day return, and be the change for which the country so desperately longs.