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
- Music to my Eyes by Emma Scoble
by Alyssa Matesic
The fireplace to my left is cold, and the evening air outside is biting, but warmth emanates from words spoken behind the microphone. Heavy coats are draped across the backs of black folding chairs as the entry room of the quaint little house fills up. Soon, the cozy audience in the Lillian Vernon Creative Writers House is crammed in tight. High-pitched greetings and gentle, friendly hugs make the environment feel familiar, even to a stranger.
The first poet takes the podium and begins to read. Her voice is low and inviting, and her words pierce and caress the air around us. I feel at ease, almost entranced. Over the course of the hour-long poetry reading, my mind is pulled along the street outside. It’s strange how few in the NYU community know of this building, this street and this community. The Creative Writers House has served as a meetinghouse for artists since its establishment and construction in 1836. Though I’m surrounded by unfamiliar faces, I feel the community of West 10th Street.
Lillian Vernon Creative Writing House | Photos 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.