Night Train to Brooklyn: Potluck Run Amok

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Bwog freelancer Yelena Shuster ventured into the underground with the Potluck House kids Friday night.

Friday night was no ordinary party in Brooklyn–with Potluckers in the lead, a subway car full of whooping kids traded in hipster wear for flapper costumes, cigarettes for party blowers, and Williamsburg for Brighton Beach.

The rendezvous was no exception to Potluck (aka Symposium) House’s tradition of random revelry. Previous subway takeovers by Columbia’s special interest housing group featured a Dalmatian costume, a run-in with the NYPD, and a group of sailors looking for kicks on their last night before departure. (The Facebook event reminded invitees “not to bring anything that will get you arrested!”).

At 1:00 AM, forty screaming Ivy Leaguers ambushed a car on the Q train, tambourines and makeshift drums at hand. Faces painted and eyes masked, students howled and grinded to the self-created beat of wooden and metal spoons (and water bottles) banging on bars. Green streamers and blue balloons completed the festivities.

A middle-aged man named Dennis followed the fun from 116th Street. As Linnea Hincks (the bedazzled lady in red), CC’10, scrawled “Feminist” on his forehead with red lipstick, he remarked, “I wish I could do more of this kind of thing.” Dennis–as free with his hands as he was with his quips–said he “trades and sells stocks” for a living.

Hincks also marked a 22-year-old MSNBC reporter’s face as “Bikini Kill” while he scrawled notes on his hand. On the other end of the car, a homeless man–who finished the ride sans shirt–also joined in the dancing (to the chagrin of more straight-laced passengers). Most of the riders remained voyeurs. If they were annoyed, they were too busy ogling to care.

Meanwhile, the subway wobbled all the way to the Land of Cyrillic. Shoes, clothing, and shame were abandoned before skinny dipping at Brighton Beach. A pile of discarded boxers and bras littered the sand. (“I put on someone’s jeans and they weren’t mine” said a voice in the dark). Caroline Robertson, CC’09, house member and subway party organizer, initiated a final moment of silence that marked the end of the night.

On the way back to the subway, Robertson was accosted by beefy, leather-clad Slavs asking “Russian speak? Russian speak?” But neither the late night chill or sketchy come ons could ruin the calm after the cacophony. As the beat of the drums came to a stand-still and heads rested on friend’s laps for the long ride back, no one felt more at peace.






Photos by Yelena Shuster

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  1. Why is nude  

    swimming biased against the obese?

    It's skinny dipping!

  2. hmm

    that girl might not appreciate the third large picture you posted.

  3. stacksman  

    fun is stupid!!

  4. ...

    hahaha... this makes me think of that south park episode with the hippies...

  5. amazing photographs!  

    And a great story! Wish I'd gone.

  6. love  

    love and more love. i feel bad on subway parties until i realize that people on the subway are grinning and tapping their feet. and when they get up and dance and join us? that's the best.

  7. why  

    can't there be more people like this?

  8. without a doubt  

    the best night of my young life.

  9. yeah  

    As much as it's really weird that somebody chronicled this in a bwog post, it's nice to see people at Columbia not take themselves so seriously. For a lot of those kids, it was probably their first adventure, and everybody should get a chance to live how my friends and I did from ages 12 to 15.

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