Blue Notes, April 2019
Updated: Mar 2
Your walls are covered in command strips. Your Lit Hum books take up two full shelves. You consider the chaos of your sock drawer and you are filled with dread. How could so much junk have accumulated so quickly? As the school year draws to a close, it’s time to confront that annual, looming source of stress: moving out of your dorm.
But your check-out date might not be exactly when you expect: Rather than requiring all students to leave their dorms after finals week has ended, Columbia requires non-seniors to vacate their residence halls by noon on the Saturday after finals week OR 24 hours after their last exam––whichever comes first. (Seniors must vacate by noon the day after University Commencement.) So all your finals are May 10? Better book that flight for early on May 11. Even though this policy has been in place for about a decade, it may still come as a surprise, as most of the calendars posted in the dorms only include the final Saturday check-out date. But that has the potential to be a pricey shock for the uninformed: Students are charged $100 for the first hour and $50 for each additional hour that they fail to check-out, according to the Housing website.
A university representative said that this joint Housing-Residential Life policy “came as a result of students who had completed their exams and stayed in the residence halls, disrupting other students still working through finals projects and exams.” Most of Columbia’s peer institutions seem to have a consistent move-out date for all non-senior students, but it’s not a completely unique policy—Princeton, for example, also forces students to move out after their last exam.
However, for students concerned about any financial challenge of this policy, the university representative noted that students “should first contact their school’s Financial Aid department to discuss their individual issue and potential solutions,” and that Housing would work with the Financial Aid “as needed and appropriate.” The university also makes alternate arrangements for students who must remain on campus for particular programs. Otherwise, before finals season is in full swing—you might want to go organize your socks.
The much-discussed reopening of Nussbaum & Wu under the new name Wu + Nussbaum might serve as a template for Columbians seeking end-of-semester reinvention: if you anagram and re-punctuate your dilemma, it disappears. Just squint, and “Psych exam” becomes “Exam—psych!”
But whether the beloved establishment on the southwest corner of 113th and Broadway can shed its old skin—sullied, as Bwog reported, by a subpar health inspection grade—and start afresh in the new term remains to be seen. Wise residents of Morningside Heights, home to perhaps the most fickle culinary scene on the West Side, always take this sort of news with a grain of salt.
On a recent afternoon, signs shrouded the storefront windows. A subtitle beneath the new name promised “noodles, dumplings, and bagels,” a prospective that piqued my salivary glands after a particularly barren Lit Hum discussion. An easily recognizable “Safe Haven” sticker, designated by the University’s Department of Public Safety, already adorned the door. I pilfered a chair from the al fresco section of Mill, the Korean restaurant next door, and peaked inside. Someone appeared to be painting the ceiling.
Indeed, it’s a construction site. A permit on the door pointed to one Mikail Pustulnik, of Finix U.S.A. Construction, as the man behind the plan. The expiration date of July 10, 2019 bodes well for students who hope to find a polished storefront, perhaps already purveying goodies, upon their return.
One wonders if the dormitory that shares the restaurant’s building, cumbersomely entitled “600 West 113th Street Hall” and nicknamed “Nuss,” will find itself rebranded in the new year, too. As I traversed Broadway, heading back toward campus, I brainstormed: “Wu” is surely too festive for the dorm’s sleepy suites. “W & N” sounds too similar to “Wien.” Soon, I stopped myself. I didn’t want to jinx it.
Illustration by Rea Rustagi
Phil, Jim and Harry. Three 20-somethings who prowl the mean streets of Morningside Heights, just as any Columbia student does. One thing, though: Phil, Jim and Harry are not Columbia students. They’re your friendly neighborhood peacocks. To clarify—as if the concept of peacocks roaming a sprawling metropolis needed any further clarification—these birds are residents of 1047 Amsterdam Avenue, more commonly known as The Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine.
Upon entering the courtyards that fringe the outskirts of the gothic cathedral, you will find a beautiful array of foliage—and feathers. Harry and Jim boast familiar hues of blue and green, while Phil dons a demure eggshell shade. But don’t be quick to discredit his lack of organic pigments—a quick online investigation reveals that Phil has his own Twitter account.
The three current peacocks at St. John’s were purchased in honor of the previous dean of the cathedral, Reverend James Kowalski, who served as dean from 2002-2017. While this trio is approximately 18 years old (thereby solidifying their place as honorary members of Columbia’s Class of 2022), they are not the first peacocks to have roamed the cathedral’s hallowed grounds. A peacock hutch has been a centerpiece of the courtyards at St. John the Divine since one was first erected in the 1980s. The original hutch was a mere ramshackled plywood slap-together job; however, in 2017, following a competition to design a new home for the peafowl, a new hutch mimicking the Gothic style of the cathedral was constructed. Clad with pointed arches and insulated walls, the luxurious new hutch rivals most options offered by Columbia Housing.
So don’t hate on your Art Hum assignment that requires you to make the two block trek to St. John the Divine in order to sketch some flying buttresses. You’re basically going on a trip to an exotic bird sanctuary.