The Fed

Eurotrash With Panache

Administration Builds European-Style Market in Lerner

Billy Q. Fakename

Excerpt from a typical response to the Dining Services Improvement Questionnaire:

"108th and Amsterdam is too far to walk, so there's no cheap red wine around anywhere. Axl is passe, so we also lack that special place to buy and sell bootleg Guns N Roses tapes. Oh, and techno- the campus is missing a steady source of techno jams."

Well, that flight of fancy was fun, but Instead of an outlet for alcohol, Columbia University has decided to build The Marketplace, Lerner Hall's European-style food store opening next fall.

The fact that The Marketplace will be "replete with 'fresh food,'" as the Spec boldly reported, is a gratifying concession to student demands. Still, it's hard to imagine what public outcry prompted the creation of a faux continental eatery above a faux metropolitan one.

Much as Columbia students desperately need a designated place to '"hang out,'" as Business Services Executive Moskovitz astutely observes in the Spec, most students questioned were themselves a little confused about what need the new market/eatery serves. James, CC '03, summed it up rather nicely: "what, will I be able to sell blue jeans there or something?"

Perhaps not, but one thing is certain: with the addition of yet another grocery, Columbia is able to keep more money in the University. Rather than taking a trip down Broadway to get a decent stir-fry, we'll soon be able to roll out of bed and get pretty much anything.

But why stop at a Morningside food monopoly? How many thousands of dollars are lost from the University each year as students make a dangerous Saturday night walk through Harlem to International Wine and Liquors?

The Marketplace is well and good, but what the University truly needs is an on-campus liquor store. Call it...The Glass Cubicle.

The Glass Cubicle will be replete with fresh alcohol from all corners of the globe, separated from the customer ordering area by four inches of plexiglass. Students will order and pay through a small window while standing in a 4x4 waiting area, situated in such a way as to preserve a charming 'street' feel that every year becomes more and more difficult to experience safely.

Not only that, but located on the currently fallow Fourth Floor Faux Crackhouse Loft Space, it will provide a stunning view of Hogan and is sure to become a 'hangout' for all.

Oddly, Dining Services was less than receptive to the idea. "Ridiculous...that's absurd," said a Dining Services employee before hanging up. But is it, really? Columbia genuinely cares about the welfare of its students, so why not save them the pain of a liquor run? Why Columbia will not extend its grocery monopoly into other areas remains a mystery.

But that's all irrelevant now - in a few months, Lerner will have a brand new marketplace/eatery in the style of a vaguely European open-air grocery store. You'll hardly be able to get your mail without imagining you have suddenly been transported to Milan, or something. It would just be nice if Business Services would consider the same magical transportation for 108th and Amsterdam.

December 1, 1999