The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

View this profile on Instagram

The Torch (@sju_torch) • Instagram photos and videos

Photo Courtesy / YouTube Jojo Siwa
Jojo Siwa’s Bad Karma
Catherine Pascal, Staff Writer • May 3, 2024
Torch Photo / Anya Geiling
Live Show Spotlight: Roger Eno
Anya Geiling, Contributing Writer • April 30, 2024
Torch Photo / Olivia Rainson
Speed Dating Your Prospective Professors
Isabella Acierno, Outreach Manager • April 29, 2024

Heller’s Got Heart

What makes up New York’s ‘Beating Heart’ is the people
PHOTO+COURTESY%2FVIMEO+HELLER+FILMS
PHOTO COURTESY/VIMEO HELLER FILMS

Sure, people look forward to shopping on Madison Avenue, visiting the Empire State Building, attending the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and watching the light shows that dazzle Rockefeller Center, but these annual occurrences do not make New York City what it is. Neither do $1 pizzas, hot dog carts or the trademark “It’s our pleasure to serve you” coffees. What makes the city is the people. Their pitter-patter up and down the concrete streets and in and out of cheese-colored taxi cabs make up the beating heart of New York City.

Nicolas Heller, a New York local known as @newyorknico on Instagram identifies himself as the “unofficial talent scout of New York City” to his 448 thousand followers. He has realized the role of locals as the pulse of the city, and aims to document interesting characters whom he feels contribute to the funky, fresh, unique flavor of the concrete jungle. He has met people from all walks of life, including a San Gennaro festival participant, Vinny “Peanuts,” as he was popularly known, who ran a small business called Vinny’s Nut House. Heller has also become friends with a Central Park dweller whom he calls “Larry the Birdman.”

“New York is changing so much day-to-day. It’s always a fear of mine that it will become so commercialized and corporate that we’ll lose all of New York’s charm,” Heller said in an interview with Vimeo.  “Because the charm of New York City comes from the people.”

Heller embodies this New York City charm,having kept New Yorkers and admirers of the city in good spirits throughout quarantine. He has hosted many contests, including a face mask design contest and a New York accent challenge. Though quarantine allowed many to take part in fun, virtual events, it caused many businesses financial hardship. Heller used his platform to shoutout suffering mom-and-pop shops, even turning the shops’ fates from closure. Through his #momandpopdrop, candy stores, pharmacies, restaurants and thrift stores managed to stay afloat amidst the pandemic. Saigon, a Vietnamese Sandwich Shop, had posted a flyer on their front door asking customers to spread the word and order out. Heller passed by the shop, took pictures of the food, the flyer and the owner, and posted it online. It amassed almost 52 thousand likes and garnered much needed support during desperate times. New York Nico is the hero New York did not know it needed, but cannot live without. He encompasses New York’s Beating Heart.

 

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of St. John's University. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributor
Anna Pierratos, Assistant Opinion Editor
Donate to The Torch
$0
$500
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

We love comments and feedback, but we ask that you please be respectful in your responses.
All The Torch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *