Get to know the Sideways team

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Betsy

As a young child, my parents took me into Manhattan at every opportunity. In 1969, I remember attending my first Broadway show, "1776", and having Frozen Hot Chocolate afterwards at Serendipity. There are so many highlights, but an especially memorable New York day was captured in a photo, now hanging on our bedroom wall, taken of my husband and me when we were just teenagers walking with friends in Central Park.

After having gone to university outside of New York and studying abroad for a year, I came back to the city to marry my childhood boyfriend. I made my New York writing debut when I authored an article for Diversion Magazine entitled "One Flight Up". It described the vast array of boutiques and art galleries that could only be found by looking up to Madison Avenue’s second floor. As a freelance writer, I continued to write for numerous New York publications including the Manhattan guidebook Guest Informant and Avenue Magazine.

We lived in Manhattan for five years before moving to the suburbs to raise our children. We made it a point, however, to frequent New York City with our son and daughter to ensure that they, too, would benefit from all that it has to offer. While raising our children in Westchester County, my love of both reading and writing led me to open Once Upon A Time, a children’s bookstore. For ten years, I adored introducing the wonderful world of children’s literature to everyone who entered my store. Perhaps it is my experience as a small business owner that fuels my passion for the shops that I encounter on the side streets of Manhattan. Giving them the recognition they deserve is a driving force of this project.

When my husband and I became empty-nesters, we made the decision to move back into the city, and we could not be happier. For a very long time, walking the side streets of Manhattan was just a concept going around in my head. Until one day, we were gathered around the table with our son and daughter, and I mentioned my idea to them. It was Evan and Joelle who literally took Manhattan Sideways and ran with it. They are completely responsible for making my dream into a reality. From designing and developing the site through their company, Polivision, to their editing ideas, photos, filming and content management, they have stood behind me and made this site all that it is today. And it was my niece Melanie who began this journey with me at 1st and 1st. Her insight, resourcefulness, support, and enthusiasm keep us moving north.

My husband has always been by my side encouraging me in any project that I have dared to attempt. I would never have been successful at any of them without his guidance and love. Since our childhood together, he has been the first person to tell me that I should follow my passion. For my latest endeavor, he has been wonderful about walking the side streets with me on any given day, especially those that involved eating in restaurants or checking out the bars. I am delighted that he is able to take advantage of the side benefits of my walking.




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Evan

Growing up I was a little intimidated by Manhattan. I lived north of the city and would periodically come in with my family to see shows, visit museums and eat in restaurants. I understood Manhattan had a lot to offer, but the city was huge and crowded, and I was small and shy. During my high school years, however, I attended a summer art program at Pratt Institute on W14th Street. It was then that I began to explore NYC on my own, learning to see more than busy streets and bright lights. After graduating Rhode Island School of Design (RISD), I moved to Brooklyn to start Polivision, a web-based media production company. Along with a talented team of designers, photographers, and filmmakers, I work with clients on a wide variety of projects. In addition to continuing to grow my own business, I have teamed up with my mom, Betsy, to create Manhattan Sideways. I thoroughly enjoy designing a platform that allows others to discover the more personal, unintimidating side of Manhattan that I have come to love.

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Joelle

Born and raised in the suburbs of Manhattan, I now enjoy frequent visits to The City where I can't get enough of the food - from the trendy hotspots to the hole-in-the wall eateries - all enthusiastically shared with me by my mom, Betsy, and written about on Manhattan Sideways. With a BA in Art History from Tufts University, I worked in public programs and project management for several years at the National Portrait Gallery, the Corcoran Gallery of Art, and the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Now, I have teamed up with my family to run Polivision Productions and coordinate Manhattan Sideways. As a foodie, avid traveler, and compulsive organizer, managing this website is a perfect fit. Supporting the dreams of my family and working with them every day is a rare privilege that makes Manhattan Sideways shine - it is truly from the heart.

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Jonathan

I moved from California to New York in 2012 to experience the East Coast and pursue a career in graphic design. For Manhattan Sideways, I collaborate with Betsy, Evan, Joelle, and our web team to create a user-friendly website, in addition to designing graphics for web and print.

Some things I love: baseball, Mexican food, typography, and an ice cold glass of juice.

