There are three kinds of posters that attack your eyes and validate every cliché about college males as you enter their dorm rooms. They are the Three B’s: Bob Marley, Beirut rules, and Boobz. None of these are found in this particular McBain double. The inhabitants proudly display an original “B” known to all Columbia students: Broadway.
We’ll call the boys who live here A. and N. not because they are regulars on Gossip Girl, but because of the large street sign in their room that very well may be a no-no. So how did it end up there? “That story involves lots of alcohol,” says A.
N. breaks it down: N. and his lady friend were walking down 100th St. in the wee hours, a little intoxicated, and came across this sign lying on the sidewalk. “It looked like it had been knocked down in the windstorm. So I was like, ‘Should we take it?’ And at that moment an MTA van pulls up. They stop there and sort of look at us for a while, so I go over to the guy and ask, ‘If this sign happened to not be here tomorrow morning, would anybody get in trouble?’ and he replies, ‘Look man, if you’re not here, I’m not here.’”
So the two of them scooped up their find and continued on their merry way. Eventually, it was deemed necessary to take a cab. “Because the sign is so long, a foot of it was sticking out either side of the cab driving up Broadway. And it still had the metal pole it was attached to.”
This is only one of the prized stories N. and A. have about the contents of their room, which is a truly collaborative effort by themselves, Craigslist, and the treasure trove that is the streets: “We got that from some crazy guy in Times Square…. We went down to this woman’s apartment, she was selling drugs while we were there but she also sold us a couch.” As A. says of his room, “If we did six degrees of separation it would get right to Bloomberg or the Department of Transportation.”
The room is large with a uniquely curved wall. The pair embraced the strange beast by covering it with record sleeves, another great NYC find. “We invited some friends over and we were sitting around and we held them up and voted.” Since there is no record player, the records themselves are arranged in the opposite corner, on the ceiling. Their view is horrible, but provides entertainment, as it looks directly into the opposite apartment. And yes, they have certainly seen some stuff go down across the way.
As far as living together, the two don’t only just have the personalized Heineken bottles (purchased by N. in Amsterdam) in common. They both enjoy taking naps on their couch, and believe a robe is an essential college item. One striking difference is their political beliefs: “N. is conservative in a very dry, and truly conservative way. He constructs his world-view from a utilitarian place. So do I,” explains A, “but my evaluations of certain things allow me to end up in a more liberal position.”
Each of them brings their own background into their room. A.’s University of Kansas flag hangs proudly above his bed, and he takes all the credit for the lighting. N.’s hats are stacked in the corner along with a collection of shot glasses. Each has their own favorite tween pop star displayed on their walls. In A’s corner, J.Biebs: “This [pointing to the poster] is the pinnacle of new musical tastes, to me, the Beethoven of the 21st century.” And in N.’s corner, TSwift: “It was like one my favorite concerts ever.”
Despite these differences, the McBain roommates get on famously, and have found the room is a great gathering place for their friends. A. observes, “The room is a good middle ground for the both of us. We found the things that we both like and brought them in. I think through the Dialectical Method of Plato, we have found the most harmonious route.”