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In Defense Of: The Ferris Staircase


You have to go deeper…into the abyss

To start up our In Defense Ofs this semester, Staircase Snob Alexandra Svokos decided to tackle one of the most universally abhorred features of Morningside Heights: the Ferris Booth Staircase.

Walking down College Walk this morning, I overheard two girls complaining that the university does not provide any space for students to actually interact with each other and meet new people.  To that I say: but what about the Ferris staircase?!  This glorious installment in our fine dining hall provides a perfect opportunity to introduce yourself and become quickly intimate, without the need for some social lubrication.

In fact, the staircase thrusts the sort of immediate intimacy one only  sees on a crowded subway train.  Suddenly, this stranger, walking up as you’re walking down, has to slide past your body in an acrobatic shimmy, giving you that physical interaction you’ve been craving since Saturday night.  You become connected in this moment, both after a common goal: to not flip that bowl of milk onto the unlucky table directly below the staircase.

Let’s talk practically about the staircase.  Spiral staircases take up less space than traditional ones.  A traditional staircase in Ferris would cut down on the amount of tables that can fit in the space, and they’re already cramped and crowded now.  Moreover, Ferris is in Lerner, meaning that we couldn’t just throw a regular old staircase in.  Can you imagine if there were a shitty ramp shoved into Ferris Booth?  Nuh-uh, not OK.  Spiral staircases are also aesthetically pleasing, which is something we all undervalue in this world.

The staircase also functions as a foolproof litmus test of manners.  Common courtesy indicates that one should look up or down before one begins the walk, therefore not interrupting someone’s trek.  Remember that cute boy you gave your number to who never called?  If only you’d seen him look up the staircase, see someone  coming down, but plowed on up anyways you could have avoided this heartache–you’d have already known that he’s a dick.

But I want to get back to this whole community-building facet.  We complain so much about the lack of togetherness on campus.  Well, nothing brings people together more than a common enemy.  We all have stories of tripping over someone’s foot and dropping your plate of pesto pasta, it’s a great icebreaker.  In the spirit of tradition, a protest of the staircase would bring out the largest group of Columbia students since 1968.  But until that day comes, stay comforted that due to this staircase, you now have scores of new best friends.  And you’ve spilled orange juice on each of their crotches.

Piece of shit via Shutterstock

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  • CC '15 says:

    @CC '15 I’ve never felt many emotions toward the Ferris staircase before, but now that I realize I’ve never made a best friend on it I’m rather angry.

  • RIP FERRIS STAIRCASE, 20??-2014 says:

    @RIP FERRIS STAIRCASE, 20??-2014 A second staircase is under construction, and each will be one direction only.

    1. Anonymous says:


  • anon says:

    @anon I once bumped into a girl on the ferris staircase and she got pregnant from the encounter. Ain’t nobody got time for that

    1. F7U12 says:

      @F7U12 I accidentally hit the thumbs down.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Columbia is a small intimate campus where everyone lives on campus.The dorms, classrooms, dining halls, libraries are only steps from each other. It is great for meeting people.

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