New York is meant to be explored. Everyone thinks that they know the best bakery or the best wine bar or the best rundown concert venue. It's awesome. Being a part of the Manhattan Sideways team has given me the chance to find my favorite places, and get acquainted with the city far faster than I ever would have otherwise.

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Tom

Growing up in the suburbs of New York, I spent a big chunk of my childhood tagging along with my mother to work in lower Manhattan. During these early years of my life I was instilled with great wonder, confusion, and even fear at times. As I grew older I became more intrigued, but stuck to the well-worn paths as many of us tend to do. As a recent graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design and photographer for Manhattan Sideways, I am returning to my childhood stomping grounds to try and reexamine and demystify this fantastic city. With my camera in tow, I hope to make the prospect of a day in Manhattan, a little less ordinary and a little more sideways.

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Olivia

I learned at a young age that the best way to get to know a city is to walk it. I was born in Manhattan, and, after growing up in Connecticut and later in London, I returned to New York with a BA in Renaissance Studies and Comparative Literature from Brown University. I have spent my time in New York building my custom-made treasure hunt company, "Liv's Quests," and performing in a variety of plays, musicals and a cappella groups. I adore exploring the city, spending hours in cold weather and hot walking up and down and side to side. Joining the Manhattan Sideways team gave a new purpose to my walks, and has allowed me to further explore the city I have come to love…or perhaps never stopped loving: I still get a tingling sense of nostalgia when I feel the breeze off the Hudson while walking along Battery Park, where my parents would take me in my stroller over twenty years ago.

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Joelle F.

Having lived on West End Avenue at an early age, I have always considered myself a city girl. Being in the city never fails to excite me, always dawdling and window-shopping in sharp contrast to the fast-paced New Yorker hustle. Having just finished my first year at Brown University with intended concentrations in both Literary Arts and Applied Mathematics Economics, I would not want to spend my summer any other way than interning for Manhattan Sideways. The experience is as much about building a connection to all who appreciate what New York has to offer as it is about discovering the passion and joy that drives New York City businesses.

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Erika

I was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, and spent a great deal of my childhood traveling around the world. In my travels, I have learned to seek out the hidden gems, the places that the tourists, the guidebooks, and even the locals miss. When I moved to New York to pursue my MFA in Poetry at Columbia University, I was eager to explore this city by walking its streets with a camera and notebook in hand. As a writer, photographer, and project manager for Manhattan Sideways, I am thrilled to be able to continue these explorations with a dedicated, energetic team, and to share our discoveries with you: our readers.

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Esteban

Hailing from Nashville, TN, and of Colombian descent, I am a photographer and filmmaker based here in New York. Along with photographing Manhattan, I create other works such as shorts, music videos, and documentaries. I am currently co-writing two feature length screenplays and producing a short documentary series about the Nashville songwriting scene with partner Aaron Pryka as part of our recently founded Movie Time Picture Company. I am in my final undergraduate year at NYU's Tisch film school and have been a member of the Polivision and Manhattan Sideways team since 2011. Loving people and enjoying life are most important to me and any opportunity to create something is a method by which to do that.

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Nikhil

Born on Long Island, I was never too far from the buzz of New York City. I moved 8000 miles away to Hyderabad, India, when I was five years old, but have visited the City almost every summer since. Now a student at Columbia University, I experience the City through the rare and thrilling overlap of two distinct perspectives: one as a New Yorker, and the other as a foreigner far from home. The most striking few moments of my day happen each time I exit a new subway station, the sun's glare blinding me for a few seconds before new sights and spectacles sharpen into view. These moments invigorate my personal commitment to seeing Manhattan as a grid, not of anonymous buildings, but of faces, places, tastes, and more.

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Gabriella

Traveling has always been a central part of my life. I was born and raised in the Dominican Republic, but my family and I frequently visited everywhere from Venice to Santorini to New York over the holidays, which gave me a thirst for exploration from a very young age. When I moved to the U.S. to pursue an English concentration at Brown University, I kept this traveling habit alive by going on periodic weekend excursions through downtown Providence, to Boston, and to New York—mostly in search of the perfect slice of tiramisu and free concerts. When I stumbled across Manhattan Sideways, I realized it offered me the best opportunity to unite my love for writing, food, and travel, all while allowing me to spend a summer being enchanted by New York City.

