In which Bwog staffer Mark Krotov familiarizes us with the places where you can find him when he’s supposed to be in class.
On Friday nights, the entrance to East Campus is a stampede of excited drunkards and impatient Barnard girls, all waiting to enter a monolithic structure that is an almost mythical haven for parties of all kinds.
But for some visitors to East Campus, neither their entrance nor their final destination is the least bit dramatic. These visitors, either conference attendees or parents who want to stay very close to their children (like my mom, who visited last weekend), get a sleek blue pass key that the guards swipe without hesitation, and which opens their rooms on the sixth floor of EC.
When I first entered my mom’s hotel room (while the official title of the space may be Conference Housing and Guest Accommodations, it is unmistakably a hotel), I was taken aback. Here, crammed between floors of partygoers, and only across the hall from a row of doubles, was a space that looked far more like an expensive Holiday Inn room than the exclusion suites located above it. The rooms are one and a half floors tall, meaning that one has to walk down a set of stairs inside the room, giving the place an epic ambience. There are two huge full beds, overabundant white towels, an automatically flushing toilet, a TV with HBO, a coffeemaker, and a mini-fridge. All of this, with daily housekeeping services.
The strangest part of the setup is the rooms’ disjunction from their immediate surroundings. The rooms have the same view of Harlem (with the looming ConEd plant in the background) as any other room on the east side of the building, the elevator that one takes to get to the room is still emblazoned with “VACHINA?” and when you walk out, you can still buy an energy drink downstairs. But the presence of this clean, sterilized space, right in East Campus, is a bit unsettling. Each year, we spend a lot of time decorating our rooms in order to to make them our own. That there are rooms in EC dedicated to total transience is odd in itself, but it is a little sad to know that those hotel rooms will be there far longer than we will.