Posted by: Gerry Martini | 21st May, 2015

Social Media at the GC + Facebook Page

Looking to find Graduate Center (GC) colleagues on social media? For those students who are just starting at the GC, there is a Facebook group where you can look for potential roommates (or just meet other new students).

While we are on this subject of social media, I should mention that the Office of Communications and Marketing has a few helpful pages for those of you who want to connect with your new community. First up, they have a list of Twitter and Facebook accounts for the departments, centers, and institutes at the GC. They have also put together a nice set of Social Media Guidelines as well as providing you with a list of Featured Social Media Accounts.

Finally, you should start taking a look at the CUNY Commons (the platform that you are viewing this article on). The Commons is a CUNY-only combination blogging/social media platform. Once you get your Graduate Center email address you can start signing up for groups, but for now you may want to browse; many of the groups are open for public viewing.

I hope to see you around the Twittersphere (you can find me at @TheGCGerry)!

Posted by: Christina Katopodis | 17th May, 2015

Urban Etiquette: The Unspoken Rules of Public Space in Manhattan

When friends ask me what New York is like, I tell them: “It’s tall.” The city has a dense population with businesses and apartment buildings stacked on top of each other, which can be a bit overwhelming at first. New Yorkers master the art of efficiency as a result. Packed subway car? Everyone take off your backpacks and hold them down by your legs to make more room. Crowded escalator? People stand on the right and walk on the left. Long line at the coffee shop and only 10 minutes before you’re late to work? Know what you’re going to order before you get to the register, or step aside and let someone else go while you decide what you want.

These are some unspoken rules that keep a busy, crowded city running smoothly. Some you would find in any city, but others are unique to New York—especially removing your backpack on the train. Having lived in Washington, DC prior to moving here, I’ve come to appreciate these habits as polite and thoughtful acts. Living in an urban space requires some awareness of what’s going on around you, even when you’re wearing headphones and not necessarily in a hurry to get somewhere. It’s nearly impossible to avoid touching strangers on a rocky subway ride or a crowded street corner, and getting used to that can be hard if you’re new to living in a city. The good news is that New Yorkers are experts at spacial awareness and if you’re polite to them, they’ll more often than not be polite back.

Some practical things to consider about your well-being and safety:
Wear closed-toed shoes. They’ll protect your feet in the off chance they get stepped on, and they’ll keep your feet clean when walking around a dusty part of the city. I’m a flip-flop fan myself but I stopped wearing them when I moved here. Also, look where you’re going. No one wants to sprain an ankle on a pothole or uneven sidewalk!

Keep your personal belongings close. Chances are you’ll have some kind of commute to the Graduate Center and need a bag to carry all your books and things. Choose a bag that sits comfortably under your arm or on your back and just be aware of your surroundings. Don’t put it down or leave it unattended, and make sure all your zippers are zipped.

Watch out for bikes. Cars and trucks are easy to hear and see coming, but many people commute to and from work on bikes—and fast. Keep an eye out, look for bike lanes, and look both ways for vehicles and bikes.

Don’t stop suddenly on the sidewalk. Many New Yorkers have someplace they’ve got to be and they walk FAST. If you stop suddenly in the middle of the sidewalk, someone might be walking at a quick pace behind you and may accidentally run into you. Instead, keep walking but slow down and stop on the side of the sidewalk to let others pass while you look at your phone or do whatever you need to do.

A series of images has been circulating recently that captures many of the above points and more, making light of New York City etiquette: It’s worth taking a look, even if you’re well-acquainted with urban life, just for laughs. These things will become second nature after a few months of living in the city. It’s all about being aware of your surroundings and being courteous to others. Now start exploring the city and enjoying all the things there are to do and see here!

Christina Katopodis
Second Year English PhD Student
Posted by: Angela Dunne | 13th May, 2015

Develop the Mind; Don’t Spurn the Body.

Although our beloved CUNY Graduate Center does not have a gym, the Wellness Center does offer *low cost fitness classes to registered graduate students. The courses consist of Yoga and Pilates for beginner and expert alike. The instructors that I’ve had are extremely friendly and accommodating to all levels. The courses do fill up fast, so be sure to visit the website and be aware of the registration dates.

In the case that you don’t get a spot or are looking for something a little more on the cardio side, there are other free fitness options in this city. The NYC Parks and Recreation Department has a program called Shape Up NYC that offers free fitness classes at various recreation centers in all five boroughs. The classes include Yoga, Zumba, Aerobics, African Dance, Kickboxing, Self-Defense and other body shaping activities. You don’t have to belong to a recreation center to attend these classes but in the case that you wanted a membership it costs only $25 a year for people 24 and under (unfortunately, a lot of us have missed the boat on that one).

