J1 Scholar: A New York State of Mind with Alice Murphy


Hello again! It seems like years ago that I wrote my last blog post about my J1 experience! Time definitely moves at a faster pace here in New York, when Anne and I first arrived it seemed to be June forever, with two whole months ahead of us, and then all of a sudden it’s August! July has gone by so incredibly quickly, but thankfully that is because I have been very busy living the NYC dream.

I would recommend that anyone going on a J1 tries to keep a journal while they are here. The only way I have been able to take note of everything that has happened is by keeping my stories as a highlight on my Instagram @iamalicemurphy. This has been a great way to quickly remind myself of the highlights of my trip but hopefully at some point I can sit down and write it all down!

My job at Blue Marble ice cream has been a dream, I have been working throughout their various locations at Underhill Avenue, Governor’s Island and Summerstage. The managers and staff are all so welcoming and kind and the ice cream and coffee is delicious. The store in Brooklyn is always full of kids as it is surrounded by schools, parks and playgrounds. I now recognise the regular Moms and Dads who come in for their morning coffee and bagel and the play area in the back is always full, I am constantly having my heartbroken when one of the toddlers gives me a big ice cream covered smile. However, Summerstage has been my favourite location to spend the day. Everyday that I arrive to work I have no idea what is going to happen. For example, last weekend was OZYfest, where I saw Hilary Clinton speak about the US and Russia, Michelle Wolf shock the crowds with some hilarious stand-up, and after having to close up our stand due to the stormy conditions, I danced to Passion Pit in the rain! On other days I have worked while watching a Taiwanese music night, a celebration of New Orleans culture and music, and a performance from the Metropolitan ballet. Not a dull moment!

I have been very lucky to be in the city with many different groups of friends, two of which had their birthday on the same day this month, so of course we celebrated in style at the Monarch’s rooftop bar and then danced all night at the Roxy where I saw the most incredible performance from a Lady Gaga drag queen. Along with these my favourite places to visit have been the Brooklyn Mirage, Luckydog in Williamsburg (which combines two of my favourite things, dogs and pub gardens), the MET, the Highline, MUD cafe and the Village in general, the tiny beach at East river park which gives a full view of Manhattan and House of Yes.

So far I have done a lot of what I had hoped I would do here in New York, but I am still looking forward to seeing some theatre and exploring more areas of the city. As time flies by our departure date looms closer, however I am proud that throughout my trip I have embraced everyday fully and will continue to enjoy every last second of my time here. This final month will be bittersweet, as I leave behind some new friends and this fast-paced life that I have become accustomed to. However, I feel like this may not be the end of this love story and that I may return to this sweaty city next year on a Graduate visa, as it has completely taken my heart.

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