#ferris booth
Boringside From The Future: Ferris Staircase Edition
H/fear now more.

Here/fear no more.

According to the Spectator, the swanky new tables (which, according to rumors Bwog’s friends have heard, is supposed to promote community at Columbia) in Ferris are not the only changes coming to the dining hall. Spec reports that, a year following the renovations to John Jay, Ferris may be getting a new serving area and (wait for it) better stairs!

The changes to the dining hall are additionally there to provide more capacity for a trial program between Barnard and Columbia Dining that would allow Barnard students to eat breakfast in Ferris and Columbia students to have it in Hewitt. More exciting than extra space, of course, is the prospect of walking up-and-downstairs without the constant terror of getting food dumped on one’s head.

Stay tuned in the fall to see if people would still rather hit the Jay.

Baby Boringside: Ferris Tries To Get Better
sweet new tables, man

So different…and yet so familiar

Ferris has made some upgrades over break and they are literally life-changing. No, not the staircase. They’ve given us some swanky new tables and room to breathe by adding new bar areas. So now, on your way to get more triangle hash browns, you’ll only crash into four people and knock over two bags.

The downside? If you go to Ferris during peak hours, you’ll probably have to sit next to your friends in a long line at the bar. Have fun playing telephone if your group is more than three people!

So, to recap, here’s a list of things you can do in the new Ferris:

  • Pass people without one or both of you dropping your food (but still not on the staircase…)
  • Struggle to ever find a seat at an actual table
  • Sit at the bar area and really freak out watch the people on the ramps
  • Brush up on your telephone skills

Nobody’s perfect.

Boringside: So Many Napkins Edition

There is always room for change around Morningside Heights. Bwog would like to gently point out these updates in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Columbia life. For better or for worse, several venues have led the charge with a new coat of paint or a newfound stingy sign.  It’s about the little things in life, you know?

Overheard: An Age-Old Adage

Age is just a number.

Though it’s embarrassing to admit it any time after NSOP, we all miss Sex and the City from time to time. A lucky tipster got to relive a little bit of it in Ferris yesterday when he unwittingly sat next to two Samanthas:

Girl 1: Ew, he’s like 28!

Girl 2: No, he’s 26.

Girl 1: So? He’s still really old.

Girl 2: 28 is creepy, 26 is endearing.


Lady in blue via Wikimedia Commons.

Overheard: Inane Expectations
Einstein with chalkboard

He never thought he'd have to use the chain rule again, either

Disillusionment expressed over soggy pasta at Ferris:

Student: I thought work ended in high school…this is terrible.

Apparent derivation of LOL via Wikimedia Commons

What Can Be Accomplished in 15 Minutes That Requires No Students to Be Around?

Sorry, guys.

Update, 2:15pm: They’re open again!

You Say Tomato, I Say It’s a Lean Year

Columbia’s ivory tower does not exist in a vacuum after all! A hard freeze in Mexico, which forced Wendy’s to offer tomatoes by request only, has struck our very own Ferris Booth.

Ferris will not serve tomatoes “until further notice.”

However, it’s not all bad—the tomato shortage is probably good for tomato farmers demanding one more penny per pound. But Trader Joes’ doesn’t want to pay that extra penny, so people are protesting at the UWS branch!

Also of note: Ferris supports the Oxford comma!  So does Bwog!

Boringside Heights: Dazzling Things Edition

Things spotted by Bwog this week that were less dull, and more sparkly, in all sorts of ways:

The bookstore is now totally stocked for holiday shopping…but more
importantly there are hats with rhinestones! Thank god for Collegiate Fashionista!

Holiday lights at Westside

New light outside Greenborough

New signs at Ferris Booth proclaim the glory of food. If Virginia Woolf liked it…


CCSC: A Discussion

Dining Plan ca. 1066

Grant D’Avino reports!

Last night’s CCSC meeting opened with introductions, as it was the first meeting that included representatives and officers from the class of 2014. Along with his or her name and position in CCSC, each person was asked to share an adjective that described him or herself at the present. Bwog’s favorites, in no particular order: dehydrated, amused, whelmed, not sad, fantabulous.

The main business of the meeting was discussion of a resolution to recommend changes to the dining plan. The proposed resolution, even once passed, will not be a mandate, and its suggestions will not necessarily be put in place. The body debated whether John Jay or Ferris Booth should remain open on weekends, with opinion strongly in favor of opening John Jay. It was suggested that John Jay provides the quintessential freshman dining hall experience, and should remain open because it is designed to hold more people than Ferris Booth and looks like Hogwarts.

Other proposals in the draft of the resolution discussed at the meeting included an option for meals to be cooked “healthy style,” a new take-out window to be implemented at JJ’s Place, and a reduction in the price of meals for people without meal plans. The fundamental problem that JJ’s cannot exist simultaneously as a hangout, a meal swipe only dining hall, and an a la carte grill was the cause of much concern among members, especially because JJ’s Place as a meal swipe only dining hall has proved more profitable than previous years’ a la carte incarnation.

