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Wednesday, December 01, 2010

A Slice of Cheesecake, Part 2

The Brittany - Temple of the Gods of Debauchery

It was clear after moving into Brittany Residence Hall and a brief visit to NYU's primary other residence at the time, Weinstein, that fortune has bestowed us with a better choice.
The Brittany, as it was known at the time, is located at 55 East 10th Street and Broadway. It is a former hotel, built in 1929. The structure has larger, airier rooms and a prewar ambiance.
The Brittany penthouse was a speak-easy at one time with many well known guests like Walter Winchell, Al Pacino and Grateful Dead's Jerry Garcia. The ground floor currently functions as a gallery, Broadway Windows, with displays of student art.

At the time of my stay there, the Brittany was a truly a temple to the gods of debauchery. It was a coed dormitory and in many cases, the rooms themselves became coed with couples living together in suites. Drugs were rampant as were drug dealers, even selling to those outside the student body. One evening, while sitting in a hallway, I had a jacket bloodied by someone who, half asleep on the way to the bathroom, had smashed his hand through a glass door and was running and screaming. I was told by a close friend of a first hand account of a group of students in the nude, high on Quaaludes, playing Frisbee in a hallway.

One of my earliest memories there was visiting a room completely outfitted in UV blacklight for the entertainment of visitors. One fellow student represented himself as a cat burglar and demonstrated his skills by walking on window ledges of this high rise building. Brittany Residence Hall is also where I resided at the time of one of my favorite stories, involving Jimi Hendrix - see Crime Scene here.

Somewhat controversial, The Princeton Review not only provides its well known university ratings in a Best College guide, but also provides a "Top 20 Party School List." NYU has typically made the list. Today however, the university is better known for its coveted #1 Dream School status, rising prominence and the strength of many departments - Courant Institute of Mathematics, NYU Law School, the Film School and Stern School of Business. According to Forbes Magazine, in 2008, NYU was ranked 7th among universities that have produced the largest number of living billionaires.

I recently visited the dorm for the first time since 1970, escorted by an NYU student currently residing there. There were changes of course, most notably increased security - turnstiles requiring student ID card swipes. Things appeared to be much more subdued. However, I did learn that Brittany Hall is considered haunted with reports of unexplained music, lights, footsteps and claims from people who believe that others are watching them. Perhaps the final stirrings of the gods of debauchery ...


Laura Methew said...

I recently came accross your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I dont know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

kinesthesist said...

I had a debacherous evening or two while I was at NYU, but nothing nearly as exciting as nude frisbee and LSD trips. Why couldn't I go to NYU in 1969!?

Droid Spy said...

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