Posts Tagged ‘Elon in NYC’

Ethnography Study: Key Findings

August 8, 2010

by Amy McLeod
August 8, 2010

Culture is defined as “the quality in a person or society that arises from a concern for what is regarded as excellent in arts, letters, manners, scholarly pursuits, etc” (  In this way, Madison Square Garden serves as a place for people of a similar culture to congregate in support of something.  This is different than most areas in New York City.

Every neighborhood in NYC has its own culture, an aspect unique to the area, that is both defined by the people who live there and that defines those people.  The Upper East Side is ritzy.  Soho is trendy.  Chelsea is gay-friendly.  Greenwich Village is artsy.   Madison Square Garden is distinct because its “culture” changes daily.  Depending on the event taking place in the Graden and the people who choose to attend the event, the culture will change.

In studying Madison Square Garden, I was faced with many different types of information – both subjective and objective.  Everyone who has an experience or a memory regarding Madison Square Garden adds to the ethnographic makeup of the arena.  However, each of these is only a small aspect of the study.  These are subjective elements because they all believe that their experience is the most important or valuable.  It is my job, as the researcher, to understand how these subjective aspects relate to the ethnography as a whole.

These stories and memories do make up a huge part of the ethnography of Madison Square Garden.  Because it is such a diverse space, it’s important to know what types of experiences have been had in the arena.  It is also important, however, to do objective research about the space.  Why was it built above Penn Station?  What types of entertainment is it designed to accommodate?  How has technology changed MSG?   These are objective questions that were answered either through research or by speaking with someone who works at Madison Square Garden.

The combination of information gained through both objective and subjective sources allowed me to get a full understanding of the ethnography of Madison Square Garden.  Having one of these types of understanding without the other would leave the research only partially complete and lacking important elements.

Those who have a unique experience or memory create knowledge.  The combination of all of these different elements together forms knowledge.  Each memory is valuable and represents a different aspect of our understanding so, with each that is added, a greater knowledge is achieved.  It is through the gathering of many different experiences with Madison Square Garden that I began to piece together my understanding of the arena.  With each interview or bit of research that I did, my ethnographic knowledge was enhanced.   Particularly with a location that is as diverse and variable as Madison Square Garden, each new bit of knowledge goes a long way in helping me understand the magnitude of Madison Square Garden.

As mentioned, MSG’s culture varies immensely with each day.  Because the Garden hosts everything from the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show to a Lady Gaga concert to a New York Knicks basketball game, the culture is always changing.  Because of this, it was my job as the ethnographer to understand each individual aspect of MSG.   I could not simply learn about the concerts that are hosted or the basketball games that are played.  In order to do the arena justice, I had to research all of the different elements that are present in MSG.  Simple research would not cut it, either.  It was my responsibility to experience MSG for myself. I had to understand the history of the arena and what it strives to achieve.  I had to understand it as more than just an arena, but as a cultural and historical icon.


Madison Square Garden: Informative Flyer

August 2, 2010

by Amy McLeod
August 2, 2010

My “street” is Madison Square Garden.  Though I cannot provide a guide through the actual arena, I can provide an informative flyer that could be available in the MSG concourse and online for viewers to see.

Click here to see the flyer of Madison Square Garden

Nine weeks in a nutshell

August 1, 2010

by Amy McLeod
August 1, 2010

In all honesty, I didn’t think I would be able to handle this city.  I thought it would take me the entire summer to learn the subway system.  I thought I would never feel completely comfortable in the city.  I thought I would be so ready to go back to North Carolina, back to the familiar and the easy-going lifestyle.

And yes, I am ready to go home.  I’m ready to be able to drive my car and get some real sweet tea.  But I am going to miss this place.  I’m going to miss the hustle-and-bustle of the city and the constant excitement.

I’m still not ready to graduate.  But my time in New York has made me both more confident and more excited to graduate.  I know now that I can live on my own and take care of myself.

I’ve always been very close with my family and anticipated moving back to Raleigh after graduation.  That’s definitely still an option, but I know now that I am not limited.  I took on New York City and came out (relatively) unscathed.   If I can do that in NYC, I feel confident that I can live anywhere.

For me, this summer was so much more than just an internship and a class.  It was a chance for me to push myself and test my boundaries.  And while I’m still not keen on the idea of growing up and being a real person, I am excited to know that I can and will survive.

Final thoughts on first impressions

August 1, 2010

by Amy McLeod
August 1, 2010

In my first post, I expressed feelings of anxiety and excitement, hope and uncertainty.  I was excited to learn about the city and about myself.  I am pleased to say that I did.  A lot of the anxiety that I mentioned has proved to be unfounded.  The people are wonderful, the city is less scary than expected and my time here couldn’t have been better.

