Bwog takes “city campus” to the next level.

“Columbia’s campus may be small compared to other colleges, but if you think about it, the city is your campus,” my tour guide told me, three years ago, as I anxiously followed her confident steps around Columbia’s architectural hodgepodge. Little did I know how right she would turn out to be. Despite the high percentage of word count in my “why Barnard” supplement devoted to detailing my excitement about going to college in the greatest city in the world, I soon discovered that my busy class schedule and general laziness prevented me from often leaving the confines of Morningside Heights. The city was my campus, but the campus soon became my city. Indeed, I’ve discovered that many buildings on Columbia’s and Barnard’s campuses have amalgamated in my mind with various NYC neighborhoods. The various, incoherent architectural styles and eras that make up our educational environment are as diverse as the neighborhoods in our city itself. Therefore, Bwog presents—a list of Barnumbia buildings as NYC neighborhoods. 

Avery Library: Park Slope

Studying in Avery always makes me feel fancy, classy, and maybe a little bit (dare I say it?) dark academia. This is the same feeling I get when I stroll through Park Slope drinking a $9 dark roast, contemplating the brownstones, carrying a New Yorker tote bag full of Very Literary Books. (Which, to be transparent, I don’t do that often. Like I said: getting off campus is hard.) If Brooklyn Baby is your favorite Lana del Rey song, Avery is the library for you.

Diana: Williamsburg

In both Diana and Williamsburg, you will find girls lining up for oat milk matcha lattes. Both started being “trendy” circa 2012. Both have pretty cool architecture. In the hustle and bustle of the Diana Center Café, getting pushed and pulled by frenzied young people desperate for vegan “multicultural” food options, I feel as if I’m in downtown Williamsburg at lunch hour on a Tuesday. 

Butler: Upper West Side

The Upper West Side is a beautiful neighborhood: spacious, quiet, with good coffee options. Similarly, Butler Library is spacious, quiet, and has Blue Java, which has… coffee options. Each wing of Butler has its own unique feel, much like the different avenues that run down the UWS. I posit that the Main Reading Room is like Broadway. You see everyone you know as you stroll through it. 

Milbank: SoHo

Milbank Hall houses the foreign language departments at Barnard, which means that everyone rushing around in it is incredibly well-dressed, as foreign language students often are. (Seriously, why do French majors always dress like it’s Paris Fashion Week? Sincerely, someone who dropped the French major.) Much like SoHo, Milbank can be unbearably daunting to walk through if you’re just wearing a sweatshirt and leggings. Also, SoHo borders Chinatown, Little Italy, and the block-long “Little France” (yes, it’s a thing). Très chic!

Hamilton: Carnegie Hill

When I attended high school in the section of the Upper East Side known as Carnegie Hill, my daily commute involved trudging up a four-block steep hill from the Q train stop on Second Avenue all the way over to Madison Avenue. This was extremely difficult and demoralizing, and I thought I’d left horrible climbs forever in my past when I graduated. Then, this past year, I had a discussion section on the eighth floor of Hamilton. My calves still ache at the memory.

Philosophy: Greenwich Village

The Philosophy building houses the English department, so its corridors are walked by poets and wannabe bohemians. Philosophy Lawn, which houses the sculpture of the Thinker, occasionally has a vibe that mirrors that of Washington Square Park. 

Lerner: Times Square

Too much foot traffic. Useless. Chaotic. Overhyped. Good food options! (Bwog recommends: the Times Square Olive Garden and the famous Ferris brownie.) But otherwise, avoid.

Manhattanville Campus: Hudson Yards

Superfluous and generally horrible. A bunch of rich people in suits think we need it; no one else wants it. But if you’re into interesting neo-geometric architecture, your eyeballs will be rewarded.

Low Library: New Jersey

Like New Jersey across the Hudson, Low Library is something to be glimpsed, pondered, regarded, but never set foot in. In the past four years, I’ve been in Low Library once and New Jersey once: the former, when I was touring Columbia and sitting in an admissions information session, and the latter, for a trip to Six Flags Great Adventure. I hope that one day I shall again experience the “great adventure” of sitting inside Low Library. I vaguely remember high ceilings and a small podium, but perhaps this is a mirage of memory.

Butler Lawns: Central Park Great Lawn

It’s green. It’s sunny. It features large groups of college-aged boys playing Spikeball. It is frequently closed for inexplicable reasons right when you don’t want it to be. It’s basically the same thing. 

Campus via Bwarchives