Today was the day of our field trip. Our destination was the district court house in lower Manhattan. This area features the town hall, as well as many traditional court buildings. In this field of stone walls and marble pillars, the district court certainly stood out; it's a 24+ story skyscraper.
The first stop was a Q & A with the Honorable Judge Nathan. She was really interesting. She seemed very intent on answering our questions as truthfully and extensively as possible. She didn't shortchange us or give stock answers. She had a very interesting background, too. Before becoming a judge, she worked as a defense lawyer, as well as an attorney for the white house. Apparently, after having been a judge for almost a year, she has only presided over three criminal cases, but has worked on dozens of civil cases.
After the Q & A session, we went to observe a real court case. Have you heard Larry Seabrook? He's a New York City council member. In 2010, he was charged with money laundering, extortion and fraud. His initial trial led to a hung jury (no unanimous decision), so they had to start the trial over, with a new jury. We got to sit in on part of this re-trial.
The witnesses and evidence were hilarious. It took me a while to understand what was happening, but when I got a hold of it, I couldn't stop giggling. One of the witnesses was the owner of a local deli, who Seabrook's staff had ordered a sandwich from. This meal should have cost less than $10, but the receipt listed it as a $177 dollar expense. Jeffrey explained that this was likely an attempt to cover up illegal expenses (or at least that's what the prosecution was trying to prove).
We left the courthouse at the lunch break, to get some food. Luckily, China Town was nearby, and Jeffrey knew a great place for us to sit down and have lunch. This may not have been as extravagant as any of the dinners the ILC has taken us, but the food was fantastic, and the company made it fun. In the end, that's all that matters.
After lunch, we went back to campus. I was drenched after the walking around the city in dress clothes, so I took a quick shower.
Around 4:00 PM, we met Ms. L. outside of Low Library. Andrea (a Columbia student who we had dinner with) came to give us a tour of campus. Up until then, we had only seen the bottom half of campus, and we didn't know what many of the buildings were for, so it was really useful to hear from her.
After the tour, I went to the cafeteria to get dinner. After Aurea, Morvarid and Tomi left, I sat with some friend I had made from my hall. I found out that there was an RA trip to Neon Trees Concert this evening. I jumped on the opportunity, and went with Jason (someone from my floor) to buy tickets from the RA who was heading the trip. We took the subway down to Union Square, and walked to the performance location: Webster Hall.
There were three acts tonight: the two openers, JJAMZ and Penguin Prison, and the headliner, Neon Trees. The location was amazing. It's hard to describe it. I feel like I'd seen places like this in movies before. It was a really small venue, but they were able to fit a lot of people, because everyone was standing. I guess it was similar to a night club, but with rafters and a big stage. All of the bands were talented, but the final act was the most fun because everyone was so excited for it. I don't think I can express through this blog just how intense and fun this was, but I can tell you that I will remember this night for a LONG time.
I don't have much time left in New York, so I'm probably going to be cramming a lot of events into the next few days.