Which Is Better: Dodge Fitness Center or Penn Station?

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Dodge, in all of its basement majesty.

Dodge Fitness Center is the hub of Columbia’s physical education and recreation activities. Penn Station is the hub of New York City’s connection to Long Island, New Jersey, and the rest of the Northeast. But are these two iconic locations secretly the same place? Is one worse than the other? Using complex metrics, we performed a side-by-side comparison to see which sweaty, underground maze is better.

Location: Penn Station is pretty accessible from campus – when the 1 train is working. If it is, getting to Penn Station costs $2.75 and takes about 20 minutes of your time. In contrast, Dodge is a 5-10 minute walk from most dorms, and it doesn’t cost any money to swipe in. As a bonus, you don’t have to depend on the MTA! Advantage: Dodge

Lighting: No matter the hour, both of these locations feature harsh fluorescent lighting to keep you awake and alert. Neither location has any windows to give you any idea of the outside world. Advantage: Tie

Rats: This may be like comparing apples to oranges, considering the differences between uptown and downtown rats. Penn Station is home to a wide array of fauna, visible most often on the train tracks. Columbia students at Dodge may be snakes, but they’re not the kind that eat rats. As such, at least a few rats are probably hiding around in the bowels of Dodge. Still, Penn makes Dodge look squeaky-clean. Advantage: Dodge


Smell: Is there truly a way to describe the scent of Penn Station? Is it sweat? Spilled milk? Broken dreams? Whatever the scent, certain corners of the transit hub can get pretty musty. Still, they don’t hold a candle to Dodge, and its myriad types of sweat. Throw is stress sweat from school, exertion sweat from the basketball courts, and the cloying scent of chlorine from the pool, and Dodge can make anyone turn their nose. Advantage: Penn Station

Ease of Navigation: Why did I enter on floor four? How do I get to Squash Court 12 and why is that the name of a meeting room? Why does Columbia have two buildings named Dodge? These are just some of the questions you will ask while attempting to navigate Dodge Fitness Center. It’s just about as confusing as Penn Station, whose multi-level design has stymied commuters for decades. If you haven’t been trapped in the New Jersey Transit wing with no way to get out, then you’ve never truly experienced the station. Advantage: Tie

Bathrooms: Dodge definitely takes the advantage on the number and quality of bathrooms, as they are present in all locker rooms and at other locations around the gym. Penn Station has some pretty icky bathrooms at the waiting areas and… that’s about it. Advantage: Dodge

Sauna Access: Sure, Dodge has a literal sauna that gives a great way to relax after a workout. But if you go down to the track level for a while at Penn, it will also be 120° and steamy. Advantage: Tie

Image via Bwog Staff

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