Before starting my internship, I never thought I would learn so much about a city that I’ve lived 30 minutes away from for my whole life. I interned Manhattan – the most populated borough of New York City. Since I was 13 years old, I’d travel on the Long Island Railroad to explore the vibrant neighborhoods and develop hobbies that I still enjoy today. Nonetheless, I wasn’t exposed to the busy, fast-paced work environment that my internship allowed me to experience.
The work at my internship revolved significantly around Manhattan’s diverse communities. One day, my supervisor sent me out to complete an errand. I had to pick up licensing agreements in a small venue in the Washington Heights. Even though this area is home to Ivy-League school Columbia University, Washington Heights is one of the most undeveloped communities in Manhattan. The majority of residing families are categorized as low-income, most businesses offer limited employment opportunities, and the education system does not sufficiently serve students’ needs. Aside from the fact that Washington Heights may not be as glamorous as other parts of the city, it has an extremely rich, cultural background. The Harlem Renaissance, which took place only a few avenues way, had a significant impact on Washington Height’s development. Works of artists in music, dance, and design are the driving forces in the neighborhood because it upholds the people’s spirits and pride.
That week our dance company had been rehearsing at a studio on the Upper East Side. Compared to Washington Heights, I am more familiar with this part of the city because I had a few friends who lived here, attended receptions for networking events, and visited several museums and exhibits. Nonetheless, I never saw the “behind the scenes” aspect of this neighborhood. I was asked to drive dancers to the rehearsal’s location in a van packed with stage props and pieces of equipment. Stage crew members hustled out the front door to lug all the heavy stage equipment into the venue. I found them extremely professional, competent, and skillful. I spoke aloud out of curiosity, “I’ve never seen a group of people so enthusiastic and efficient about doing something for people that they could just do themselves.” An employee responded, “That’s how our employers trained us to be.” Unlike Washington Heights, the Upper East Side is very opulent and upscale. Employees earn higher wages, even for simple jobs, to bring exceptional service and represent their employers favorably.