As a CUNY Graduate Student there is also the possibility of membership to the Baruch Athletics and Recreation Complex and the John Jay College Cardiovascular Fitness Center. However, the annual fee for the ARC is $100 and for John Jay is $275, which are definitely not bad but I’d take advantage of the cheaper/ no cost options- at least until you’ve established how much time for fitness you will actually have as a grad student.

Another great option for free fitness is taking the stairs at the Graduate Center, instead of the elevators. I’m serious. Why not?



* For GC students, one registration period (6 classes) costs:

Yoga $15, Pilates $30


For more information visit:

Posted by: Christina Katopodis | 10th May, 2015

East Harlem: Culture and Community


Harlem is a great place to live. I live in the Graduate Housing building on 118th Street between Lexington & 3rd Avenue. My commute to the CUNY Graduate Center is easy, and I live within walking distance of several grocery stores, a Target, a community garden, a butcher that makes delicious chorizo, and some of the best Cuban food I’ve had in my life. Kids and young families walk around outside when the weather is nice, people wave to each other from across the street, and some elderly folks sit in the garden all day and talk. I’m a woman living in East Harlem and I’ve never felt unsafe. It’s wise to remain alert, but the fact of the matter is, there’s a lot of people around and as long as you don’t get involved in crime, it tends to stay away from you, too.

There’s a church across the street where they sing carols at Christmas and a fruit and vegetable vendor around the corner that sells the most amazing strawberries, lettuce, apples, you name it. Our building is brand new and rent is average for the neighborhood for a new building, the gym downstairs is well-equipped, and all the staff members are friendly and quick to attend to any questions or maintenance issues you might have. I’ve never lived in a better apartment community where you hear people talking philosophy over laundry or watching basketball downstairs. It’s a convenient location, the rooftop view is lovely, and it was a great introduction to living in New York City. I have friends who live nearby and they also love the area.
At 103rd and Lexington, you’ll find a great coffee shop called East Harlem Café  and a Mexican restaurant called El Paso. The Cuban restaurant that makes the best mojitos in the barrio is Amor Cubano on 110th & 3rd Avenue. There are also fantastic restaurants in Yorkville and the Upper East Side and plenty of coffee and sandwich shops to study in or meet friends. On the same block as the building is the Silberman School of Social Work with a cafe downstairs where you can get cheap coffee and breakfast, and two blocks away is the Family Health Center of Harlem (linked to Mount Sinai) where I go to the walk-in clinic and see my regular Primary Care Physician. The wait is short and the healthcare quality excellent.
If you like exercise, the jog to Central Park is quick and easy, and along 5th Avenue as you head downtown into the Upper East Side you’ll find the Metropolitan Museum and the Guggenheim. If you’re into race culture, definitely join the New York Road Runners (NYRR) and sign up for one of their half marathons! I go to the Super Runner’s Shop on Lexington & 89th Street. If you like biking, I often ride down to Central Park.

East Harlem is a great place to live, from 120th Street down to Yorkville and the Upper East Side. East Harlem is generally more affordable than other neighborhoods, from the rent to the groceries, and has been a great introduction, for me, to living in New York City. I would highly recommend it for anyone.

If you’ve applied for housing and are waiting on the wait list, it can sometimes be frustrating not hearing back or knowing exactly where you are on the wait list. I was on the wait list, and I got pulled up over the summer. I had a friend also on the wait list who they pulled up with me so we could be in a 2-bedroom together. The only way to contact GC Housing is through the webpage: You can call the Grad Center to ask about their housing, but they will direct you to this “Contact Us” page: It may seem surprising, but GC Housing will get back to you. My recommendation is to just be patient. Finding a place to live in NYC often happens at the last minute. What I did to find a roommate was I got an email list of new students from my program’s APO (assistant program officer) and emailed them personally to ask if anyone was moving to the city to start the program and looking for a roommate. My roommate and I are moving to Astoria or Brooklyn this July, so I know at least two spots will be opening!

Christina Katopodis
Second Year English PhD Student
Adjunct Lecturer at Hunter College
Posted by: Gwen Shaw | 8th May, 2015

Congratulations! You’ve been accepted. Now What?

Now that you are getting ready to come to the Graduate Center, ever wonder what’s going on here–right now? What sort of events and programming do we offer? When is the building closed for holidays, and how late is it open normally?

Stay in the loop and meet other current GC students, faculty, and alumni by liking our facebook page or following us on twitter. We use facebook and twitter to get the word out on building closures, health and wellness events, academic advising and career workshops, and, especially, student and faculty news, presentations, panels, accolades and awards.

