The smell of fried food and greasy burgers almost masks the stench of sweaty partygoers. A place of reconvening and rendezvous, campus staple Nasties has been a long-time late-night favorite for Cornell students.
Nasties, whose rarely-used official name is Bear Necessities, sits on the first floor of the Robert Purcell Community Center and is one of two late-night food establishments on North Campus. Expectedly, freshmen and nostalgia-seeking upperclassmen flock to the site for food fixes.
As a result of its location and convenient hours — open until 2 a.m. every day — students come to the popular spot in various states of inebriation throughout the night.
“It was definitely super duper crazy late at night, especially on Fridays and Saturdays when everyone was getting back from their parties,” said Ariel Roldan ’21, who worked the cash register at Nasties during her freshman year.
Karelia Jaramillo ’22 described one particularly unruly night at Nasties earlier this school year.
“I remember coming back and it was like 1:30 in the morning and it was insane,” Jaramillo said. “There were so many people. It was literally a zoo.”
“I asked the lady at the counter if it was like this normally and she said, ‘This is a good night,’” Jaramillo recalled, laughing.
The snack spot can indeed be zoo-like, with large groups of rowdy students gesturing wildly behind large glass walls, inadvertently entertaining freshmen walking to and from dorm buildings.
The Cornell Daily Sun freshman issue in 1985 described Bear Necessities as “stocked with such essentials as comic books and pantyhose.” These days, Nasties serves the standard munchies fare — chips, candy, burgers, calzones — and boasts the Bear Sampler, a plate that includes just about everything: onion rings, fries, mozzarella sticks and chicken tenders.
Roldan estimated that she interacted with about 30 customers per three-hour shift, some of whom she suspected were following their stomachs’ beckoning after smoking weed.
“The funniest thing would be when kids who were really high walked into Nasties and they’d just grab a bunch of snacks and come up to you and try to focus really hard when they’re paying,” Roldan said. “I’d always make a comment or a joke about it.”