Campus Corners – Schapiro in the Sky

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Welcome back to our semi-weekly feature, in which Bwog contributor Mark Krotov takes you to the lesser known gems on our fair campus, forever ruining them for those who didn’t need the hint. 

schapiroIn last year’s debate over Flash access to Columbia dorms for Barnard students, opponents somewhat arrogantly hypothesized that a free-flowing student body would overtake valuable Columbia facilities, such as East Campus gyms or Schapiro practice rooms. This didn’t make much sense to me until I entered the Schapiro sky lounge, at which point I decided that opposing Flash access is not enough. Every student, no matter what their undergraduate affiliation, should be banned from the 17th floor of Schapiro—except for me. Because I want the whole room to myself.

But because my dreams of solitude will probably remain unfulfilled, I must resign myself to enjoying the space in equally contended company. While the building itself may be better known for tiny doubles and tinier showers, the sky lounge is massive, covering a large portion of the floor’s surface area. It’s quiet and cell phone-free, and though the space lacks Butler’s sexual tension and Lerner’s unending drum circle soundtrack, it makes up for it with sheer visual stimulation. Windows make up most of the north, south, and east sides, allowing one to sit for about five minutes reading diligently until a decision to stretch turns into half an hour of gawking at Manhattan, the Hudson, and New Jersey—I dare anyone to commit him or herself to studying as the sun sets over the river. With every surrounding façade illuminated in bright red, I find it futile to focus on the earthly. At night, getting work done is easier, though I am never more than ten minutes away from a glance southbound at the Midtown skyline.

So I’m probably being unfair in promoting mass exclusion from the Schapiro sky lounge. Quiet and healthy distractions are hard to come by on campus, and if getting through a textbook is easier with a 17th floor view, then bring on the hordes.

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