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Danielle Cohen

I’ve lived in New York City since I can remember – the age of two, to be specific. I grew up surrounded by towering skyscrapers, bustling parks and packed sidewalks. I watched the supermarket around the corner from my parents’ apartment close down and reopen years later, in the lobby of a brand new residential high rise. I helped my school fundraise to expand to the two brownstones next door, and I came back from college to tour the cutting-edge results. I jogged along the Hudson River each week, taking note of the changing landscape and witnessing the appearance of my favorite building in all of New York, a pyramid-shaped skyscraper in Midtown that’s meant to look like a sailboat taking off down the river. The landscape of the city I call home has been constantly changing throughout my lifetime, and watching it evolve has been one of the joys of living in such a dynamic, creative locale.

So when ASME placed me at Architectural Record, a 125-year-old monthly magazine on all things architecture and interior design, I couldn’t wait to learn how to write about the structures that I’d grown up with and to expand my knowledge to structures appearing around the world. I was welcomed into their offices on the 60th floor of the Empire State Building by a team of 10 editors, who made sure I was included in all their meetings, frequently handed me news stories to report on for their website, and even invited me out to socialize in the glamorous world of architecture journalism. As the only intern, I did everything from organizing their office library to reporting on breaking architectural news stories.


Do I study architecture, you ask? Did I appear on that first day armed with any knowledge aside from my reading the requisite past three issues and googling “important architecture terms”? The answer to both is no. My mostly-fulfilled art history minor did come in handy, as well as spending any downtime in the office perusing their illustrious library, which was filled with encyclopedias and biographies of renowned architects, and where I began to understand the way architects speak and the way journalists write about them.


The ASME program gave us the privilege of touring some iconic offices this summer; we strolled down a hallway lined with every single Rolling Stone cover and sat down for sandwiches with the investigations team at BuzzFeed. I often felt like I was getting the best of both worlds, being exposed to all the magazine journalism greats and always coming back to a hands-on experience with a small team at one of the oldest publications in the U.S. I’m so thankful to everyone at Record for taking a chance on an architecture newbie and patiently wading through my many attempts at getting the language right. My experience there will stay with me whenever I notice a change in the Manhattan skyline, sit down at an expertly decorated coffee shop or admire the flow of a newly minted museum gallery. And I can say that definitively on the record.


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