The Booth alumni community in the Big Apple is large, supportive, and happy to share favorite haunts around the city.
- May 01, 2017
New York has the highest population density of any major city in the United States, with more than 27,000 people per square mile. Yet Booth alumni bump into each other regularly.
“You come across them at work, on the street,” said Kate Gusin, ’07. “There are a ton of people from Booth here—everyone who moves here has this premade network of people coming from Booth.” More than 2,200 Booth alumni live and work in the New York metropolitan area. While they work mainly in investment banking and finance, they also delve into other fields, including marketing, sales, and publishing.
Booth graduates appreciate the networking possibilities in New York. Jacquie DeSimone, ’97, described meeting a fellow Booth graduate at a happy-hour event and starting a conversation about skiing over a cocktail. By the time the night was over, they were talking business, and it turned into an opportunity for both of them.
She isn’t the only one with that type of experience. “I was interviewing for a job and it turned out a Booth friend of mine worked there,” said James Reeves, ’13. “She was able to counsel me on the interview process, and I was also able to shortcut a lot of conversations about my knowledge and the breadth of my skills. The degree from Booth spoke for me.” Anya Gezunterman, ’01, agreed. “People here know Booth.”
“You come across people from Booth at work, on the street.”
John Clinton, ’11, got together with his friends in New York to help plan for their five-year reunion weekend in 2016. In the city, he said, alumni push each other professionally, connect personally, and promote Booth. “We go to karaoke a lot, but we also spend a lot of time trying to get more people to go to Booth,” Clinton said.
Alumni in the Big Apple strive to attract talent to and from Chicago Booth. DeSimone is part of a Booth-sponsored initiative where small groups of alumnae meet up to network, and to tackle mentorship and sponsorship for students or other alumnae. “We have a lot of events where students are interning for the summer, or prospective students are around,” said DeSimone. She tries to attend as many as possible. “I want to help recruit the best and the brightest. New York is a big market for students, and we want them to go to Booth.”
The Alumni Club of New York City hosts events ranging from fireside chats to alumni breakfasts to a private tour of the Whitney Museum of Art. Reeves noted that these types of get-togethers connect him to the campus, even from so many miles away. “It’s great to go to these presentations with subject matter so often outside of my wheelhouse, and insert something I’ve learned into a conversation later on,” Reeves said. “I sound like a genius, even when I’m not. The Chicago Booth experience really does extend on.”
The Quiet Spot: Madison Square Park
“It’s one of the most underrated public spots in Manhattan,” said Clinton. Madison Square Park extends between Fifth and Madison Avenues between 23rd and 26th Streets. Nestled in the Flatiron District, the dynamic, seven-acre urban park provides a calm oasis from the hustle and bustle of Midtown. “It’s really beautiful, with a lot of public, modern artwork,” he said. “I like to say it has more benches than tourists.”
For a Caffeinated Chat: Nespresso SoHo Boutique
“If someone’s coming in from out of town, or you have a client coming, it’s a great place in SoHo to sit down and have a conversation,” said DeSimone. “It’s a little more civil and less crowded—plus more upscale—than a Starbucks.” The international chain known for its high-end coffeemakers puts them to work in this small boutique café. “They make a beautiful cappuccino,” DeSimone said.
For Great Italian: Celeste
For authentic, cheap Italian, check out this Upper West Side pizza and Italian place. “The owner [Carmine Mitroni] goes to Italy a few times a year to bring cheese straight from Italy,” said Gusin. “It’s this little gem of a place where all of the famous New York chefs go for Italian food. It’s phenomenal.” Warning: it’s cash only, and reservations are recommended.
The Best View: Brooklyn Heights Promenade
“Everyone does the Staten Island Ferry for its amazing view, but a less obvious choice is the Brooklyn Heights Promenade, especially at sunset,” Reeves said. The promenade has been made famous by appearances in films such as Annie Hall and Moonstruck. The one-third-mile-long walkway looks out on the East River, the Statue of Liberty, the Manhattan skyline, and the Brooklyn Bridge. It’s part of Brooklyn’s first Historic Preservation District.
Jazz It Up: Bill’s Place
This Harlem jazz club began life as a 1920s speakeasy, and it has great jazz on Thursdays and Fridays, Gusin said. Tucked into a brownstone basement, Bill’s Place is BYOB (it got its start during Prohibition, after all), with reservations needed. “It’s a great place if you love jazz or if you want to impress people.”
Worth the Wait: Hispanic Society of America
It’s closed until 2019 for roof renovations, but Gezunterman said it’s worth the wait. “It’s a very small museum, and you can tackle it in an hour,” Gezunterman said. “It has this first-rate collection that’s entirely under the radar: unbelievable El Greco, Goya, Velázquez.” The building also hosts a Spanish Renaissance–style courtyard, a reading room, and metalworks and ceramics galleries.
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