Author Archives: paulxikes

For this field report I was excited because it was much different than any other school assignment I’ve ever had. Also, I’m a very outgoing person so I didn’t really have a problem talking to strangers. This field report taught me a lot about communicating with different types of people in our society. During this assignment I tried to get people who would give me different reactions to make this report more entertaining. Luckily I was able to find some very interesting candidates who were willing to participate, whether they were happy about it or not. The first person I interviewed was an old man in my neighborhood. He seemed very intriguing and seemed like he had hundreds of stories waiting to tell me. I approached him  while he was cleaning his car. I knew this would be a great candidate for this project because we obviously shared an interest in cars and he had a 1972 de tommaso pantera. This is a very rare car that was sold by ford but was imported from italy. This was a great conversation starter for me and he turned out to be an extremely interesting guy. While we were talking i noticed that was very comfortable talking about his car with me especially because he knew how much i appreciates it. He actually told me the while story of how he originally bought the car and we actually had a great conversation. This was a very pleasant encounter with a stranger and he really taught me alot about the car. He also was a great example of how people with similar interests can go from strangers to friends after a 20 minute conversation.

The second person i encountered was a slightly different experience for me. I was in marillac eating and everyday i see the same guy walking aimlessly around the room and sItting down for a few minutes and then runs over to the soda machine as of he was looking for someone but never actually finds them. This was somewhat comical because he would literally do this everyday . I decided to just start a conversation with him without mentioning the assignment. He seemed way to happy to be talking to a stranger and was a little creepy. He was trying to become best friends with me and he was making me uncomfortable so i told him this was just for an assignment. This encounter was very awkward because this guy seemed way too excited to talk to strangers and had a weird tendency to walk around marillac staring at people. Nonetheless it was a very different and interesting encounter with a stranger.

For my last encounter i stopped and talked to a guy on the side of the road asking for change. People who do this have always brought curiosity to me so I decided to stop and ask him some questions. Usually these people are supposedly trying to raise money for kids with a disability or something but this one was different When  i asked him what he was asking money for he said “i’m not gonna lie im just broke and have nothing else to do”. This caught me bu surprise because moat people would never admit to doing something like that even if they were. I began to ask him why he was so honest with me and he Continued to tell me how hes embarrased but I resoected the fact that he was honest with me so I gave him a coubke of bucks and drove off. This encounter was another different encounter for me and even though the guy was embarrassed that he was asking for money I respected that. He was even willing to talk to me about his situation because of the way I responded to him and he seemed glad that someone wasn’t telling him he’s a loser and to get a job for once.

I learned a lot from the people I me for this report. The main thing I learned was that when encountering strangers you should always show them respect and they Will often give it in return. My three encounters were very different but the most interesting one was definitely the first. The most entertaining was definitely the second because the guy was a little too friendly and began to creep me out. Overall this field report taught me that when encountering strangers you should try and find common ground with them and you could always learn something from strangers.





Negotiating Public Space

Public Space is constantly being “negotiated”, and there are many social norms that we do not even realize exist. These social norms occur every day all around us and we never really take the time to notice them. A great place where public space is being negotiated would be right on St. John’s campus itself. These social norms vary through different parets of the campus and it fascinated me how much I never realized or took the time to acknowledge.

The first place I observed was Taffner Field House. Everyone goes to Taffner to play basket ball normally however there are designated times when one side of Taffner is used for volleyball. When this happened I noticed that there was a lot of tension between the regulars who came in hope to get a quick game of basketball in before or after class and the people who were playing volleyball. I thought this would not be a problem and that we were all old enough to understand the concept of sharing the gym, however this was not the case. Rather than allowing them to play volleyball in peace, the players usually just go onto the court and start shooting around completely disregarding the volleyball game that was going on. This lack of sharing of public space in Taffner really shocked me and I thought that students at our University would be mature enough to share the space for the 3 or so hours that the volleyball players had. Another norm that I discovered in Taffner was how the gym was segregated based on skill level of each individual player. The right side of the gym was mainly taken up by people who were really skilled and played a full court 5 on 5 game meanwhile the other side was taken up by people who were not as good and just wanted a quick little pick up game. The Public Space in Taffner was negotiated fairly poorly and unfairly to people who were not interested in playing basketball which fascinated me.

The next place I observed was the D’angelo Center, better known as DAC. I usually go to DAC to hangout and get some food and play some games in the basement. I noticed that people were much more friendly in DAC than in Taffner, probably because DAC is a place to hangout and eat while Taffner has a more competitive atmosphere. I saw that many people were friendly in the eating area and didn’t really see anything outstanding. Something I did see was if someone was sitting alone a table, and someone else couldn’t find as eat, there was no problem with them sitting at the same table with a complete stranger and from what I saw actually made a connection and became friendly with one another. I also went into the orientation leaders headquarters to see my Orientation leader, and in the offices I saw that everyone was very friendly and willing to help out each other with homework or even personal problems. Everyone was usually sitting around each other in the huge office and it was normal for them because they are all so close with each other. I saw some very positive social norms in DAC, and observed a lot of new friends being made.

