This week we profile Untapped Cities intern, Jenna Bagcal, a graduate student at the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. Her pastimes include learning instruments, trying new food and entering the Hamilton digital lottery. She’s convinced she’s going to win one of these days.
What’s your favorite Untapped spot in your city?
I’ve lived in the Bronx my entire life, and I think that a lot of places in there are pretty “Untapped” because people have preconceived notions about what the borough is like without ever having visited. I’d have to say that Pelham Bay Park is one of my favorite Untapped spots, particularly the part of the park that has the Victory Memorial honoring soldiers who served in World War I. It’s really tranquil and quiet.
Favorite piece you’ve written for Untapped?
I’ve enjoyed many of the pieces I’ve written, but I’d have to say that one of my favorites is Colorful Swings that Play Musical Instruments at NYC’s Brookfield Place. There’s this swing installation at the Arts Brookfield Building that has 10 swings that create beautiful melodies when people are swinging in-sync. It’s one of the coolest interactive art pieces I’ve seen, and I got to try them myself, which was a lot of fun.
What’s the most memorable thing that happened while writing for Untapped Cities?
I went to the Museum of the City of New York to see Mel Rosenthal’s ‘In the South Bronx of America‘ and I had the opportunity to meet his wife, who was viewing the photos on the same day. It was great to hear her perspective on her husband’s photos and his process while taking them.
What’s the most surprising and/or valuable thing you’ve learned while at Untapped Cities?
Everything I’ve learned about the history of New York City has been surprising. I learn new things all the time about the place I’ve lived in my entire life. For example, did you know that there are pieces of the Berlin Wall in New York? As far as valuable skills, I’ve learned to become a better writer for the web. It’s a different style from what you learn in Journalism school because there’s so much information to synthesize in just a few lines.
What’s your favorite Untapped place you’ve visited while traveling? Where do you want to visit next?
I don’t think that enough people visit Belgium, the country is so charming! It’s like something out of a story, with its cobblestone streets and small buildings. I went to Brugge and Brussels, but I’d like to go back and explore other cities. Seeing the Mannekin-Pis, or Peeing Boy fountain was a lot of fun. Sometimes they dress him up in outfits. The next place I’d like to visit is Portugal.
What’s your favorite obscure fact about your city?
I mentioned the pieces of the Berlin Wall, but another interesting obscure fact is that Stuyvesant Street in the East Village is the only true East-West running street we have in New York City. I actually think that the history of New York’s street planning is fascinating.
Craziest thing you’ve ever done?
Riding Kingda Ka at Six Flags, which is still considered the tallest roller coaster in the world. I like doing things that get my adrenaline flowing.
Best celebrity sighting?
Once when I was on the train, I saw Bonnie Wright who plays Ginny Weasley. I was on the L train to Williamsburg and my boyfriend and I were having a debate about whether or not it was her. We were trying to look at her through our periphery so that she wouldn’t know we were talking about her, especially because we were less than five feet away.
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