Bwog met NYU student W.M. Akers at a bar one night, and found that his fair institution could use some explaining. They don’t have a Core, a campus, or 250 years of academic elitism–but there are some (dubiously) redeeming qualities.
Columbia‘s Claremont dorm, two blocks from the 116th stop, is classified as “Extreme West of Campus,” hyperbole that seems quaint to an NYU student. Though a few of us—mainly freshmen—actually live around on “campus,” we have housing from 23rd Street to the Financial District. While Columbia expands through financial might, NYU’s student body does that work for it. On Friday nights you can see flocks of stumbling blondes outside the sorority housing in Chinatown, while actors just let out of Studio step through Madison Square with songs on their lips. Call it soft power.
Ever play the name game with people from other cities? “You’re from Atlanta? Do you know Tom?” NYU students play that game with each other, and with similar success rates. There are some 18,000 undergrads here, and none of us know anyone. Did you have a hygiene accident in a dorm hallway last year? Don’t worry, because outside of your tiny circle of disgusted friends, no one else knows about it. Go meet other people, and let your natural charm shine through. You’ll have a fresh start in no time.
The curse of the liberal arts education is that, for most of us, it’s simply too liberal. Anyone interested in one humanity loves them all, making it difficult to choose between the passing fancies we have for everything from anthro to art history to Arabic. I want to major in everything, which is why I’m horrified when I hear one of NYU’s extremely well dressed undergraduates at the Stern School of Business complaining on the bus that, “I’ve already taken Financial Report Analysis and Competitive Change, so I have to find an elective for next semester. I can’t think of anything!” Can greed really be their profession and their hobby?
There’s a reason all the subways converge on Union Square and not Riverside Park. Though not officially as cool as anything across the East River, there are still great bars, restaurants and people watching below 14th Street. This makes it a natural weekend destination for Columbia students without the energy to go to Brooklyn or the know-how to track how far one has to travel out the L to still be hip. NYU dorms give us an excuse to live where you visit.
Besides our mention in this clip, Washington Square is probably the best part of the university. Though the fountain is off for the season and the benches are no longer crowded with families and reading students, the park is still the loveliest way to get from the library and student center to the classrooms. Even in Winter it has an antique, severe beauty. Its continued attraction means that I can perch from certain vantages and see every student walking to and from class, as well as the odd lunatic wandering through the pack. If you’re curious about what they’re up to, come down and take a bench on the North-East Corridor and see for yourself. But if you don’t have the $2, don’t fret. I’ll be keeping an eye on them for you.
Tags: nyu, nyu diaries