Intro to Theme X: Sensory

We tend to judge everything around us based on sight. Sometimes on sound as well, but that’s often secondary (assuming we’re not talking about a band). When faced with a problem, we look for a solution; we don’t hear for a solution, taste for a solution, we rarely feel out a solution and even more rarely do we smell out a solution. In our extremely visual culture, the non-visual senses, which is to say almost all of them, take a backseat.

The goal of Under the Arch’s final theme of the Fall 2014 semester is to explore these senses, all of them, and perceive NYU in a somewhat unusual way. Besides looking at it, we will hear it. We will feel it. We will taste it.

And damn it, we’re gonna smell it.


Jonathan Kesh

Under the Arch Editor

“Visual Culture” by James Miille

Table of Contents (updated throughout the week):

“We Can’t Breathe” – Sights and Sounds of NYC Protest by Jonathan Kesh

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Theme X, Sensory: “We Can’t Breathe” – Sights and Sounds of NYC Protest

By Jonathan Kesh

Word had spread that a protest was brewing in Union Square, and it was clear that something would happen. After last week’s Ferguson protests, the fate of Eric Garner in Staten Island and a second police indictment suffering from an “existence failure” was too close to home for something not to occur again.

When I got to the south end of Union Square shortly after sundown, the only signs that there might be an anti-racism, anti-police brutality protest were the abundance of police officers calmly waiting around. In a protest that was now directly in response to the NYPD, their presence would be understandably unwanted, but they seemed undeterred. The officers were largely silent. I walked around them and moved north until I could hear a megaphone nearby.

47th Street and 6th Avenue. Photo by Jonathan Kesh

Outside Radio City Music Hall. Photos by Jonathan Kesh

It was dark out, and the air was still wet from the rain earlier in the day, but there was a crowd. Centered around a man with the megaphone, in the northwestern corner of the square, was a small but quickly growing group of people, many of whom already had big white signs at the ready reading “Ferguson is everywhere — Police brutality and murder must stop, with other people holding their own makeshift picket signs. The speaker, a young man dressed in a black hat and coat to keep off the evening cold, spoke about Michael Brown of Ferguson and Eric Garner of Staten Island, occasionally handing his megaphone to guest speakers. I was close to the center, and as the crowd grew around me, people began to applaud and cheer after each sentence condemning the police for the murders. Eventually, the crowd grew to such a size where the people surrounding the speaker would shout out his or her sentences in repetition, riling up the crowd and ensuring everyone was on the same page; this was generally signaled by the speaker shouting, “Mic check!”

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Theme IX, Games: The Roommate Lottery

By Mickey Shiotani

About a month ago, I switched dorm rooms with another student. Though the time and energy put into packing and unpacking my clothes could definitely have been used to study for my midterms, I was relieved at the idea of a fresh start, an opportunity to finally take control of my life instead of having to look out for my roommates. Once I got settled in to my new room, however, I was struck by a realization. Instead of the background cheers of the crowd in Madden 14 and my roommate’s laundry all over the floor, I was faced with noise from the unidentifiable but overall discomforting business along Third Avenue at night. What I had thought of as an escape to freedom was an invitation to play another game. Though the difficulty levels may vary, freshman must nevertheless confront the near-impossible task of making a room shared by multiple people a livable environment for themselves. After asking some of my friends, I have come up with the most common conflicts I have observed within the past few months.

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Theme IX, Games: Elevator Etiquette

By Hae Bin Kim

“Take the stairs next time, bitch!”

Well, I sure did, after that incident. At Founders Hall, there is something called “Elevator Etiquette.” It’s not just an urban rumor or some vague phrase; it’s a legitimate tenet that the dorm encourages its residents to follow. The Elevator Etiquette is the fundamental rule that if you are able to, you must walk up or down one flight of stairs if the button above or below your floor is already pressed. Apparently, this will save lots of time and energy for everyone.


The Elevator Etiquette is almost like a mandatory ritual at Founders. The social pressure that comes from a single elevator ride is immense. As soon as someone hits that 9th floor and you live on the 8th floor, you are immediately obliged to walk down one set of stairs. The residents who are hit the hardest by this are the ones who live on the lower floors, especially the 2nd floor people. If one of them ignores this rule and decides to just press the 2nd floor while on ground level, then they will receive a great deal of eyeing and mutterings of curses under breath.

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Intro to Theme IX: Games

We play a lot of games at NYU. Besides the chess matches at any of the major parks in the area (although they far too often have empty chairs), we go to campus with the assurance that we don’t completely know what to expect. We come from dorm rooms we weren’t sure we were going to get, assuming you beat the housing lottery and could get into a dorm; we take classes that we barely made the wait-list on; depending on how well you studied, the next test you walk into is a game of chance.

Of course, some people would like to pretend they have everything under control, but this is a much less fun way of approaching things.


Jonathan Kesh

Under the Arch Editor

There's a "Global Network University" joke in here somewhere, but we'll avoid it for now

Probably an “NYU-2031″ joke in here somewhere, but that’s for another day

Table of Contents (updated throughout the week):

Elevator Etiquette by Hae Bin Kim

The Roommate Lottery by Mickey Shiotani

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