Campus Corners – Legendary Cubicles

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In which Bwog staffer Mark Krotov familiarizes us with the places where you can find him when he’s supposed to be in class.

The first time I came upon the Lehman cubicles, I felt like one of those schoolboys who discovered the Lascaux caves. Although hardly prehistoric in the traditional sense, the Lehman cubicles are relics of another era. They sit on the bottom of floor of Lehman Library, a building equal parts anachronism and mystery. I imagine students sitting there in the 1960s, studying Soviet maps and reading Pravda, eagerly plowing through documents that would bring them a little closer to these mysterious ‘International Affairs.’ But today, Lehman, which sits below the International Affairs Building, behind evening swipe access, and away from the undergraduate studying mecca of Lerner-Butler, is like an infinite private study space. And nothing in Lehman is more private than the cubicles.

One has to walk down the spiral staircase, turn around, walk to the back, and suddenly, there they are, embedded into nondescript walls, next to stacks with texts describing Estonia’s recent economic progress. Rooms without doors, they seem far more private than such a description suggests. Indeed, one could easily fall asleep there (which I may have done), sit there for ten hours straight (which I’m fairly certain I’ve done), or sneak in pounds of snacks from the well-stocked vending machines upstairs (which I’ve not done, as far as the Lehman staff is concerned). Each cubicle has two chairs and power outlets, but only one has a series of poems, scrawled in black ink on the wall, detailing the connections between realpolitik and Lil’ Jon. Such a creation seems entirely appropriate. In the anonymous, lonely liminality of Lehman, inspiration is everywhere, even on the cream-colored walls. In one cubicle, someone wrote: “Wake up. Enjoy your solitude.” As far as Lehman staff is concerned, I did not write that.

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  1. RA

    More posts like this! Lehman really is the hidden jewel of Columbia's libraries. Buried in the heart of IAB, you can't even figure out its volume: rooms flow into each other and the rows of cubicles just seem to stretch on and on.

  2. ad

    ugh now the secret's out.

  3. great post

    but what was mark doing writing at 2:27 am on valentine's morning?

  4. great post

    avi--i think now you see my point.

  5. undercolumbia2

    there is a dirty side to lehman, if you go to the computer lab, then up the stairs in the back, there is a balcony with private study offices that are capital-s Sketchy. Groady chairs, locking doors... you guys figure it out.

  6. becky

    you do know that those little schoolboys who discovered the Lascaux caves were gay, right?

  7. Herbert H. Lehman

    Idiots. This is information that Butler-ites aren't supposed to become aware of. Oh well. Since IAB isn't in the little campus bubble, maybe the lemmings will stay put.

  8. Anonymous

    or start having sexin YOUR stacks. Lehman, the new (dorkier, mustier) sexual frontier.

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