Obama’s Roommate, Plus Obama’s New York
Written by Bwog Staff
Two pieces of (somewhat) Obama-related media: first, one of his first college roommates writes about their time together in the fall of 1981. Phil Boerner ’84, who transferred with Obama from Occidental, remembers Obama that, “as a host and roommate, he sometimes did the shopping and cooked the chicken curry.” Oh, and Obama may have spent so much time in the library because “our apartment had irregular heat, and we didn’t enjoy hanging out there once the weather got cold.” The pair also hit up establishments that Columbia students still haunt, including Tom’s (“for breakfast”), the Met, and the Central Park jogging loop.
Meanwhile, in the New York Times, author Kevin Baker ’80 decides that, because he “came to New York, and to Columbia University, just a few years before Barack Obama arrived in 1981,” he should remind us what New York was like in the early 80s. “It was a dirtier city then, more violent, more interesting,” he writes, “more accessible to poor, eager young people.” Still, “everything seemed like a revelation, right from the first day at Columbia, when my art humanities professor took us to St. John the Divine and explained what a Gothic cathedral was.” Some things never change.