As debate over each issue seemed to be intense enough to warrant a number of changes in the proposed resolution, there was no vote, and a revised resolution will be introduced at next week’s meeting. Other resolutions were tabled for the evening.

Image via Wikimedia Commons

Morningside Heights Is A Den Of Filth

Media Luna Mexican Deli did not fare so well.

The Health Department is, as of this summer, requiring that every restaurant in New York display the letter grades they most recently received for cleanliness.

This is a nightmare for everyone; it’s rare that any restaurant will sneak away with no health violations. The grades will be assigned during the next year, when the Health Department conducts its next rounds of inspections. The grades will be issued as follows: 0-13 points gets an A, 14-27 a B, and 28 and above a C. You know, like Calc II.  This numbered rating system, however, is due to be made more lenient (after all, who cares about burned-out lightbulbs?) before the letter grades are assigned so the correlation between numbers and letters isn’t accurate just yet.

In the meantime, that Health Department has created a website that lists the violations of every restaurant in the city after their most recent inspection. The results from Morningside are occasionally surprising (Hewitt/John Jay) and generally terrifying (there are mice everywhere). Here’s a list of the most popular Columbia restaurants and bars. We note when they were most recently reviewed and pick their most notable violations. Individual links don’t work, but if you want to go through every single one of them, go here for 10025 and here for 10027 and start clicking. These restaurants will probably maybe get their shit together in the next year so that they don’t get big old fat B’s in the window once the next round of inspections starts. We can but pray.

  • As of February 23rd, Deluxe, blissfully, has a mere 5 points for its plumbing (which a friend of Bwog’s may be partially accountable for, as she got her pregnancy test stuck in the toilet. Whoops!) Mill Korean has 2 points for plumbing.
  • Brownie’s, you are angelic. 0 points as of last September.
  • Vareli and Maoz each have 2 points, Maoz because it does not have an “immersion basket.” Noobs!
  • As of January, Koronet has a dazzling, sparkling 4 points for plumbing. The Heights also has 4 for mysterious pesticide use as of January.
  • Law School’s Lenfest has 7 for bad toilets as of last November.
  • Cafe East also has 7 as of May for improper cold food storage.
  • Cafe 212 has 8 for inadequate lighting improper “non-food contact surface” construction. So, phew. Last inspected last September.
  • As of last August, Symposium has only 5 points, even though the food sometimes tastes like it has been bathed in chlorine.
  • After a rough 62 violations in June 2009, Campo bounces back with 4.
  • Strokos has 9 violations as of January, one for cold food behind held above 41 ºF.
  • Carleton Lounge in Mudd has 9 as of last December for evidence of mice.
  • As of January, Dinosaur BBQ has 10 for bizarre internal food cooling/heating measures.
  • Ferris Booth gets 12 as of last December for improper cold food storage.
  • Lion’s Head gets 11 as of last February. “Evidence of mice or live mice.” Now it begins, friends.
  • Thai Market has 14 as of March, for improper cleaning.
  • As of May, Uris gets 14 for improper food surface cleaning.
  • JTS: 15, for evidence of mice as of February.
  • The Diana Cafeteria gets 14 as of April for improper cold food storage and undated or expired milk.
  • Heartbreak: M2M gets 15 as of July, for evidence of mice, improper cleaning, “evidence of flying insects” and “inadequate personal cleanliness.”
  • Butler Cafe got 18 in March for the thermometer rule and improper cold food storage.
  • As of June 4th, Ollie’s also gets 15 for cold food held above 41 ºF and evidence of mice.
  • La Negrita, or 999, or whatever, has 15 as of July 8th, but no mice!
  • As of June, Taqueria has 17 points (coulda been worse) for cold food held above 41 ºF but no vermin!
  • John Jay Dining Hall, the would-be mother of them all, got 18 last July for evidence of mice, rats and flying insects.
  • As of last September, Columbia Cottage has 21 points for cold food storage and some weird problem with a thermometer.
  • Le Monde was last inspected in April, and got 21 points for spoiled food. Fun fact: Bwog once found a caterpillar in our salad at Le Monde, but they were very nice about it.
  • Cannon’s, which the Health Department spells “Gannon’s” gets 21 for improper handwashing, a bad bathroom, etc. Last inspected in March.
  • Max Soha has 23 points as of January for mice, flying insects and improper food surface cleaning.
  • Kitchenette got 23 last December for roaches and improper cold food storage.
  • Some actually shocking news: Hewitt has 5 more points than John Jay, clocking in at 23 as of March, for food unprotected from contamination, improper thawing procedures, and improper lighting.
  • Roti Roll, or “Roti Rill” according to the Department, gets a 25 (still not a C, right!) for flying insects and improper cold food storage. Inspected in July.
  • Tom’s, last inspected in September 2009, gets 21 for the weird thermometer problem and improper cold food storage.
  • Vine, inspected in March, stores neither hot nor cold food correctly, and gets a 22.
  • As of March, Nussbaum has 23: evidence of mice.
  • Faculty House, fanciest place in the 100-27, gets 25 for evidence of mice and improper storage or usage of sanitized equipment as of March.
  • Havana Central has evidence of mice and spoiled food as of March; 24 points.
  • Inspected in January, 1020 shocks and awes with 22 points for improper handwashing facility/toilet area.
  • Hungarian: 22 points for evidence of mice and rats as of January.
  • We knew Pinkberry was made of weird animals. Well, psych, but it is apparently made of unpasteurized milk, earning it a whopping 30 points.