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Monica

I have lived my whole life in a tiny Connecticut town, in the middle of sprawling farmland and woods. Needless to say, I could not be happier to be spending my summer in a city where I can actually walk to other buildings and meet new people. I am enthralled by the extraordinary in the ordinary; I have found that every person and place has a fascinating story, if you try hard enough to find it. That finding is my goal. When not wandering around side streets, I am finishing up my degree in Literary Arts at Brown University.

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Clare

A native of the Bay Area in California, I fell in love with New York City when I first visited as a seventh grader. I am now a student at Fordham University in the Bronx, studying English and International Studies because I love the art of storytelling and learning about the intricate layers of the world’s cultures. Since my arrival at Fordham I have made it my mission to explore New York City as thoroughly as possible in my free time, so my friends and I made an “NYC Bucket List” of all the things we want to do here before we graduate. Manhattan Sideways is the perfect combination of my love for stories, cultures, and uncovering the wonders of the city, and I am thrilled to have an exciting way to check off all the things on my continuously growing NYC Bucket List.

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Courtney

I fell in love with New York City in 2007. My family and I bravely left sunny New Orleans for a December trip northward. We climbed the Empire State Building and ate in Little Italy and watched The Ball drop from Central Park. My Aunt labeled The City “addictive.” She was right.
I’ve called New York City home for the last three years. I moved to the Bronx in August 2011 to study English and Theology at Fordham University. I’ve left at intervals – to spend time at home, to visit my best friend in Chicago, to spend a month abroad in Paris. I’ve experienced the withdrawals (there are no bagels in Paris). When I’m away, I miss the pace, the people, the energy. New York enchants me and excites me because it is so incredibly full of life. Around each corner, there’s someone new to meet and something new to find. Being part of the Manhattan Sideways team gives me the opportunity to make those discoveries and share them with both New Yorkers and those addicted from afar.

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Rebecca

Although I grew up in LA, I chose to come east for college. In my third year at Brown University, I am studying English and nonfiction writing. Two summers ago, I was able to pursue my passion for food by working in an Italian kitchen learning the ins-and-outs of the restaurant business. With an affinity for writing and a love for eating, I joined the Manhattan Sideways team as an intern last summer and could not be happier discovering what New York City has to offer – especially when it comes to dessert. I continue to explore the side streets of New York whenever I visit and hope to spend next summer wandering the city with the Manhattan Sideways team again.

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Adam

I was born and raised in Westchester County, NY, admiring Manhattan from afar. After graduating from Edgemont High School in 2011, I made my way to the big city. Providence, Rhode Island that is. When I'm not traipsing around on the side streets of New York, I'm working on finishing up my degree in Classics from Brown University.

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Piper

Before coming to New York at the beginning of the summer, I’d never experienced city life. I grew up in Maine and Vermont, and I don’t really count Providence, where I’ve been studying Comparative Literature at Brown University for the past two years. But though New York is my first extended city experience, it won’t be my last. I’ll be studying in Paris in the fall, then taking the following semester off to pursue other adventures.

I love to read, write, travel, enjoy good food, and explore new places, and Manhattan Sideways has allowed me to do each of these things while getting to know New York in all of its specificity. Most of all, I’ve loved the unexpected interactions—the conversations—that working with Manhattan Sideways has provoked. Among the many amazing things I’ve discovered about New York, one of the things I’ve found I like least is its anonymity—you can pass by a thousand different people in the span of a few blocks and never talk to or even look at one of them. Working with Manhattan Sideways, I’m forced to stop and talk. I ask questions; I learn things I never would have discovered otherwise. I get a much richer sense of the city: its streets, its past, its inhabitants, its stories.

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Leah

Having spent my entire life in Chicago, I've always considered myself a city person. I love exploring neighborhoods and discovering the often fascinating things that they have to offer. I can't imagine there are many cities better suited for exploration than New York. Working at Manhattan Sideways gives me the exciting opportunity to better understand and appreciate the places and businesses that make this city so special. Not only that, but I get to share these discoveries with other city enthusiasts!

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Emily

I have greatly enjoyed walking the side streets of Manhattan and eating my way through the city with a specific focus on pasta, bread, cheese, and anything with truffle salt! I am also an avid lemonade drinker and am constantly searching for the best lemonade in the world. I will soon return to the glorious city of Providence to complete my senior year at Brown University. After that, I will be back looking to work at a creative non-profit.