November 1, 2006

A Life in the Year: The Other Cornell

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Question: whatever happened to Collegetown? Once upon a time, back in the 60s and 70s, Collegetown was C-town, a place with a bona fide culture, with cool cafes and bookshops, the sort of place that people hitched to to hang out, “the Berkeley of the East,” a state of mind, a place that inspired novels. Now it’s just a residential area with a lot of pizza and Chinese food joints that doubles as a binge drinking zone on the weekends, a place without a soul … I saw a body being lifted into an ambulance when I reached the intersection of College Avenue and Dryden Road. I drew closer. He looked alive — barely. “What happened to him?” I asked one of the students standing on the sidewalk, as the door of the ambulance closed. “Oh he just overshot the mark a little. Why you ask?” he asked, a little belligerently, as the mob of students in front of Johnny O’s got larger and larger. There were no police in sight, the local constabulary having decided to leave the students to their own devices. “Oh, I was just concerned,” I responded, as another blotto form resembling a student stumbled by, mumbled something incoherent, before stumbling on. “Hey, what do you want? This is college. It’s Saturday night.” “Right.” The ambulance drove away, the face in the window became a blur; then it was gone. No one seemed to notice or care. Just another Saturday night in Collegetown, U.S.A. Unfortunately it was our Collegetown. C-town, R.I.P. [img_assist|nid=19373|title=No. 6. Saturday, 12:46 a.m. Alcohol poisoning. College Avenue.|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=100|height=67]