At a global university like NYU, it may feel that adventures can only happen from traveling abroad. But so often, the next adventure is just around the corner. All you need is a malleable mind open to the new experiences that can reshape your path.
This week we’re exploring new places and new perspectives. We’ve sent our writers to barely traveled roads and secret rooms around campus, hopefully encouraging you to find your own adventure. Enter that closed door, ride that random elevator. NYU is a big place, you never know where you’ll suddenly find yourself.
As always, sit back and enjoy the ride.
Amy Aixi Zhang
Table of Contents (updated throughout the week)
- West 10th by Alyssa Matesic
With a dozen or so college students working in the student newspaper office every night , I find it miraculous that trash and debris haven’t overtaken the building. Nightly, one student will spill his midnight coffee, or abandon a Chinese food tin, or catapult Swedish Fish at a friend. The old papers that pile up by 1 a.m. could blanket the walls.
But then, every morning at around 6 a.m. our building custodian walks in wheeling a trashcan and broom. He smiles at some of us sleeping in our chairs and tiptoes to a corner as he starts to sweep. He wipes away the coffee stain, tosses out the trash, pushes in the chairs. In the end, our AP style books are straightened and newspapers folded neatly next to computers he has dusted. As he gathers his things, he winks like some fantastical helper, says goodbye and wheels back out.
Many days, I try to apologize for the destruction of his daily labor. Maddening, I would think. But Eddie always puts on a smile.
“Don’t worry about it,” he says. “It’s job security.”
There are so many of these invisible hands and unseen faces that privately buff and shine the cogs of the university every day. Some are fanciful, some not. So many aren’t willing to speak to the press because of contractual obligations. But when you get a chance, get to know their story. Make the invisible visible.
Amy Aixi Zhang
Table of Contents
- Ghostly Presence by Josephine Jablons
- Taking the Street by Blair Cannon
- Danishes at Daybreak by Dan Hinton
by Dan Hinton
Gianna Collier-Pitts/WSN Under the Arch
At 5 a.m., the sky shifts to a gray-blue. A green 1995 Chevrolet Astro AWD turns right onto West 4th Street with a cart half the size of an RV hitched to its back. The van drives up to the west side of Stern’s Gould Plaza, stops, and reverses to push the cart over the curb and onto the sidewalk.
The driver’s name is Muskerjee. He has driven the same van with the same cart, from Queens in the pre-dawn, back from NYU in the afternoon five days a week for the past eight years or so. An approximation because the repetition in Muskerjee’s daily life makes distinguishing the years difficult.
by Blair Cannon
Provided by J
The “Reserved for Homeless” tags on the ground and on the walls mark the spots frequented by the same faces of homeless people on campus. You might have seen one, J said, because around twenty-five exist. All of them are done using cardboard pizza boxes as stencils and white spray paint he buys from the Blick Art Supplies near campus.
by Josephine Jablons
“I never believed in that ghost stuff before I started working here. But now…I’m not so sure.”
- Brittany Residence Hall engineer
I grew up in an old Victorian house that had survived major Bay Area earthquakes and entered cinematic history; the 1990 thriller film Pacific Heights features my home, my living room, and my eerie basement. I thought that moving to New York would be a reprieve from years of ridiculous nightmares and fear.