Public space is shared in many different ways on St. John’s campus. It ranges from a seemingly hostile and competitive atmosphere in Taffner Field House, to a Friendly and social atmosphere in the D’angelo Center. It is extremely interesting how differently public space is shared in different parts of our campus and it shows how a sport or hobby can affect the overall sharing of space in certain areas.

Reaction Blog: Ellis Island

Ellis Island is definitely one of the most important places in New York City and played a huge roll in how the city developed into what it is today. Ellis Island was  basically the gateway into the city for immigrants from all over the globe in the late 19th century and the early 20th century. I’ve visited the Island multiple times but this was definitely the my best experience there. I’m not sure if I have any relatives that came through Ellis Island because my grandfather’s last name was most likely changed from the original when his relatives came to America.

The main reasons that this trip was the most enjoyable for me was because of the great weather we had, and the opportunity it gave me to socialize with my peers. The previous times I visited Ellis island it was rainy and cold which kind of took away from the experience of the ferry ride to the island and the Statue of Liberty didn’t look as majestic in the rain. Another thing I notice was different was that they had finished up the construction that was being done when I went there originally. I do have some complaints with the construction they did. I think they did a great job of making a museum out of the main building, however I think that it takes away from the experience seeing all the newly finished displays. I wish they would have left more original rooms to look into and explore. My favorite parts of the building were definitely the large hall and the sleeping quarters. These two exhibits were extremely eye-opening, especially the dorms where these massive bunk beds were shown. I was shocked at the living conditions in the buildings, and seeing the bunk beds made of metal did not seem to be the most comfortable living quarters for those immigrants.

Another thing that was different about this trip was different encounters I had with peple on the trip. On the bus ride to the island I got a chance to talk to some of my classmates who I had not talked to yet. Also, while standing on line to board the ferry there was a man playing music for the crowd and he decides to pick on me. He asked me if I had a “lady” and when I responded no he said he had a sister for me living out in Brooklyn who was about my size. This was definitely a moment I will remember from that trip because it was so funny and   random, and also made the long wait a little more bearable.

This trip to Ellis Island was definitely the best one. We got to take some great pictures of the statue of liberty and got to examine some of the great artifacts they had on display.

5 Pointz Reaction Blog

The class trip to 5 Pointz was very fun and interesting. Graffiti has always fascinated me and I always tried to do graffiti in my notebooks during class but it was never very good. Growing up in Long Island I was never really exposed to much graffiti so whenever I saw pictures of it online or saw it in the city I was always fascinated by it. I think everyone should visit 5 Pointz atleast once before they go on and judge graffiti and the people who do it. In class we discussed whether or not we thought graffiti was a crime and I think anyone who has visited 5 pointz atleast once would appreciate graffiti as an art rather than a crime.

I was very excited for our trip to 5 Pointz however the day did not start as planned because a few classmates and I missed taking the bus with Professor Hala and the rest of the class. Rather than just skipping the trip I offered to drive everyone there and it was definitely well worth it. On the way there we got to talk and get to know each other a little better and when we got to 5 Pointz we were all amazed. The graffiti on the walls at 5 Pointz are not the graffiti most people see on walls in queens and they are far more thought out then the simple bubble letters many people think of when they see graffiti. Our guide even explained to us the differences between wes and east coast artists. He also told us that they call themselves “aerosol writers” rather than artists. The tour guide taught me a lot of things I never knew about graffiti like all the different ways they do graffiti. He told us about using stencils to make graffiti and also tod us that osme pieces were done with paint rollers rather than spray cans. He showed a piece done in what looked like pointilism but was paint with drips.

The graffiti at 5 Pointz was amazing and was by far the best art I have ever seen. It is truly amazing what these aerosol writers can do with a spray can, paint rollers, stencils, etc. and my favorite wall of them all was the front of the building where they paid homage to the artists who did pieces there and also the artwork displayed was amazing. The tour guide was great and he was an expert on 5 pointz. He knew every piece and every artist who did them and was very informational. My personal favorite piece out of them all was definitely the one of Biggie’s face on the back of the building. Although it was hard to get a good glimpse of it on ground level, the piece was great and was about 40 feet tall. I will definitely be visiting 5 Pointz sometime soon especially because there are rumors that the warehouse will be torn down by fall 2013. I really hope the owner doesn’t decide to do this because 5 Pointz is more than just a graffiti covered building, it shows how graffiti has evolved and the amazing artrork that can be done on walls rather than a canvas.