Summer 2022 (New York City, London)

Well, this summer was quite eventful. I spent most of the summer of 2022 in New York City, where I was a software engineer intern at a proprietary trading firm. I won’t get into much detail about the work itself,1 but suffice it to say that I had lots of fun, learned a lot, and met some cool people. I’ll instead focus this post on the non-work stuff that I did this summer. To start things off, let me get the obligatory skyline pictures out of the way:

I’ll be honest: having grown up in New Jersey, I feel like being in New York is not particularly special to me. I spent about two years right across the Hudson from downtown Manhattan, in Jersey City, and I spent twelve years a bit further south in “central” New Jersey.2 My impression of New York has always been more on the “big, smelly city” side than “wow, so many things to do” side.

Still, I have to acknowledge that there are perks to living in New York City. The food options are admittedly much better than in Pittsburgh or suburban New Jersey (especially the halal carts, which became a staple of my diet over the summer). We were also lucky enough to have some very nice corporate housing in Battery Park City. Funnily enough, a competing firm also happened to put their interns in the same building!

Anyway, I guess I’ll remark on a few of the more memorable things that happened this summer.

I met up with lots of old friends

Personally, I think the main draw of New York was being able to meet people. Since I went to high school relatively nearby and go to college on the “east coast” (insofar as that label applies to Pittsburgh), a lot of my school friends are in the area, and I spent many weekends meeting up with them. Between catching up with friends and going home, I think I only had one weekend in the city during which I had no plans. A sampling of what I spent my other weekends doing:

The list format was inspired by Alex Irpan. Since I’m officially part of Gen Z, I’m also legally obligated to show you food pictures:

Desserts in small bowls Bowl of ramen Piece of sushi on wood
Some food pictures from various meals with people (Click on any image to view at full resolution.)

Apologies for not mentioning everyone I met or grabbed a meal with this summer.

Cycling was pretty bad

The road cycling in New York City is pretty bad—in my opinion, it’s much worse than Pittsburgh. Central Park is okay, but riding the same loop gets repetitive fairly quickly. The streets are too traffic-laden to be any fun riding. Another problem is that Manhattan is exceptionally flat, at least compared to Pittsburgh. If you cross the George Washington Bridge into New Jersey, there’s some okay cycling to be had, but it’s a bit far for a weekday ride.

Bike trail by river Bike trail through woods Road near cliffs
Various trails and cycling roads in and near NYC (Click on any image to view at full resolution.)

To try to experience “real adult working life,” I woke up at like 5am one morning to get in a bike ride before work.3 Yeah…I don’t think I’m trying that one again.

I went to London for a week

As part of the internship program, we got to visit the London office for a week! Ordinarily interns are offered a choice between going to the London office and the Hong Kong office, but due to the rather onerous quarantine requirements in Hong Kong at the moment, we all went to London this year (in a few batches, since the London office is smaller).

Upon arrival, we of course went to most of the standard tourist sites. I’ve previously blogged about visiting these places during my last trip to London a few years ago, so I won’t repeat that part here. I’ll include a picture of the Palace of Westminster, since Big Ben was under construction last time I went. One interesting thing: our trip coincided with a historic heat wave, which caused some major disruptions to public transit. As an American, the 100°F (~38°C) temperatures seemed hot but not apocalyptic, but I guess it’s usually much cooler across the pond.

On Sunday morning, I attended service at St. Paul’s Cathedral with Eddie. While I wouldn’t attend such a church long-term, it was quite cool to experience a rather traditional, high church Anglican service. I happen to collect church bulletins—it’s nice to have a St. Paul’s bulletin to go along with my Westminster Abbey bulletin.

Afterward, I went to Borough Market for lunch. I saw a ridiculously long line for this paella place; reasoning that it must surely be very good, I got in line. It did end up being pretty good. After lunch, I took a stroll along the Thames and toured the Tate Modern for a bit.

In the evening, I went to Speaker’s Corner, the traditional space set aside for public speeches and debate at Hyde Park. It did not disappoint; there were preachers and activists peddling a remarkable variety of religions, political causes, and conspiracy theories. It was pretty funny watching the preachers from different religions debating each other on the street. I even saw one guy even get arrested for something, although I arrived too late to find out what it was for. My absolute favorite was this climate change denier who was arguing for increased CO2 for some reason that I couldn’t make heads or tails of. He looked exactly like the stereotypical conspiracy theorist, down to the glasses! I’ve included a picture below.

During the week, after spending the day at the office, I went on some smaller trips. I visited “Jane Street” (the actual street) in London, which is really more of an alleyway. I visited a couple of Tube stations that have personal significance to me, as well as the British Library.4 I also went to the Victoria and Albert Museum; I skipped the British Museum, since I’ve already been there.

Again, here are the legally required food pictures for any self-respecting Gen Z blogger:

Yes, those last few pictures were taken on a bus tour. It’s a pretty interesting concept, actually: tour around London on a bus while eating food.

We had tons of other fun intern events

I’ll return to the list format here, because I’m too lazy to write a narrative section:

Well, that’s it…I have more thoughts about the summer (e.g. on church-hopping), but they’ll stay in my private journal rather than on my blog.

  1. I was told that I could write a technical post about my project, but I would have to get it approved first, so I’m holding off on mentioning any technical details for now.↩︎

  2. You know, people always ask me where in New Jersey I’m from, and I never really have a good way of describing it to out-of-state people. I’ve settled on saying that I’m from the “bottleneck” in the state’s shape, which is mostly accurate.↩︎

  3. Since no one who knows me in real life will believe this, here’s the Strava proof. I accidentally stopped the workout recording in the middle, so I started a new activity; I’m too lazy to stitch the files together.↩︎

  4. I did pretty well on rare manuscripts this summer: between the British Library and New York Public Library, I saw a Magna Carta, two Gutenberg Bibles, two Shakespeare first folios, and much more.↩︎

  5. Electronic trading competition, this one specifically for dev interns at the New York office↩︎