Campus Corners: The TV Graveyard

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Eric Grossman explores a hidden nook: the TV Graveyard on 116th. Spooky! Topical!

Like any institution, Columbia has no shortage of gritty, dark recesses and maintenance staff (which are not necessarily related) on which to maintain its stately veneer. While some breathe in the light of day, others go unseen to the common eye. So, turning towards the latter, let’s talk about trash. Like any sensible university, Columbia has its own special place for e-waste and past-prime devices.

Walk uptown from the gates on 116th and Amsterdam, and you’ll shortly come across a wide opening under the Engineering Terrace at 119th St. (during the week; it closes otherwise) with an obligatory security booth on your left. This may not be news to many of you. Proceeding through it, you’ll have to overcome the overpowering aroma of your own waste—what amounts to a cloud of fried/wet dog odor—before you arrive at our chosen location, a long tunnel proceeding below Mudd, Schermerhorn, and Uris. This is, sadly, all that’s left of the fabled Grove of years past. Here, lining the wall, a series of cubic-meter cardboard boxes awaits our prying eyes.  If Amsterdam isn’t your territory, you can also reach this graveyard by taking the stairs down (yes, further down) from the entrance to Dodge Gym to the bus garage.

On a given day, one can make this journey to find all manner of bulky, obsolete devices perching haphazardly upon one another in these boxes. The contents range from half-dissected and old PCs to outmoded, broadcast-grade VCRs. On the day I occasioned the boxes most frequently, a large CRT television sat glumly on the concrete between two printer-filled boxes. Perhaps these old electronics get a nice rebirth as recycled material, or perhaps they find oblivion in a landfill.

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  1. ...  

    it smells like cancer underneath that rollup door. ...and i don't think that smell is just the garbage... i think there's something else down there that produces that distinct smell.

  2. yeah  

    that smell is the smell of hundreds of rotting dead mice from the bio test labs. enjoy.

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