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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

$7.95 a Pound

"There's a place called Space Market. Their food is ridiculously cheap. Salad is only $7.95 a pound. A pound is a lot of salad." -Said by an upperclassman to a group of incoming freshmen, class of 2014 (this is the week that students are settling in for the fall semester)

I overheard this at a restaurant last night and was rather stunned. I've gone to Space Market for years (it is in the heart of the NYU campus). The food is not ridiculously cheap. Actually, many complain that it is very expensive. They charge $.75 for a glass of ice (even when you purchase a beverage). In fairness, there are some occasional values, the food quality is very good, and their pricing is typical of New York City delis or greengrocers, probably about as expensive as food gets in the United States. And by the way, Mr. Upperclassman of Experience, a pound is not a lot of salad, unless you eat only greens.

A few years ago, I saw Think Coffee introduce a wine and cheese bar. Think is on NYU's campus and is dominated by students. I discussed with a friend how wine and cheese seemed a foolish addition to a student hangout and was sure to fail. Shortly after, on a subsequent visit, I saw an employee serve a nice bottle of wine to a group of students and a platter of gourmet cheeses. The offerings have been a success.

Times have changed. With yearly expenses at $50,000, NYU is no longer a world dominated by starving students. It is common at Think Coffee, Space Market, or elsewhere, to see students swipe charge cards for a $5 purchase or less. At the time I went to NYU, it was actually possible to work your way through college and leave with little or no loans. But at this juncture in time, work will have very little impact on the finances and debt load of the NYU student. Some do work part time, but I surmise the majority just use a credit card supplied by their parents and add only a little more to their college debt. After all, food is ridiculously cheap - salad is only $7.95 a pound :)


Leslie said...

Just as the 'over 30' generation said about us when we were in college...(insert a voice full of frustration, an attitude of judgment and resignation, and hands going up into the air), "KIDS!!!"

Anonymous said...

Don't be too quick to judge the affluence of the NYU student body. As a student at NYU, I can attest that while there are those who have the advantage of using mommy and daddy's credit card, the majority of NYU students carry loans and work hard to be where they are. I personally work two jobs and take out loans to support my NYU education, and most of my friends are in the same position. Yes, it is outrageous to have to pay $50,000 a year to go to school, but that's the going rate for most private universities. It is unfortunate, but that is the grim reality of the American higher education system.