This is the scene outside the Emma Lazarus High School/YMCA after having completed our very first (free) Mandarin class!! Ok, so this post is less about urban design and more about language (although one could certainly argue that the former does indeed qualify as one of the latter), but this is super exciting and making this impending move seem all the more real! My fiance and I actually had a conversation in Mandarin today. We asked each other what our names were and whether or not we were students – quite politely. The fact that one can do this in New York City (and for free) does speak volumes about its diversity and why I absolutely love living here – see, I’m incorporating some urban design lexicon! This little plaza in front of the quite lively 7.8 acre park, which stretches over half a mile or seven city blocks, is in fact a microcosm of what makes New York so great – life spilling over into public spaces, spaces that are transformed into outdoor living rooms – not to mention the amazing Chinese food just steps away (don’t roll your eyes, I’m getting plenty of NYC pizza in before I leave as well – it’s just this lady’s hand pulled noodles and pork pancakes are to die for!). In any case, I think I’m ready to turn a little Chinese!! Bring on Shanghai. Five weeks!