November 18, 2014

Pride, Work, and Necessity of Side Projects: Sophia Richter’s Hello New York

What are you working on—on the side?

Hello New York is an explorer’s guide to a New York less traveled.

New York fascinates me for many reasons, but largely because it is all at once so many things to so many people. The Bronx, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island, and Manhattan are each home to an infinite number of unique worlds of peoples, cultures, and treasures that not only coexist, but thrive because of each other.

Hello New York is a project to celebrate some of this diversity of people and place that is so core to what New York is today. I hope to bring to life some of the wonderful places that are less talked about, make a 4–6 hour visit there more accessible, and maybe even encourage a bit of out-of-the-comfort-zone exploring.

With guides from Jackson Heights to Gowanus to Snug Harbor, you can expect a day of guided wandering from notable food carts, to beautiful street art, to speakeasy drinks and back. Plus, of course, a healthy dose of NYC-neighborhood history!

How do you manage to work on your side project(s)?

One of the beautiful things about New York is its seemingly endless sense of opportunity. Even if I had the time to wander every crevice of the city across its 5 enormously diverse boroughs, my starting place would have entirely re-invented itself by the time I got back to it. New York is a city for the restless, the perpetual traveler, the constantly curious.

I’m one of these people—always traveling, always reading the first 2 minutes of a hundred different articles, always moving around somewhere, and likely photographing something in the sky from the middle of a sidewalk (don’t tell Mom). For this reason, my side projects and especially Hello New York, are what I would do on weekends anyway. But now, I have an excuse to document and share my wandering so that, if I’m lucky, a few more people will be able to enjoy more of this wonderful city. As for the writing and editing and all the rest of it, I’m a bit of a night owl and coffee addict, so consequently, also not much of a sleeper.

Why have side projects?

Side projects give us the space to identify and experiment with our passions, both creative and professional. Risk-free, expectation-less, and without deadlines, they allow and encourage us to try new things and fail without the burden of consequence. If I’ve worked on something for a month and still think it’s a good idea, I’ll go for it. If not, I abandon it and take the learnings onto my next project. While I was a management consultant working for large companies, I started Hello New York to explore my passion for cities. Now, almost a year later, I’m a consultant for New York City.

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Diptych courtesy of Sophia Richter.

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Read more about the joy of side projects.

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