MSG in the Guggenheim

July 28, 2010

by Amy McLeod
July 28, 2010

I got frustrated walking through the Guggenheim.  I was having a hard time finding a piece of art that reminded me of Madison Square Garden.  There was nothing related to athletics or entertainment.  I realized, however, that I was thinking far too literally.

Then I walked through the exhibit called Broken Forms: European Modernism from the Guggenheim Collection.  This exhibit was made up a many different pieces of art.  They all consisted of vibrant colors and exciting shapes.  There wasn’t a clear top or bottom;the pieces could be interpreted anyway the viewer saw fit.

Franz Marc, Broken Forms (Zerbrochene Formen), 1914 (detail). Oil on canvas, 111.8 x 84.4 cm. Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York 50.1240

These pieces reminded me of Madison Square Garden because of their ability to be seen in different ways.  MSG is a large space that can accommodate anything from sporting events to concerts to the circus to dinosaur exhibits.  It is flexible and it’s true purpose can be debated.

I felt that the pieces in the Broken Forms exhibit were similar.  Their meaning could be debated and the meaning might change depending on how the viewer chose to look at the art.

Ethnography Study: Interview Report

July 20, 2010

by Amy McLeod
July 20, 2010

I spent a few hours Monday walking around Madison Square Garden and searching for interviews for my ethnography study.  Our assignment is to tell a story, based on these interviews, that is representative of our “street”.

Because it was the middle of the work day, MSG was slightly less hectic than usual.  There wasn’t the madness that typically surrounds Penn Station during rush hours.  There weren’t the mobs of tourists admiring the arena in awe.  Most of the people in the area were working – leaving them with little motivation or time to talk to me.  But I did find a few who were willing to indulge a student.

I first went to Brother Jimmy’s, a sports bar, that sits adjacent to Madison Square Garden.  I spoke to one hostess and one bartender who gave me insight as to the impact that MSG has on their business.  They know, for instance, that when there is a game or concert, they can expect an influx of people before and after the event.  The mentioned repeatedly how much their business would have benefitted if LeBron James had come to the Knicks.

Following my conversation with these two women, I headed into Madison Square Garden to speak with an employee.  I approached one security guard and she directed me to one of her colleagues.  He was very friendly and had been working in MSG for 26 years.  Because of this, he was able to give me information about how the arena has changed over the years.  Unfortunately, because of confidentiality agreements, he was not able to go into too much detail, but he provided me with some good information.

I am planning on speaking with a coworker who has attended events in Madison Square Garden and I look forward to getting her story.  I am hoping that I will be able to use these different stories to tell the full experience that comes with Madison Square Garden.

What is this feeling? I think it’s called obsession.

July 14, 2010

by Amy McLeod
July 14, 2010

“You deserve each other, this hat and you.  You’re both so…smart.”

I can’t tell you how many times those lyrics from the Wicked song “Dancing through Life” have been on repeat in my head this summer.  Mind you, I had never seen the show and I had no context for the lyrics.  One of my roommates is a Wicked fanatic and would play the songs incessantly. After awhile, they just stuck.

There was a lot of build up to Wicked.  I’ve been hearing about since high school, when one of my best friends became obsessed.  Now, I can hardly walk into my New School dorm without hearing one of the many amazing songs.

Having heard so much about Wicked made me that much more excited to see the show.  I wanted to know who was singing the songs.  What were they talking about? And what in the world caused the feelings of unadulterated loathing?

I’ve never been a huge fan of “The Wizard of Oz” so I was a little nervous about seeing Wicked.  I was afraid that it wouldn’t live up to hype that surrounded it.  But, I am happy to report that this uncertainty was completely unwarranted.  I was taken aback by the scale of the show and how magnificent the performances were.  Katie Rose Clark as Glinda and Jennifer DiNoia as Elphaba were amazing.  The costumes were intricate and the scenery made the audience believe it was in Oz with the two witches.

Following the show, we were able to check out the stage.  There was scenery stored on either side, above and below the stage.  We say where some costume changes take place and the tracks where the scenery comes into and off of the stage.  We saw where Elphaba gets her green make up touched up between acts and where the munchkin heads hang when they’re not being worn.  It was an insiders look at what takes place behind the scenes of a Broadway production.

After I got back from the show last night, I went straight to and watched scenes from the show over and over…and over.

I think it’s safe to say that I have a full-blown case of Wicked fever.

“Anything less than 87% is Fraud-way”

July 14, 2010

by Amy McLeod
July 13, 2010

I love Broadway.  I don’t (or should I say, didn’t) know a thing about it, but I love it.  It is a magical thing to watch a plain, wooden stage transformed into a story and I can’t help but let myself fall into it.

Costumes, lighting, actors, props, music, etc.  The show cannot exist without each of these elements.  No matter how minuscule one may seem, they are all crucial aspects and add something that the show needs.

