Current Obsession: Broad City

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Photo Credit: Broad City

FROM THE DESK OF: Aiza

I am obsessed with Broad City on Comedy Central. Basically the show is about two 20-something year olds navigating their life and other adventures in New York. The creators of the show, Abbi Jacobson and Illana Glazer, have captured life in the city when you are still young, broke and free. Despite moving from New York about ten years ago, little details throughout Broad City episodes remind me of my life back then. The only difference between these characters’ circumstances and the life I lived years ago would be unlimited texting and easy access to the Internet (my roommates and I didn’t have Internet back then, we just tried to pick up neighbors’ unlocked Wi-Fi). Does that mean the city stays the same all these years? Just insert a 25 year old? I don’t know but Broad City takes me down a memory lane that I love and miss.

Episode 210: St. Mark’s

Summary: Abbi and Illana celebrate Illana’s birthday on St. Mark’s Place. The two visit the vendor stands and try on t-shirts, wigs and hats. The show highlights all the random and different walks of life that stagger on St. Mark’s.

What is it about St. Mark’s Place that turns into one crazy stroll  within just a few blocks? I hold so many random memories on this street from first dates at the Crooked Tree to very drunk fun nights with cotton candy at Kenka. On St. Mark’s you run into friends and acquaintances. The city is so big but yet on St. Mark’s you still run into people. I think only people who live or have lived in New York understand that unique vibe of St. Mark’s.

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Pitchers of beer and cotton candy at Kenka on St. Mark’s. Photo circa 2000-something.

Episode 204: Knocksoffs

Summary: Illana’s mom is a queen at buying designer bag knockoffs in Chinatown. Illana and her mom go on an adventure to get bags and won’t allow the salespeople to sucker them.

Everyone knows you can find some good fake designer bags in Chinatown. I’m not sure how things operate these days but back when I lived there, finding a good looking fake took some effort. I vividly remember this time my cousin and I went to Chinatown to find a Louis Vuitton. We arrive at this little shop and look around. Nothing good. So my cousin asks the salesperson, Don’t you have anything better? The salesperson proceeds to look around the store slowly, picks up her cordless phone (not too many cell phones in 2002) and makes a call. Next thing we know, a secret wall door opens and we are pushed into a TINY space with only room for 3 people max. Inside this little hidden nook, we found fake Fendi, Louis, Chanel, everything! I know I didn’t buy anything though because I thought everything was still too expensive on my broke ass budget. However, I did appreciate the moment where I entered the secret Chinatown counterfeit bag world just for a minute.

Episode 301: Two Chainz

Summary: Abbi and Illana start with brunch and end up at a Sample Sale.

This episode starts with a brunch scene where Abbi is asked if her whole party is present. Brunch is a thing for me. This episode reminded me of how serious I took brunch (and still do) especially when I lived down in the Lower East Side. It was as if the minute I moved to New York, I somehow woke up and realized that I needed to brunch every Saturday. My ex knew how big a deal this was for me. So every Saturday he indulged me, after pestering and pressure, with brunch. Forget how drunk Friday night went, on Saturday morning I demanded waffles, French toast and eggs. Our usual spot was 7A on the corner of 7th and Avenue A across from Tompkins Square Park. But like any worthy brunch, the wait could be an hour plus.

However anytime we tried to coordinate brunch with more than just us two, forget about it! Your whole party has to be present to be seated. Brunch hostesses take that policy beyond serious. My family is team lag and when trying to have a large party brunch, everything gets complicated and the wait extends beyond an hour. Ever try to get into Clinton Street Bakery with more than 2 people? Exactly.

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New York City rooftop brunch with beers.

Episode 307: Burning Bridges

Summary: Abbi and Illana deal with their life romances. This episode also includes a scene at Madison Square Park where the two of them try to grab a couple seats and a table.

Madison Square Park is my park. I think everyone in New York has “their park.” Mine was Madison Square Park. My first job after grad school was on 26th and Broadway. Madison Square Park was where I would go for lunch to sit on a bench and read. How New Yorker of me. Sometimes friends would meet me after work and we would sit with the city squirrels (little gangsters but that’s another story) and enjoy a city afternoon. Now, before Shake Shack was Shake Shack, there was a little Chicago hot dog cart at the park. I can pinpoint this little hot dog cart as the moment I became a “foodie” and the hype around it. Eventually this hot dog cart progressed to the Shake Shack stand and the rest is history.

These days getting a table at Shake Shack to savor those delicious burgers and milk shakes can be slightly competitive. This episode of Broad City captures that hunt and desperation to sit with your friend and grab one of those valuable green chairs and tables.

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Madison Square Park and the hard to get table and chairs. Photo credit: Deo.

No matter whether it is 2002 or 2016, New York City is the perfect playground for someone in their 20’s. The city teaches you countless life skills: how to grab a cab, how to order drinks at the bar, how to try on clothes at a sample sale, how to feel comfortable in sneakers instead of heels at the club, how to ride the bus and more. For ten weeks this season, Broad City triggered all the best memories of my very fond and broke years gallivanting around the city. What I would give for just one more Monday night of dancing at A.P.T.

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