Monthly Archives: December 2006

Final Project Showcase: Blogger’s Guide to Life

As many of you know, I created this New York State of Mind blog for my final project.   My internship this semester at the venture capital-backed Oddcast, Inc. inspired me to get this blog up and running (so too did certain Oddcast co-workers…thanks Charlie!) .  Quick note about Oddcast: Oddcast creates very successful viral marketing campaigns for companies like ESPN, American Express, and Disney.  For two awesome examples of Oddcast’s work, check out  Starbucks Its Red Again and Purina Doggie Mail. OK, back to my blog:

This fall, my main project at
Oddcast consisted of marketing the company’s animated character-based services to influential technology-minded business bloggers.  This involved first figuring out which bloggers were influential, and second, contacting these bloggers and convincing them to use Oddcast’s products and Header_logo
services.  In the process of looking over hundreds of blogs, I learned a lot not only about communications technology and online business, but also about blogging in general.

After my time at Oddcast, I feel that it is becoming more and more of a standard for individuals
and companies to have live, dynamic online spaces where prospective employers and clients Starbucksex
can go  to learn about  the company or individual’s day-to-day operations, writings, and thoughts.   This is where a blog can be very helpful.  Essentially, a blog is "a regularly updated

journal published on the web" (thank you Technorati).  The
key difference between a blog and a run-of-the-mill website is this regular updating.  A blog is a live, dynamic space for self-expression. 

Over the past few months, I’ve very much enjoyed creating and facilitating this New York State of Mind blog.  The blog has ended up serving as both a Duke in New York online community space and also as a PR and marketing vehicle for the program.  Since it worked out well this semester, we’ve decided to try and make New York State of Mind a permanent fixture in the Duke in New York program.   

  In order to make the blog sustainable, I wrote up a Blogger’s Bible as part of my final project.  My goal with the Duke in New York Blogger’s Bible was to make Bloggersbibleannotations_1
it possible (and easy) for a

student with no knowledge of
HTML coding or web design to become the new manager of New York State of Mind.   

If you’re interested in creating a TypePad blog of your own, or if you’re interested in learning more about either this Duke in New York blog or the ideas behind blogging in general, take a look at this Blogger’s Bible!  The document is eleven pages long (including diagrams), and there is an annotated bibliography at the end detailing some of my sources, so it may take a minute to download, but it should be worth checking out.  Hope you find it helpful!   

Download DukeinNY_BloggersBible_KristinaWilson.doc


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Marianna’s Restaurant Recommendations: Part II

Here are a few more excellent restaurant recommendations from New Yorker and Duke University professor Marianna Torgovnick:

Madison Avenue at 24th Street (inside Met Life building)

Dinner in the main dining room will break the bank, but lunch (2 courses, $29) won’t–and this is a wonderfully inventive an delicious Indian-based (but not really Indian) food.  I love almost everything on their menu.  If that’s still too much, try the main level Bread Bar where you can eat as much or as little as you like. 

Gramercy Tavern (the lounge)
20th between Park Avenue South and Fifth
the Bar Room at The Modern
(near MoMA on West 53rd Street)

Both of these places stay open all day and will gladly serve you water or iced tea along with mouth-watering food by Danny Meyer.  At Gramercy Tavern, try the Fish Stew or the Vegetable Panini (@$20, $14).  The Bar Moma_red
Room will cheerfully serve you just one course at any time of the day and the courses range from $11-17.  Try the Alsatian Tarte (a refined and delicate pizza two can share), the dorade with cockles, the lamb with noodles–all sublime. 

69th between Columbus and CPW

The best casual eating near our uptown classroom.  The lounge area, which is small, will serve you water or tea or soda along with one delicious course: the smoked trout with blini, the spaghetti with lobster, the hanger steak are all winners.  They also have a two course $25 weekend brunch or lunch.  Both bargains and great food.  My favorite close to home–though I eat at others whenever I’m nearby!"

Wow.  Thanks Marianna!  I’m getting hungry just reading these recommendations.   For more restaurants to try, check out our December 8th post for more recommendations from Marianna. 

