about one complaint and two odes

Dear Third Floor Silver (aka NYU Art History Floor),

I miss you like Cezanne would miss peaches, and Picasso would guitars. Your uneven hardwood floor hallway and red-carpeted classrooms, with the floor inclining so slightly forward as to hasten one’s footsteps toward the blank wall just waiting to catch the slide projections thrown on it. The quasi-stadium seating and light dimmer! The too-small pull-up writing surfaces and padded chair backs! How does one learn Nazi and Stalinist art in a linoleum-tiled classroom, with fat light bars and no dimmer, and the desks aligned into rows? No gently graded incline, really?

To be fair, a flood of Biblical proportions was visited upon the Arts Museum and Art History buildings last summer, and since even the Wall Street Journal noticed, it may be particularly bad form to bemoan a sub-par classroom especially since (a) it isn’t representative of their normal arts classroom, but the normal arts classroom was underwater, and (b) with a price tag of around $100 million dollars to rebuild, some board members thought it’d be terribly clever to maybe sell their Pollock. Sell the Pollock! That got stamped out pretty quickly, as well it should — but the point is, when you’re even considering turning Pollock into a sacrificial lamb, rebuilding classrooms takes a backseat. Even I can understand that, and I quite like complaining.

So here’s another ode.

University of Iowa, your Registrar isn’t too amicable, but how wonderful is that Academic Advising Office of yours? Do you distribute free and hourly lollipops to your employees? Prozac? Harry Potter’s Felix Felicis? Whatever you’re doing, keep it up, because it was enough to vaporize my Big City, Big School Grouchiness — that dash of impatience and passive-aggressiveness necessary for all interactions bursar/registrar/advising at NYU but manifestly not at Iowa.

Below: some mid-morning snaps of the campus. Charm incarnate, and maybe even enough that I can resign myself to a bad room.


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