Get the most recent and up-to-date information on GC events, student and faculty news, and more, by following us on twitter @GC_CUNY. or facebook.

Posted by: Gwen Shaw | 5th May, 2015

Why I love living in Brooklyn

Earlier this year, the blog featured a post on why you should live in Queens.  Queens is a wonderful place, with excellent museums, including the Queens Museum and PS1, as well as the Socrates Sculpture Park, and awesome Thai food like SriPraPhai in Woodside.  The post is very convincing, and enumerates Queens’ many advantages, such as close proximity the GC via many subway lines, and affordability.  However, I am unwavering in my commitment to another borough: Brooklyn.  Since moving to New York City seven years ago, I have lived in Upper Manhattan and, for the last five years, in Brooklyn; I fell in love with the county of Kings.  I don’t think I will ever want to live anywhere else in NYC, for a great many reasons.

First, Brooklyn’s arts and culture are formidable, with free concerts, art openings, pop-up galleries, and food fairs throughout the year.  We also host the first distilleries in New York City since Prohibition, and have several wineries, which are making Brooklyn their home base for wine production and retailing.  There’s also the Brooklyn Brewery, Sixpoint Brewery, Kelso and a burgeoning homebrew community. There are lots of places to get excellent food, including the borough’s own Fairway Market in Red Hook, Sahadi’s in Brooklyn Heights (better than Zabar’s!) and various shops and stores by neighborhood.  In addition, the borough is one of the most accessible by bicycle!  Brooklyn’s neighborhoods are distinctive and relatively discrete, and most importantly, easily navigated by dedicated bike lanes that can get you from Brooklyn, to Manhattan (if you are comfortable riding there), and back—hey, why give the MTA all your money if you don’t have to?  (NYC and Bike CUNY have resources on safe riding, and even a savvy cyclist road safety course!)

In terms of entertainment/distractions, Brooklyn has the newly finished Barclays Arena, host to the Nets, as well as the Brooklyn Cyclones, excellent in their own right but also a farm team to the Mets.  There are also excellent music venues of all stripes, from the live-music Mecca Zebulon, to Jalopy (featuring old-time music, Americana, and more) to the Bell House in Gowanus, The Knitting Factory and Music Hall of Williamsburg in Williamsburg, and other independent venues in Greenpoint, Bushwick, Ditmas, and beyond.

Finally, the neighborhoods and architecture are beautiful.  Brooklyn is often known for its “Brownstone Crescent,” an architectural feature sweeping across north/central Brooklyn from Brooklyn Heights, to BoCoCa (Boerum Hill, Cobble Hill, and Carroll Gardens), through Bedford Stuyvesant, and south through Park Slope and beyond.  Brownstones are beautiful all year round, but, covered in snow make the sometimes-harsh winters in NYC bearable because of their beauty.  Not to get too poetic about this, Brooklyn is also as affordable as you want it to be; neighborhoods in North Brooklyn can be more expensive, as can other neighborhoods near Downtown Brooklyn, but deals abound, especially if you take the time to look and go through a no-fee broker. (I have used and would recommend Rapid Realty.)  Other affordable neighborhoods, popular with students and recent graduates, include Crown Heights, near the express stop for both the 2,3 and 4.5 train lines at either Franklin Avenue or Utica, as well as neighborhoods such as Prospect-Lefferts Gardens, across the park from Park Slope, Ditmas Park, located near Victorian Flatbush in all its turn-of-the-century glory, Sunset Park, and quiet, family oriented Bay Ridge (albeit a far trek on the R train).

What do you think?  Did I miss any neighborhoods that stand out to you?  Let us know in the comments section below!

Posted by: Marisa Panzani | 1st May, 2015

Registration and Orientation information

In case you are thinking about registration, please be advised that new Graduate Center students will not begin registration until August 19th.   Registration materials will be sent out in early August and they will come to you by email.  Please make sure that you update us if you make any changes to your email address between now and then.  Send those updates to prior to registering.  After you have registered, any updates to your contact info should be directed to

New Student Orientation is scheduled for Tuesday, August 25th.  More details will be coming in a later post.

And the first day of classes is August 27th.  You can see the full academic calendar at





Posted by: Gwen Shaw | 30th Apr, 2015

Doctoral Certificate Programs at the GC

Although getting  your Ph.D. might seem like enough work (for a lifetime…), the GC offers several unique opportunities for additional bells and whistles to add to that fancy degree, like Doctoral Certificates! These certificates allow you to engage in interdisciplinary research in areas that are related, but outside, your home discipline. These doctoral certificates are approved by the state and give you the experience to work and teach in interdisciplinary fields for which there is no Ph.D. degree at the Graduate Center.