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Final Project Showcase: Poetry and the City

Joining the likes of Walt Whitman, Langston Hughes, and Bob Dylan, Duke in New Yorker Liliana Costa is writing a series of NYC-inspired poems as part of her final project.   Beyond writing her own poetry, Lili has been researching New York City poetry past and present. 

Dylan1As part of her portfolio, Lili faciliated the creation of a collaborative group poem entitled "Our First New York Moment".  Here’s a word from Lili, plus the collaborative poem.  Check it out!:

"Some of my influences and inspirations are Li-Young Lee, Sara Teasdale, Langston Hughes, and Federico Garcia Lorca.  Some of my favorite poems include "The City in Which I Loved You" by Li Young-Lee, "Travel Log" by John Kelly, "Dawn" by Federico Garcia Lorca, "Lives of Rain" by Nathalie Handall, and "Union Square" by Sara Teasdale.   If you’re interested, a great place to find poetry readings in the City is at:

I came up with the idea to create a collaborative poem when I came across a poem written about 9/11 that contains 110 verses, each written by a different person (the World Trade Center was 110 stories high).  This poem can be found at:

The collaborative poem was a great way to include the class in my project.  The idea to theme the poem around "Our First New York Moment" came from a monologue in Jose Riviera’s Sonnets for an Old Century.  The Riviera monologue is also themed around "the first time", and I felt it was very appropriate given that it is our first time living in the City.   The collaborative poem came out great.   It’s funny, and I think it really captures great moments when we experienced truly being a New Yorker".

Our First New York Moment
The first time someone yelled at me in the
The first time I navigated the bus system.
The first time I stepped out of the subway onto
a street of historic cast-iron apartments.
The first time I worked in an office.
The first time I yelled at someone for walking
too slow.
The first time I saw the tree at Rockefeller
The first time I knew what Madison Square Park
The first time I fell and was lifted up by a
colorful new friend.
The first time I ate New York style pizza at
2am from the open air pizzeria on the corner.
The first time I attended a brilliant
theatrical reading in a tucked away church basement on the upper west
The first time I realized I went to the theater
five times in seven days.
The first time I counted walking around as
The first time I ate at a papaya-hot dog stand.
The first time I went up three escalators at a
K-mart—so many floors!
The first time I had brunch outside with a
great friend on the upper west side, watching the baby carriages go by.
The first time a crazy woman threw a hot dog at
my face.
The first time I collided into somebody and I
didn’t feel sorry.
The first time a jackhammer kept me awake.
The first time I gave directions.
The first time I gave directions to a tourist.
The first time that a tourist asked me for
directions and I could actually tell them where to go.
The first time someone on the street asked me
for directions and I could tell them how to arrive at their desired location.
The first time I gave a tourist wrong
directions, just for fun.
The first time I felt the sense of belonging.
The first time I truly experienced New York as
my home.



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Review from Prof. Jeff Storer: Dark Matters

On Thursday night, we saw Dark Matters, a new play by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa, directed by Trip Cullman at the Rattlestick Theater.  Here is an informal review by Jeff Storer.  The fabulous constellation pic is from him too.  Let us know what you think!!:

"Ok.  So here’s my take on Dark Matters.

I didn’t love it.  But it prompted a lot of conversation between my friend and I.  (Peter really liked it.  I thought the actress who played the mother was terrific.)  So it made me wonder what might make it work for me.

I think it would have been interesting if the actor who played the son had really been, or been able to play, 16.  Even with all of the character’s bravura and drinking/accused drug use, etc. , if he had been more vulnerable, I think the ultimate need to protect him would have helped to make more sense out of the play.  I felt like the actor who played the boy ‘pushed’ way too hard.  Too much hand to brow angst.  Telling us he was upset, rather than just living in the behavior of a young kid dealing with a hard to understand move from the city to the mountains and (the possibility of?) having a promiscuous mother and an abusive father.  I think he should have been the one in the middle of the story, torn by the behavior of the Mother and the Father.  Ultimately finding the balance in the performances is the director’s job.  What do you think?"

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Scary Mary Poppins

Hey everyone,

I don’t know about you guys, but I felt that the performance of Mary Poppins the other night was a little lacking in psychodrama. John found this movie on that I think is a little closer to what we would have enjoyed.


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Good Eats: Restaurant Recommendations from Marianna!

