What is it like to be a poor student at a very rich university or high school?

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During my first year of college, I went on a trip with a group of other classmates to New York City to network with alumni.

At the end of the day, after spending hours going from one company to the next, several of the students talked about hanging out in the city for a while before getting dinner.

,u201cItu2019ll be so much fun,u201d they said.

u201cYou should totally come with us!u201d,I said I would be happy to tag along, and I followed the group onto a train headed towards another part of town.

When we finally reached our stop and climbed out onto the street, I suddenly found myself surrounded by clothing stores and restaurants as far as the eye could see.

,Feeling a pit in my stomach, I followed the group into a store they decided to enter at random, and walked idly around the interior as I gazed at the golden lights, the shiny surfaces, the hard edges, and the beautiful clothes.

,I saw a pretty jacket and checked the price tag.


,u201cThat would look so cute on you!u201d One of the girls in the group, Melanie, was suddenly standing beside me, taking the jacket from the hanger and holding it up against my chest.

u201cIt totally goes with your hair color.

u201d,u201cI think Iu2019m good, thanks.

u201d,u201cAre you sure?? Itu2019s totally cute.

u201d,u201cHonestly, Iu2019m okay.

u201d I paused, noticing the piles of clothes Melanie held clutched against her chest.

u201cDid you find anything you like?u201d,u201cOh my gosh, yes! It totally sucks living in a college town because there are, like, no clothing stores.

I honestly try to come to NYC as much as possible just to shop.

u201d,I almost laughed, thinking she was joking, but when Melanie turned away to inspect a $1,000 dress hanging from the wall, I realized she was serious.

,The other students in the group ended up spending thousands of dollars at the store, their purchases being folded carefully and tucked away into colorful paper bags.

It was only when they had finished that they decided to eat dinner at a place across the street.

,In the nicest restaurant I had ever been to that year, I ordered the cheapest appetizer I could find, and sat in silence as the students around me reminisced about the private schools they had gone to, their most recent vacations to Europe, the silly things they had made their housekeepers do growing up.

,When the dinner was over, a student suggested seeing a Broadway play, and one of the guys pulled out his phone and told us that the show Cabaret was playing for only $250 a ticket.

,u201cWhat a steal!u201d Melanie, wearing her brand-new jacket, cried.

u201cWe have to go!u201d She turned to look at me and gave me a big smile.

u201cDo you want to come?u201d,I knew I wasnu2019t going to be spending $250 for a show.

,u201cI have a lot of homework,u201d I said.

u201cBut thanks anyway.

u201d,Melanie shrugged, and after paying for our dinner, the group walked out of the restaurant into the chilly New York City air to head towards the show.

I walked back to the hotel alone, and spent the night studying for my upcoming Sociology exam.

,When I had finished studying, I lay back in the starched sheets of the bed and wondered what it was like for those classmates of mine, who had grown up with the ability to spend thousands of dollars on clothing, to go on trips to big cities to see expensive shows and blow even more money on fancy restaurants and stores.

Who went to summer camp, private schools, who lived in big houses with maids and housekeepers, who went on vacation to foreign countries, staying in beautiful hotels.

,To be very honest, I find it fascinating to be surrounded by classmates who come from wealth like I have never experienced.

Iu2019m not embarrassed for being unable to afford the things some of my classmates buy dozens of through online shopping.

Iu2019m not embarrassed for growing up being told u201cnou201d again and again, because my family simply didnu2019t have enough money.

,Iu2019m proud of who I am, and where Iu2019ve come from.

And thatu2019s enough for me.


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I grew up in Elizabeth NJ, in the 1970s and 1980s and still have family there.

Iu2019m of Cuban descent and there was and is a large Cuban/Hispanic population as well as Portuguese, Brazilian, Irish, Polish, Jewish, African-Americans, and Italian.

,Elizabeth being next door to Newark and across the water from NYC, had a HUGE influence from the LCN, direct and indirect.

