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Upper East of New York City and its Suburbs
This essay mainly gives an account of my personal life experience in living in the Upper East of New York City. The first portion of this work gives an account of the geography, economy, population, political and the social set up of this zone. The second portion on the other hand explains my experience in the Hunter University and how it influenced my life in several aspects such as leadership, intercultural interaction, language, drama and art.
Upper East of New York City and its Suburbs
The Upper East of New York City is the region which covers from the 59th street to 96th street and lies between the East River and the 5th Avenue Central Park. Historically, the region was known as a famous farm land and market garden. From 1837, the region became the most useful German centre of influence. By 1870s, this farmland had been inherited by James Lenox who eventually divided the land to several household owners and used the rest of the land to build the famous Lenox Library on the south west edge. He further donated part of it for the construction of Presbyterian Hospital that is situated between the 70th and the 71st streets (Labov, 2006).
Geography and Demographics
Generally, the region of Upper East Side of New York City is also referred to as the East Harlem. According to the census conducted in 2000, the region is occupied by more than two hundred thousand people who are mostly the Manhattan Community. This makes the area the most populated in the entire New York City (Sassen, 2001).
Politics, Economy and Social Life
The Upper East of New York City is one of the few areas in New York which is occupied by the Manhattan. These are mostly dominated by republicans who exceed twenty percent of electorate. In other surrounding areas, the republicans are almost equal to the democrats. This region is also known for being a home of many political activists and supporters. For instance, in the 2004 general election, the region generated many people who financially supported the presidential campaigns (Wilentz, 2004).
Economically, the region has been known to be recording the highest cost of life in the entire United States. The cost of housing alongside other basic human needs have been on the increase even in the recent past. This has made the majority of low income earners to settle in the few public housing projects at the south of the region (Labov, 2006).
In terms of transportation, the region is mainly served by one subway line and several local bus routes. This has made the area to experience serious congestions in the only subway and the bus routes, causing a serious need for improvement. Besides these, this region also hosts several socio-cultural institutions. For instance, the region has several museums that are not only famous in the United States, but also in the entire world (Wilentz, 2004).
Just like other areas in the New York City, the Upper East is widely a multi-religious center. Several Christian churches ranging from the Roman Catholic, Protestants as well as Pentecostal movements occupy the region. Besides these, other leading religions of the world such as Islam, and Judaism also form part of the religiosity of this region (Wilentz, 2004).
Experience in Upper Eastern New York City
My most memorable experience in the Upper Eastern part of New York City was the experience with living in the big and lofty apartments that are only associated with the affluent. My family was not as rich as many perceived it. However, just mentioning that you are from Upper Eastern, especially in Manhattan would attract looks of ascribed affluent status. The facilities in the apartments such as swimming pools, playing fields, schools and leisure resorts particularly made my life in when I lived in the envied apartments. This is the place where I learnt to interact with children from other superficially affluent backgrounds.
Although I knew that there was a huge class difference in terms of my family background relative to the backgrounds of my playmates, I took this opportunity to learn more from them. This left a skill in me that I still love to date. The skill I learnt is riding bicycle and playing basketball. As we played with other children in the playing courts, I learnt to dribble the basketball, an experience that was to later form part of me. Although most children from the upper class living in the apartments in Upper Eastern New York City did not value education and often managed the family businesses, I resolved to continue with my education although I never dropped my basketball and bicycle riding skills either. These skills enabled me represent my school in the girls basketball games leading to an award of a trophy for being the best girl in dribbling and scoring in basketball games.
Although I started and actually learnt the basketball skills through interaction with the affluent peers in my neighborhood, the affluent neighborhood was never free of discrimination. Thus while at the level of children and peer interactions, there seemed to be no class differences, the parents often reminded their sons and daughters to interact with children who are equal to them in terms of class. Thus, at times, my peers could be summoned by their caretakers and asked not to interact with me. So great were the differences that even during political campaigns, the differences in class often manifested as each class sought to champion their course by choosing one of their own for political representation. What is most interesting was that during sports competition, I represented families from the entire state and my star in basketball brought reputation that both the medium and upper class in the Upper Eastern of New York city wanted to identify with. Thus when it came to positive achievement by the racial minority and the middle class, the upper class wanted corporate identification with the successes but the case was not the same when it came to other forums. In school, church, shopping centers, the differences between the middle class and the propertied upper class was quite imminent. Thus the Manhattan community, though exposed me to some positive encounters, it also introduced me to a clear observation of the true manifestation of real social stratification in our society.
Upper East of New York City is one of the most populated, political, and cultural and religious centers of the entire New York City. The experience I had in Manhattan introduced to some of the memorable moments, especially the explicit manifestation of real social stratification. Class uniformity was only visible when the low and middle class had exemplary achievements like being celebrities. Without such, one can argue that the Upper Eastern of New York City is the most cosmopolitan and most socially heterogeneous. Nonetheless, the skills I learnt while living in the Upper Eastern of New York City are most memorable to date.