Rocket Science: Alyssa Nasca

On beautiful buildings, swing dancing, and great American road trips.

Alyssa is a User Experience Manager at THINX, an advocate for women's rights and reproductive justice, an impassioned Lindy Hopper, and an anthropologist at heart. 


What’s your favorite New York City-based event?

Oh, that’s easy. I actually love Sleep No More. My favorite event that they put on is for Halloween, and it’s at the McKittrick Hotel. 

They go all-out, they eventually open all five stories. Oh, it’s amazing. I love interacting with the characters -- I’ve gone multiple times and tried to get characters to pull me into the secret rooms. It happened once; it was very private. 

So their Halloween party can’t be missed. It’s just amazing. Performances are happening all the time, different floors with different things, there are secret closets playing Rosemary’s Baby. Yeah, I really love that stuff.


What drew you to Lindy Hop?

A few things. I had recently ended a relationship, and after I end relationships (or they end themselves) I like to get a new hobby with all my spare time. 

So this is one of those breakup hobbies, and it stuck. I had also rewatched A League of Their Own, and in that movie, Madonna does this really sexy, fun swing dance bit in a bar. I looked at that and said, “I want to learn to do that.” It’s so cool. And so, I was like, “Well, I’m going to take Lindy Hop classes, I’m taking swing classes.” I realized it’s impossible to watch someone swing dance and not smile. It’s a really, really good feeling.


What’s something you think is really well-designed?

Oh my gosh, that’s hard. I recently saw a landing page by The New York Times that I was really impressed with. It was basically trashing the opening of Hudson Yards

They were really taking it out on them, but it had beautiful micro-interactions that kept going on the page. Sometimes they would shift their perspective completely, and I think it mostly impressed me because I realized it was just The New York Times taking down the Hudson Yards and the whole idea of that kind of consumerism. That made me laugh — that they spent a lot of time and energy on this beautiful page, but just to be like, “This all sucks.” 

You just got the green light for season one of your podcast. What’s it about?

Let’s see. I think it would have something to do with a change in mindset that you have in your 20s or 30s. We learn so much through the mistakes we make, and I think you can tell those stories in a comedic way. 

It might be really interesting to consider how you maintain your great attitude in your 20s -- that freedom of letting yourself make mistakes and not closing yourself off to anything. But learning how to do that into your 30s, where you’re more power-driven, you have more salary … and you know … you’re just better at who you are. That sounds really corny. But I think there is a lot to be said about the transitions and hearing from someone who is going from their 20s to 30s to 40s and see what’s changing. In a humorous way, because I wouldn’t want to let someone drone on about their whole life story without making it funny.

How would you describe your sense of style?

I don’t really have one. I will say that when I got into swing dancing, I suddenly realized that I never have to wear heels unless I really, really want to. Because you can swing dance in Keds. So, I ended up buying a lot of Keds and wearing a lot of dresses. 

I like to be comfortable. I might have a few interesting jewelry pieces, but I’m mostly about something that looks good with everything, whether it’s wide-leg pants and high-waisted things or dresses, but always with some nice pair of comfortable sneakers.

What’s your favorite building?

Ooh, I recently found out the name of it, it’s called The Cherokee and it’s on the Upper East Side near the water. I used to babysit across the street from it when I was in grad school. 

I thought it was an old hospital building, but it turns out it was built to house working-class families with a member who had tuberculosis. It’s not anything famous, but the interconnected design of the building doesn’t look like anything else. It has a very romantic look from the outside.

Let’s road trip somewhere. Where do you want to go?

In two years, I’m hoping to actually do a two-month road trip across the US. I’ve always been really into just smaller cities and towns. I definitely romanticize some in my mind, but just the places that people don’t think about ever leaving — I think there’s something really fascinating about that to me. 

What I would like to do is go west on the south route, definitely stopping at some of my favorite places, and then also see a bunch of other spots I’ve never been to. I’ve been to California a lot, maybe I’ll just skirt around there and go up to Oregon and then across the north on the way back. I definitely want to see Montana. I’ve heard it’s really beautiful. 

What’s your superpower at work?

Well, when I came here, we didn’t have much process, and that’s part of the reason I think I was hired because I think I’m pretty good at organizing cross-functional teams, and developing creative process that works for our company. 

I definitely would say we’re still working out the kinks, but I think that would probably be my superpower. I like to think that it helped me to build consensus around how we move forward as a company.




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