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A Learning Experience in New York City: Marcus ’19 at Bushwick Social in NYC

This one was a bit tough. At some point, it was almost inevitable that I would lose my job and panic. Well, it finally happened, and I made it through not-too-scathed but certainly a bit humbled by the experience.

I worked at Bushwick Social, the restaurant with a double identity: trendy bagel-and-coffee spot in the daytime, and unprofitable, overpriced-for-the-area, under-priced-for-the-ingredients dining by night, both with quite a cast of characters. I was titled a porter, but my duties included whatever needed to be done, whether that be taking in the food shipments or going to get the chef’s phone fixed on a slow day.

I was in the “Phenomenology of Place” class, and that meant I was thinking about my environment. It was the reason I had this co-op, the chance to be in The City That Never Sleeps, and, in my romanticized mind, it was the reason to go without housing or a job to live out the American Dream and work. I ended up mostly depressed in my own room, a condition that left me with a lot of time to think about the transience of living and how strange it was that I wanted always to be in the opposite of whatever situation I was in. I lived in the place where the visual has always been trumped the acoustic, in a messy sound space that was constantly under assault by car horns, trains, and motorcycle revving.

For me, though, “place” as a concept is incomplete without its verb form. I find a lot of my comfort in “place” with my ability *to* place, to classify things in my environment, and make sure things can just be… correct. Having an idea where things are going to be is one step on the trek between being in a place and truly living.

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