You can earn a doctoral certificate in the following areas:

Each of these programs consists of about five classes, or 15 credits: two or three core courses and two electives from anywhere at the GC (often these come from your home discipline, but don’t have to). Depending on the courses taken and the certificate program, you might even be able to use a cross-listed course twice for two different–yet applicable–certificates! This means that your New American Cinema class might count for both the Film Studies elective AND the American Studies elective! Use the links above to contact the Certificate Program with any questions or for more information.

So why bother? The certificates give you a theoretical and practical foundation through core courses in an interdisciplinary field of interest. In addition, because they are recognized by both the GC and the state, they appear on your transcript, which may come in handy when you’re on the market [for a *fingers crossed* tenure-track job]. Some of these interdisciplinary subject areas are also ones that are difficult to find in doctoral programs (although not impossible), so the doctoral certificate is an excellent way to demonstrate your interest in multiple areas at a doctoral level while earning your Ph.D. in one of the 30+ programs available at the GC. Consider it an enhanced non-related minor in a different discipline.

The upshot: If you have the time and desire, the certificate programs are a great way to broaden your knowledge and credentials to cover a wider range of interesting, interdisciplinary work. You’ll meet people from many different programs at the GC in your core classes, and learn new perspectives and methodologies.

Ask me; I’m earning five certificates, both for my own edification and research, as well as for my future job prospects. It does increase time-to-degree: I’m taking an extra year of coursework to finish everything (plus I came in without a M.A., so I am not as pressed for time as some of my colleagues who entered with one). That said, if you can spare the extra couple of classes, the certificate programs are a wonderful way to interact with colleagues from many different fields and work on complex problems with new, different, and exciting tools.

Gwendolyn Shaw is a fourth-year doctoral student in the Art History Program at the Graduate Center. 

Posted by: Gerry Martini | 28th Apr, 2015

Why You Should Move to Queens

Moving to New York is quite daunting if you are an out-of-towner, as I was. The city is huge, expensive, and haphazardly designed; how’s a non-native New Yorker to know what neighborhoods to look at apartments in? Well now you’ll know (because I am telling you!) what I learned by chance: you should move to Queens.

Forget Manhattan, especially anywhere south of Central Park, right away. This is graduate school—you don’t have the cash for that sort of thing. Brooklyn has been the place du jure for grad students, but I have found the neighborhoods less accessible by the subway (in the areas that you will be able to afford at least) to the Graduate Center, more expensive, and a little too hipster-ish for my taste. Plus there are all those buildings with that ugly plastic siding. Who thought that was a good idea?

Queens, on the other hand, is slightly more affordable (though admittedly that is slowly changing in some areas). Many of the neighborhoods that I know best (like Long Island City, Astoria, Sunnyside, Woodside, Jackson Heights, Elmhurst, etc.) are a single subway line (either the 7, N, or Q, depending) away from the Graduate Center, making for a total commute of less than 45 minutes or even a half an hour. Plus there are more besides these that make for a short commute as well (the F and M lines are also easy ones).

Queens is also the most diverse county in the nation, so we’ve got some killer food of all stripes; you name it, we’ve probably got it. And it’s just generally invigorating being around that variety of people (when we were first looking at apartments in our neighborhood, we heard at least six languages on the street in one afternoon on a walkabout).

I take a lot of pride in the neighborhood that I live in—in embracing it and all it has to offer. We go to the farmer’s market every Saturday chat with many other shoppers (and our favorite vendors); we frequent our neighborhood shops with their local owners; we eat at the many restaurants that make it such a great locale. But regardless of whether you take my advice and choose one of the neighborhoods in Queens, these are the sorts of things that you should do when you move to any area of NYC. Being integrated into your local community—not just the academic community in which grad students often find themselves totally absorbed—will really help you enjoy this fantastic city all the more. And a happy grad student is a productive grad student.

Posted by: Marisa Panzani | 23rd Apr, 2015

NY State Residency

If you were notified that you are coded as an out-of-state resident, but you have indeed been living in NY state for the last year (since August 28th, 2014), then you need to document your residency with the registrar’s office.  There is a form to fill out that can be found here.

If you are a US citizen but not a NY resident, make sure that you also look at the NY State Residency form in order to gather the necessary documents to establish residency by August 27th of 2015 in order to qualify for NY State residency in your second year of study.

Questions about residency should be directed to the Registrar’s Office.

We look forward to seeing you in the Fall!

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