Last October my alma matter, Pace University, was named the #1 most underrated college in America. My mind can’t wrap itself around whether or not that’s a good thing, but people are saying it is. So I guess that’s a good thing. Pace has always been know for his business school (and I think it’s nursing program), and in recent years, since it’s acquisition of The Actor’s Studio MFA program, their theatre program (from which I graduated with a business minor) is getting pretty great accolades lately too. What can I say, I loved seeing American Idiot there.
To say I was an uninvolved college student is an understatement. I went to school to move to the city, 100%. I went to Eugene Lang College (part of the New School) for my freshmen year and realized that I was not ready for a degree that had no structure. Their base curriculum, at the time, was two required writing classes and then WHEEEE have fun getting your degree in whatever! I could totally do it now, but when I was 18, it was not for me, so I transferred to Pace whose admission I’d previous declined.
But all I did was go to class, do my work, work on a handful of productions in the department a year, and then worked and interned in theatre completely separate from school. Did I join any clubs? Puh-lease. Go to any student events? Nope. I wanted to get in and get out. Looking back would I do it differently? Possibly. At the very least I would’ve been exposed to more than the whiny bitches of the musical theatre department, constantly complaining about their English minor work and having to pass their remedial math courses.
My dude is pretty full of pride for his alma matter and constantly wears the school’s sweatshirt that I gave him over the holidays so I began to get a little jealous. I looked up their bookstore online and went down to the store yesterday after my yoga class and found the perfect sweatshirt. It’s soft on the inside and reminds me of my KALE t-shirt. And it wasn’t $80.
Living in a neighborhood that’s a sea of Columbia apparel, it’ll be nice to at least show half-assed pride for my own alma matter.
Before the performance of Constellations that I attended, I was sitting in the front row of the mezzanine with one of my friends. We were watching Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson were onstage warming up. Gyllenhaal kept up his British accent the entire time. A few minutes after we sat down, he looked up, straight at me, shielded his eyes and said, “There are new people up there! Who are you guys?” and I responded, telling him who we were, saying hi, and he responded, “Hi there! Welcome to warm ups!!"
He seems like a cool dude, I’m just saying.
Also: He studied Buddhism at Columbia in 1998. Doubly cool.
On Wednesday night I had wanted to go to Foley Square to march with the protest for the non-indictment of the officer who killed an unarmed man, Eric Garner, in an illegal chokehold. But I had therapy (gotta take care of yourself mentally first before you’re of any good to anyone else). So I went to that first and then came home to watch the livecam of the march. I watched them walk from 52nd to the West Side Highway, get off at 72nd and march north.
I thought they’d be at my door soon after, so I went downstairs to walk, or at least support from the sidelines. But they never made it as high as my street because they were corralled at 105th and Broadway. The NYPD corralled them on both sides of Broadway, made a few arrests, and then walked the rest of them up to 113th between Amsterdam and Columbus, outside of St. Luke’s Hospital.
I walked with an older gentleman, a lawyer who lives in the neighborhood but is from England, who was appalled at the force the police were using and off we went up Amsterdam. There were cops in riot gear everywhere along Amsterdam, and lots of cop buses, ready to make arrests. I asked one cop on the street where the other protesters were and he said quietly, “113th…"
The long-time neighborhood residents couldn’t believe what was going on, why the NYPD were doing this to peaceful protesters, and the students of Columbia were out in full support of the protest. There was an NYPD helicopter flying overhead, flying REALLY low, using it’s light to scan the streets for more protesters.
After about an hour (maybe half an hour?) of the protesters being corralled on 113th, they made an announcement (not that you could hear it – those police bullhorns are the WORST) that they were going to let them all go without arrest.