More listings, while we’re at it: in the Princeton Review 2011 college listings, Columbia was listed as being in a “great college town.” Unclear if that’s Morningside Heights or New York, but you make your own guesstimate. The Princeton Review also ranked the Top 20 best college newspapers. Guess who’s missing?

Update: And we almost forgot Pinnacle—21 points as of February, for evidence of mice, milk improperly dated/expired.

CCSC Report: Showdown Over Study Days And Meal Plans

The Study Day-Standoff: Last night’s CCSC meeting saw unanimous passage of a proposal to start the academic year a week earlier when Labor Day falls on September 5th or later. The passage was the first step by the councils towards forming a united undergraduate front in advance of Friday’s University Senate Plenary, in the face of what council members called “intractable” opposition from the Senate Education Committee. The proposal next goes to the other three undergraduate councils, where it’s expected to be passed, before debate begins on the proposal in the Senate on Friday. Senate sources told Bwog not to expect a vote on Friday however.

The New Meal Plan: As part of his visit to CCSC, VP for Student and Administrative Services Scott Wright announced a new meal plan for next year. The important points:

  • First-year meals will be by week rather than by term (either 19 or 15 per week)
  • JJ’s and Ferris will join John Jay as all-you-can-eat for the price of one meal, with the latter being open from 7:30 am – 8:00 pm six days of the week
  • The number of meals will go up, but Dining Dollars will decline significantly, to no more than $200 per semester
  • In total, students will be limited to four meals per day – “and after that,” Wright said, “we’ll send you to a vending machine.”

Part of the reason for the change is that business at on-campus eateries like Ferris and JJ’s has suffered as off-campus Flex spending has topped $2 million this year. The full plan is available at Dining’s website.


Boringside Heights: You Asked For It Edition

Bwog clicks its heels in the air with joy for the ability to use credit/debit at campus dining locations. Confirmed at Ferris Booth and John Jay, rumored at Carlton Lounge… we suspect there may be more. Swipe your parents’ money hearts away!

Photo by Joy Jorgensen

There Are No Chairs

Where are the chairs? Until they are returned to Ferris…no justice, no peace!

On the Horizon: Meal Plan Changes

johnjayBig changes could be on the way next year for how Columbia students do on-campus dining, especially for those on meal plans. According to student government sources, to meet student desire for greater flexibility in their dining plans and to encourage healthier eating habits, meal plans will be shifting from the current meals-per-semester system to a meals-per-week system. Furthermore, instead of the current lunch-and-dinner-only setup, there will be four different meal times: breakfast, lunch, dinner, and after dinner. The exact times of those four meals, and the amount of meals available per week, are still being settled.

In addition, Ferris Booth and JJ’s Place will now be incorporated into the meal plan, with Ferris Booth joining John Jay as an all-you-can-eat location. The changes will only apply to meal plans, with upperclassmen continuing to have the option of dropping the meal plan entirely, though they can of course choose the meals-per-week plan if they wish.

Finally, Dining will bow to convenience and also start accepting credit cards next semester at all locations.

- DH

ESC: Cafe 212 Imposes Limits, Bureaucracy Comes to Student Groups

saladBwog’s Sean Zimmerman reports from ESC’s first meeting.

“We’re pretty sexy, so I’d like to spread that sexiness around.” Varun Gulati’s personal goal for ESC was one of many discussed at the first Engineering Student Council meeting, in which council members congregated in Lerner Cinema to discuss the coming year.  A new year brings new concerns, so never fear: Senator Rajat Roy clarified that “NROTC will not be an issue this year.”

Council members got personal while discussing dining changes; in reference to Cafe 212′s new policy that students can no longer build custom salads, Rajat bemoaned that he “wants the ability to customize [his] salad.”  Council members suspected that Dining Services’ trademark thrift came into play — perhaps some students would often fill their salads with expensive items and pay the same price as students who ordered more basic salads.