Blue Notes, Orientation 2017

To those of you just entering the wonderful world of Morningside Heights, it may appear as a long-standing culinary cornucopia of well-curated eats. Yet, it has not always been so. Talk to many a salty, scarred senior, and they’ll tell you of the blandness we were forced to endure prior to this year’s campus dining scene expansion. Imagine a Saturday without avocados on every brunch menu, an 8:40 without ve places to choose your artisanal latte from, or, dare I say, non-chain eateries!

Where once there was only one entrepreneurial bodega at which to burn $16 on vinaigretted veggies, now you’re spoilt for choice with suave salad and smoothie bars. And let’s not forget the farm-to- table movement. Once the shibboleth of obnoxious crunchies, farm-to-table food has taken the nation, alas, by storm. The Upper West Side is no exception: Dig Inn graced us in 2014, Sweetgreen in 2016, and just a few months ago, Junzi Kitchen—this last one taking over the greasiest yet most loveable diner in local history: Deluxe. If you love deliberately-worn wooden tables and a superfluous adjective before a food item on your menu, you know you’re in the right

place. And more chains are on the way. Shake Shack, in response to a drunken (or more probably high) tweet, is taking over Ollie’s, formerly New York’s least desirable place to eat dumplings. And Panda Express is set to open just next to Mel’s. Who knows: perhaps it will knock out regional heavyweight, Koronet’s, as the late-night stumble-to. If not, there’s always JJ’s—which is now open 24 hours. And accepting Barnard students.

Alex Swanson


Perhaps, one day, wandering through Mudd’s long, winding hallways or perhaps Hamilton’s upperfloors, you’ll hear phrases like “Progression 3,” “interpretive question,” and “writing as a process” chorusing out of a classroom. But the people saying them won’t be the pimpled, wide- eyed rst-years you expect. They’ll be 30-ish adults who look more like the hifalutin literatis of the Hungarian Pastry Shop than the word-slurring wastrels at 1020.

What you’re hearing is, in fact, “Teaching Writing: Theory and Practice,” a class in which all prospective University Writing instructors must enroll. “Teaching Writing” has evolved signi cantly in the last couple years. Administrators have reduced seminars from weekly to seven, added a “teaching demo” with a real UWriting class, and established a TA-like “senior instructor” position to be lled by former UWriting instructors.

Illustration by Kristine Dunn

“The changes we made last year were more than the usual end-of- semester changes,” Associate Director of Undergraduate Writing, Aaron Ritzenberg, says.

An expanded workshop program for new University Writing instructors, rst instituted last year, balances out the reduction in class time. New program- ming emphasizes practical topics, like grading, that Ritzenberg says “Teaching Writing” instructors nd themselves “having to teach twice” because they don’t feel relevant to students the spring

beforeG. raduate students in the English

department, who can choose to teach University Writing in the 3rd and 4th years of their Ph.D., make up the bulk of the class. The remainder of the students are MFAs who are applying to teach University Writing; for the 10 percent whose applications are accepted, the class comes with a $30,000 annual stipend.

Atefeh Akbari, who was a senior instructor last spring but took Teaching Writing largely before the recent changes, describes the new version

of the class as “honestly really fine-tuned to the needs of the students.” Although she adds, “It’s not there to teach you everything. It’s there to to get you you started.”

— Sanford Miller


Finished with roundels representative of each con- tinent’s characteristics, Harmony Hall was built in 1928 by William E. Harmon as the headquarters of New York’s prestigious Explorers Club, a professional society that “promotes the scientific exploration of land, sea, air, and space by supporting research and education in the physical, natural and biological sciences.” Among The Club’s members are men who boast “Famous Firsts:” the first to travel to the North and South poles, accomplish a solo flight across the Atlantic, summit Mt. Everest and voyage to the Moon. Not simple feats.


Illustration by Kristine Dunn

The Explorers Club’s ag has been own at not only every point on our planet but also in outer space, yet, for those interested, they offer a more accessible thrill—The Annual Dinner: a black-tie event where a meat rumored to be mammoth was once served; a dinner pioneered for the not-so-faint-of-heart, where your appetizers of maggot sushi and deep- fried tarantula look like they could crawl out of your mouth, and you have to double check that the iguana entree didn’t just move its head—gourmet barbeque muskrat, alligator claws, and mealworm pastry have not made their way into John Jay’s repertoire just yet.

So although your Harmony single doesn’t have a trophy case or a complete three-toed-sloth skeleton, and although you won’t quite get to Antarctica while you’re at Columbia, maybe you can at least think about poaching some cow eyeballs with your eggs next time you make breakfast in your oor kitchen.

— Ottilie Lighte

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