Intro to Theme II: Sunsets

As of today, we have about a week before the fall equinox hits and brings with it the end of summer. Honestly, I prefer autumn, but summer’s a popular season as far as seasons go, and as the summer sun sets and people return to their daily indoor lives, this week’s theme is “Sunsets.”

The image of a setting sun is a universal one; it always signals some sort of change, as one part of our lives comes to an end in place of a new one. It can be dark and unfamiliar, but often the most interesting things stay dormant until the sun has long since vanished.

But while there’s a lot of metaphors I could make, sometimes a sunset is literally just daytime turning into nighttime. We’ll have that too.

Photo by Isabella Tan (

Photo by Isabella Tan (


Jonathan Kesh

Under the Arch Editor

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Theme II, Sunsets: On Death

By Dana Reszutek

Editor’s note: The idea of a loved one passing away is a frightening one. In an often-cold city like New York, sometimes an open dialogue about these things can be cathartic.

Death happens. This concept has been pushed back into my mind for the hopes of ignorantly forgetting that life, in fact, ends. My first recollection of it was the death of my first pet — a goldfish I lovingly named Julia. Having scooped her from a kiddie pool at a backyard birthday party, my five-year-old hands clutched the bag containing the partially-squished creature whose life was diminished at the power of small toddlers. Excitedly, I placed Julia in a fishbowl at home, along with my sister’s choosing — a strong-willed fish by the name of Goldie, who survived my household for nearly four years.



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Theme I, Wayfinding: In 1955

By Jonathan Kesh

This is an NYU student handbook from 1955.

1955 front cover

But first, some background: Over the summer, I spent a week in Florida not so much to enjoy the beaches, but to help my grandma sort through some old boxes at her place in Orlando. They were musty and smelled mostly of cigarette smoke and expired film, but what I found in one of them was a reminder of my grandma’s days as a commuter student at NYU. Back in the 1950s, when Elvis was growing, Polio was shrinking, and the school’s first residence hall, Hayden, was still two years away.

So if you were an incoming freshman to NYU’s School of Education (what is now Steinhardt) in the 1950s, this is what they would have given you, complete with some well-crafted doodles for ambience:

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Theme I, Wayfinding: Under the Influence

The writer of this piece has asked to remain anonymous, due to questionably legal content that will shortly become clear:

Photo by Alyssa Matesic

Photo by Alyssa Matesic

I should’ve skipped smoking that bowl two hours earlier, I realized as soon I finished smoking it. I was sinking into sidewalk cracks, as I stepped out into Alphabet City, into the dark of an autumn night, into an unfamiliar neighborhood, head fearing its height from the ground, mind inside crippled by the often mocked, but underestimated cannabis-induced fear. The city felt far away, but steadily rolling towards me — impossible to dodge.

I needed to get home — wanted to get home — but home was in Chinatown, at the much beloved Lafayette residence hall, some twenty or thirty blocks away. No matter, I thought at the time, gathering my senses. I was a veteran, with four and a half semesters under my belt, sans smartphone maps, and a comprehensive understanding of the Manhattan grid system.

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Theme I, Wayfinding: On Foot

By Ariana DiValentino

At age 20 and with no legitimate excuse, I do not have a driver’s license.

As far as the DMV is concerned, there isn’t much keeping me from just taking the damn test and getting my license (in my parents’ words). And it’s not as if I never had the use for it. I grew up in Connecticut, where you do certainly need to drive to get anywhere. Not that there are very many places to go in Connecticut, but I was relying on other people for rides right up until I left for college. My friends, too, were slow to start driving, so most of my weekends were spent watching my best friend’s favorite trashy reality TV shows at her house, and I was content with that. I’ve been “learning” to drive since before I turned 16, but over the years, getting behind the wheel has been increasingly more and more nauseating and palm-sweat-inducing. In a town that didn’t invite much exploration, the appeal of driving wasn’t strong enough to compete with the anxiety.

learners permit

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