You couldnt help but know of, many so-called u201cconnectedu201d guys and businesses.

,We used to call the Italian area u201cPeterstownu201d or u201cThe Burg.

u201d The Burg was particularly insular and very close-knit.

The urban legend is that The Burg was an Italian LCN neighborhood not different from Bensonhurst Brooklyn or South Philly.

,All the different areas of Elizabeth had their own character and proclivities.

Whereas example, the Hispanics, Portuguese, Irish had others would frequently intermingle, the long-time residents of The Burg wouldnt always.

,Dont misunderstand me I knew plenty of wonderful Italian people who had businesses and restaurants in Elizabeth, like Elizabeth Pizza, Go-Gou2019s Pizza, Francou2019s Pizza, etc.

I went to school with many Italians.

But hanging out in The Burg was just not a thing to do if you werent from The Burg.

,I hung out in the Port, the bars on Elizabeth ave and Broad st, North Elizabeth, Newark, Linden, etc.

but not in, The Burg.

I once went to an Italian friends house, in The Burg, to pick him up in my car.

Mind you, we were about 17/18 years old, me a Latino, with a Black girl and a Latin girl.

His family/mother saw us and wouldnt let him leave the house.


,Iu2019m not trying to say, Elizabeth, NJ Italians from The Burg, or Bensonhurst, or South Philly were or are racist.

No, theyre super cool when they get to know you.

Its the getting to know you thats tough,One thing Eliz.

NJ is known for its strip clubs which are still called Go-Go bars and local taverns/bars.

Which as we all know is a known LCN industry.

Many bars, back in the day were owned and or controlled by u201cconnected guysu201d.

Even though it may have been of any type or ethnicity.

Many Latins and Cubans were involved as well.

One curious thing, I noticed back in the day was that some u201cconnectedu201d bars had Pagans MC members hanging around or as door security.

The Pagans MC and other MCs back then were multi-racial.

The urban legend was that these guys were u201cconnectedu201d or mobbed up.

This has been If Iu2019m not mistaken confirmed.

,Theres also a lot of Latin bars, clubs, and restaurants since over 50% of Elizabeth NJ is Hispanic of many groups.

,Elizabeth NJ also has Port Elizabeth maritime cargo port and ferry service to NYC, and part of Newark Airport also.

,Elizabeth NJ and North Jersey is home to many Labor Unionsu2026,What I learned from growing up in Elizabeth NJ where there was a lot of criminal activity especially LCN secret society.

Was that crime had many levels from the common petty criminals to the LCN which is the top tier, super-criminals.

,DeCavalcante crime family - WikipediaPagans Motorcycle Club - WikipediaNew Jersey--Labor Unions: ProfilesBest 30 Bars in Elizabeth, NJ with Reviews - YP.

comElizabeth Strip Club ListTHE BEST 10 Strip Clubs in Elizabeth, NJ - Last Updated February 2021 - YelpTop 10 Best Latin Clubs in Elizabeth, NJ - Last Updated February 2021 - YelpAbout | Elizabeth, NJPeterstownWar memorial in Union Square,Peterstown (also known as The Burg) is a middle/working-class neighborhood in the southeastern part of the city.

Its borders run west of Atlantic Street to South Spring Street from 1st Avenue to the Elizabeth River.

Its name is derived from John Peters, who owned most of the land with George Peters.

They divided the land and developed it during the end of the 19th century.

The area was once predominantly occupied by its earliest settlers, who were German, and during the 1920s was gentrified by newly immigrated Italians.

Peterstown has clean, quiet streets and has many affordable housing opportunities with a village feel.

The area contains the historic Union Square, which is home to produce stands, meat markets, fresh fish and poultry stores.

Peterstown is also home of the DeCavalcante crime family, one of the most infamous Mafia families in the United States.

,Elizabeth, New Jersey - WikipediaElizabeth Neighborhoods (Newark, Jersey City, Hillside: condos, crime, houses)Upvote,Reply