In New York City, I regularly experience a “first.” Whether I try out a new restaurant, record a music track in the Bronx, or get eyelash extensions in Koreatown, I often see or experience something for the first time. A couple of months ago, I received my first New York jury summons. Not knowing what it entails, but being more than aware that most people dread being called for jury duty, I was excited to see what it was all about. As it turns out, it wasn’t bad at all – in fact, I can think of more than one upside of serving jury duty in NYC.
I learned how the system works.
I’m the type who doesn’t like to be completely oblivious, but when it comes to our court system and the whole process in general, I was pretty in the dark about the details. I consider it an upside that I was finally able to learn about how court cases operate, how the jury selection works, and what serving as a juror involves.
I was able to see a new part of the city.
I live on the Upper East Side and only have time to go out on weekends (if that). For me, serving jury duty was an excuse to commute all the way downtown and walk around a part of the city I haven’t fully explored before. The architecture is beautiful, and the courthouse buildings create a thoroughly different atmosphere from the rest of the city. My day was also surprisingly quiet, which was refreshing after being on a packed 6 train.
Serving jury duty can be a freelancer’s dream.
After all the anticipation of serving jury duty, I didn’t even get picked for a case. None of us did. About 30 of us NYC locals basically sat around in a room for seven hours quietly reading, working, or playing Trivia Crack on our cell phones. And you know what? It was total bliss. Not only did I have a quiet day to work in peace, away from the noise and distractions in my apartment, but I also got paid $40. Depending on how one looks at it, serving jury duty in NYC is basically a freelancer’s dream.
The good bubble tea places are nearby.
It was a slow day in court, so my jury pool was granted a two-hour lunch break. Since we were so close to Chinatown, I used it as an opportunity to check out all the good bubble tea places nearby. (Not all bubble teas are created equal.) Although I’m a fan of ViVi Bubble Tea, I opted for something new this time around and stopped into Kung Fu Tea instead. Their taro bubble tea was amazing, and the tapioca pearls had the perfect amount of chewiness.
Jury duty made me feel like part of the city.
Sometimes, even after living in NYC for six years, I still feel like I’m just a visitor. If anything, a personal upside of serving jury duty was feeling like I’m truly part of the city and that I belong here. I saw the inner workings of our court system and completed my civic duty for a day (kind of… I had it easy). Sure, it’s a drag trekking all the way downtown first thing in the morning, but I can’t lie – it was a pretty cool experience.