NEW YORK –
New York City, though agriculturally barren, blossoms with literary inspiration. In my harvest for column ideas, I have reaped a few, but one stands out: New York is a city of contradictions. This may be a bit obvious, but I believe my observations have a more salient meaning, both for me and all New Yorkers.
This summer, I am interning at two organizations: a trade association for marketers and the New York Press. As professional as each internship sounds, neither is paid, and such is the case for many of the interns in the city. The employment of free or cheap labor, commonly associated with underpaid immigrants and lower class workers, has an odd connotation in New York: wealth. In New York, interning is a sign of wealth; those who are paid the least have parents who earn the most.
Beyond my occupational oddity, there are the regional oddities. Neighborhoods in the city are loosely arranged by zip code. In my area code, 10021, decadence meets elegance on the Upper East Side. Women clad in Armani tread urban sidewalks in Manolo Blahniks, walking dogs clad in Louis Vuitton. Quaint caf