Thursday, May 5, 2011

Rowdy kids and lutefisk!*

*(As my brother would say, that would be a great name for band.)

Two more Brooklyn Paper stories of mine are online!

Celebrate Boklepp! Norwegian parade comes to Bay Ridge on May 15

This one was actually the first story I wrote for the paper, but since the event isn't until May 15 it was held until today. I certainly learned a lot more about the history of Norwegian immigrants in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn than I had ever known before.

Town vs. gown! Locals battle Clark Street 'animal house'
Or, the New York Post version: Town vs. gown! Locals battle Clark Street 'animal house'

I didn't do this one by myself, I just helped. It was a lot of fun though. My assignment was to go down to 55 Clark Street, home to a college residence used by multiple colleges, and talk to students and neighbors about noise complaints. Apparently, the college kids there have been partying and playing music and throwing cans out into the street. And this is a pretty nice area of Brooklyn, so the rowdiness is both surprising and extra annoying.

Anyway, so I found people to interview, and gave all my quotes to Gary Buiso, one of The Brooklyn Paper's professionals, to write the story. And I like what he did with it, and it was cool that I came up with some usable stuff! (Kendra Stanchfield, Julia Sommer, Peter Myers, Cesar Moneda, Elliot Palatnik and Anton Landauer were the ones in the story who I talked to.)

I got to the address at about 9 am, and for a while I was having a lot of trouble getting people to talk to me. Everyone was in a hurry and didn't want to talk to me (I felt like a missionary in Argentina again). But then, I narrowed my search down to people who were 1) walking their dog, because they probably aren't going to work and probably live nearby, or 2) people who were standing and not walking. I also stood outside the residence door and grabbed a few students on their way in or out - I guess they weren't as busy as the subway-bound employed people. And my plan worked! I made a goal to not call the newsroom until I had talked to four neighbors and four students, and I ended up talking to five of each. And I ended up coming up with enough good stuff for Gary to use.

Things are going better here. I know last week I probably just sounded like I was complaining. But really, I think I just had a lot to get used to (and of course still do). I should have known, of course, but no matter how obvious it was that things would be a lot different here it still hit me hard. But I'm getting more comfortable, and I'm learning a lot.

And whether or not I ever really get used to things, it's great to see my name in print at a New York City newspaper.

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