I didn’t realize how true this was until our visits on Monday.  From seeing the intricate detail that goes into every stage of the costuming process at William Ivey Long‘s studio to hearing about the daily preparation and repairs that our panelists spoke about to seeing the stories and stories of practice space, workshops and costume storage that exist at the Metropolitan Opera.

I would have never suggested that putting together a Broadway production was any small task, but I could have never imagined just how much goes into each and every performance.  One thing that was consistent with all of those we spoke with was their love for it.

It’s hard work and long hours. It requires going on the road for weeks at a time.  There are hours of rehearsal and shows on holidays.  It isn’t always secure work or the extremely lucrative.  But, when the curtain rises and the show begins, it makes all the work well worth it.

All of those who work on the shows understand the importance of each other.  While the actors on stage get most of the glory as they are the faces of the show, they are supportive of the crew that works backstage.  When IATSE, the union for professional stagehands, motion pictures technicians and allied crafts went on strikes, the actors were holding signs and protesting with them.  The show won’t succeed without all of these people, so they must work together and support each other.

We were able to go backstage after seeing Wicked and speak with Lindsay K. Northern who has a role in the ensemble as well as the understudy for Glinda.  She said “anything less that 87 percent is Fraud-way.”  If those working on the show aren’t able to give at least that much, they are detracting from the performance.  But, luckily for us viewers, most of the time, these people are happy to give 110 percent and we get to see an amazing show.

In the presence of greatness

June 30, 2010

By Amy McLeod
June 30, 2010

Our visits on Monday to Hill Holliday, Viacom and the New York Times were three that I will not soon forget.  All representing very different areas, these organizations are impressive and are all doing very innovative things.

Hill Holliday is best known for its work with Verizon Wireless.  Everyone knows the “Can you hear me now?” guy.  Everyone knows the red check mark.  Everyone knows that Verizon is known for its good, reliable coverage.  And pretty soon, everyone will know the “Rule the Air” slogan and the new way that Verizon is going to represent itself.   This new campaign is focused not on what Verizon can do for you, but what you can do with Verizon.

Watch one of the new Verizon ads below…

Hill Holiday spends a lot of its time and energy on Verizon Wireless, but also has clients such as BMW, Bank of America, Chili’s and GM.  Hill Holliday is doing a lot of experiential marketing with Verizon and BMW.  This type of marketing brings about an engaged clientele, benefitting both parties.

Viacom, and specifically the MTV Network, is a huge industry.  I was shocked at how many television stations they own and how large the corporation really is.  They have media designed specifically for audiences that range from toddlers with Nick Jr. to baby boomers and beyond with TV Land.  They have stations geared toward men, women and teens.  This variety makes the company one that advertisers love because there is undoubtedly a spot in which a commercial will be appropriate.

In hearing about the MTVN Internship Program, one thing was clear.  The MTV Network greatly values their interns and the unique gifts and ideas that they all bring to the job.  They are encouraged to be themselves, to be creative and to have fun.  They understand that it is when the interns have the freedom to think without restraint that they will bring the most to the network.

To be in the New York Times newsroom was, to say the least, a dream come true.  As a print journalism major – the last one of my kind – that is the kind of place that I aspire to be.  It is the place where breaking news is broken.  It is the place where Pulitzer Prize winning writers are born and bred.  It is the place where the nation and world turn when they want the most accurate, up-to-date and hard-hitting news.

It was amazing to see the new and innovative things that the New York Times is doing.  They are determined to be at the cutting edge of the news and media industry.  And after seeing some of the things that they’ve come up with, I am certain that the New York Times will continue to bring about creative ways for its audience to experience the news.  I’m excited to see where the New York Times will take the news industry.

It seems to me that Hill Holliday, Viacom and the New York Time are all leaders in their respective areas.  They are responsible for cutting edge developments and are continuing to push the envelope.  It was an absolute honor to visit these three companies.

Unfamiliar Territory

June 23, 2010

by Amy McLeod
June 22, 2010

As a print journalism major, I never saw a future for myself in either the advertising or public relations field.  However, after our visits to  Young & Rubicam and Ketchum, I see that there is certainly a place for journalism in these industries.

We heard from a young woman at Y&R, Kristen, who is a copywriter.  I took a copywriting class last semester and it was interesting to see how traditional copywriting could apply to a position in an advertising agency.

It was made very evident at Ketchum how much correspondence goes into a successful public relations campaign.  Journalists have an important place in PR because of their ability to use the power of language to convey a message.

Though I love journalism, I often see it as a more serious, more formulaic type of writing.  Because of this, I didn’t believe that I was learning the skills necessary to thrive in a more creative workplace.  I am happy to report, however, that the visits to these two powerhouse companies have completely changed my mind.