As a born-and-bred New Yorker with a passion for fine cuisine, Professor Marianna Torgovnick
knows more than a few fabulous NYC restaurants and bakeries.  Here are
a few juicy recommendations, straight from Marianna herself.  I can’t wait to try all these places out!!:

"Bruno’s Bakery
La Guardia Place between West 3rd and Houston:
class at NYU or after a day of holiday shopping in the Village, give
some thought to fabulous cappuccino and mouth-watering pasteries at
Bruno’s Bakery.  Recommended items: the butter cookies, especially the
pignoli (pine nut) cookies, the cannoli (hard shells filled with a
sweet ricotta-based cheese), the baba rum, the fruit tarts.  While
you’re here, the panettone (sweet brunch bread) or nougat candy makes a
good holiday gift.  And the coffee is excellent too. 

If you’re on the East side, Valerio’s serves the same stuff and is also wonderful: Second Avenue @ East 11th or 12th.

The Comfort Diner
West 23rd Street between Fifth and Sixth (North side of the street)
order anything fancy here.  Just go basic with grilled cheese or
chicken soup or mac and cheese or something similar.  Do not miss the
mix-it-yourself eggcreams (an Italian soda gone to Heaven): chocolate
is the New York classic; I love vanilla.  Excellent milkshakes here and
Lime Rickeys–and if you don’t know what Lime Rickeys are, your parents

Blue Smoke

East 27th between Lexington and Park Avenue South

A little bit of the South in your mouth.  Several varieties of ribs
and BBQ; great and cheap mac and cheese, superb deviled eggs–none of
it expensive, so that a group can share and come out at around
$10/person.  A fun room over a jazz club called Jazz Standard.  A great
bet for brunch, lunch, or dinner since the menu is not more expensive


Tamarind Tea Room

22nd between Fifth and Park

Delicious sandwiches and Indian pasteries on the cheap ($10 for the sandwich; $15 for both, including tea).  Huge selection of teas served in a cute room.  They will also serve from the main restaurant menu, if you ask.  Try the Tamarind Special Nan–stuffed with nuts and dried fruit and a meal in itself.  That main room, Tamarinds, is a lively place (ask for one of the cabana-like
booths for 4-6) and a great buy for lunch, when there is a 3 course menu for about $25. "

Thanks Marianna!  I’ve only posted half of Marianna’s recommendations here–look for a Recommendations: The Sequel post soon!!

Check out this picture of some of us eating at Turkish Cuisine (also very good, 9th between 44th and 45th) last week:



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Final Project: Celtic Music, New Tunes!!

Last week, Duke in New Yorker and Riverdance aficionado Tom Rourke presented his final project to the class.  He is studying the development of the Celtic musical genre from the eighteenth century through today, along with Celtic music in New York City, and he is learning to play Celtic guitar.  In the past few decades, guitar has become a part of the modern hybrid form Celtic Rock.

During the mid-1800s, New York City became a hotbed for Celtic music due to extensive Irish and Scottish immigration to the US.  Reels, jigs, and marches abounded.  Today, the NYC Celtic music scene is less vibrant, but good music can still be found in concert halls and at Celtic fiddle festivals.   Also, the numerous Irish pubs around the City play fun, mostly hybrid rather than traditional, Celtic music nearly every weekend.      

Listen some of Tom’s favorite Celtic tunes in the list on the left sidebar!!  Celtic_music2_2
Just press the PLAY button next to the song you want to hear and enjoy!  Here’s a list of what’s posted:  "Music for a Found Harmonium", "The Rogues of Scotland", "American Wake" from Riverdance, "Clueless" by Wolfstone, "Merry Blacksmith, Swallow’s Ta" by Irish Descendants, "When I’m Up" by Great Big Sea, and "Legend of the Celtic Fiddle" by Wolfstone.  Also, I threw in a couple of my own Flogging Molly tunes ("Drunken Lullabies" and "Another Bag of Bricks"), they count as Celtic too, right?

Listen to the tracks and let us know what you think!!!  (again, the celtic songs are on the left sidebar.  on the right sidebar, you’ll find some pretty sweet Brazilian tunes, [title of show] tracks, and, of course, Billy Joel’s "New York State of Mind"). 

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