With President John Sexton as his guide, “30 Rock” actor Alec Baldwin visited the Kimmel Center for University Life on Wednesday night to speak with and give comfort to the thousands of displaced students taking shelter in the building.
Baldwin was on set earlier today when Tina Fey’s producing partner, Eric Gurian came to talk to him. Gurian is Sexton’s future son-in-law.
“He came to me this morning as we were producing a show and said ‘I’ve got to talk to you.’ And I said ‘Oh… something terrible is happening’ and he said ‘Sexton needs you to come to Kimmel tonight,’ ” Baldwin said.
The Sexton and Baldwin duo traveled to the third, fifth, seventh and tenth floors of Kimmel, sharing words of encouragement and anecdotes of Mr. Baldwin’s time at NYU with the students.
Baldwin, who lives nearby, said he and his wife had relocated to a hotel, but returned home to help walk dogs and deliver food to residents, because many are unable to walk down the stairs and the elevators are out.
“In the building I live in, which is near here, we volunteered to bring food and prescriptions and go off and get supplies for the elderly,” Baldwin said.
On the fifth floor, Sexton said that 75 percent of students have gone home. He also mentioned that the CoGeneration plant, which is running Kimmel was the first project of NYU 2031.
“We wouldn’t have any power if it wasn’t for that,” Sexton said.
Speaking on the seventh floor, Baldwin described his first day at NYU. He described stepping out in front of his freshman residence hall Rubin and recalled observing a student film crew working within a chalk circle. Filming the squashing of a cockroach, the crew pushed an armoire onto the bug and “threw a watermelon onto ground for the sound effects,” Baldwin said. “There’s no city like this.”
He expressed the awe of students remaining behind after the hurricane and coming together when many had opportunities to leave behind their friends.
“It’s really admirable,” Baldwin said to a group of students eating dinner. “I have never seen anything like this, not even 9/11.”
“Only at NYU would we lose our power, get evacuated from our dorms, and Alec Baldwin would show up,” said Liberal Studies freshman John Fitzsimmons.
Though Baldwin spoke at length to the students, Sexton also thanked the students for coming together under such circumstances. He reminded them not to to “not forget [that] things will not get easier in the next few days.”
As a respite during these days of recovery, Sexton announced a party in Bobst Thursday evening from 7 – 10 PM. He said the event will include bands, dancing, and “some of the greatest magicians in the world.” Students and staff need only bring their NYU IDs to join in the festivities.
Sexton also praised NYU Langone for their work evacuating the hospitals during the storm.
“You should be very proud because yesterday at his press conference, president Obama singled out as the heros of the New York calamity, the folks at NYU medical center,” he said. “There were pictures of them carrying babies from the intensive care unit and huge patients, down 16 flights of stairs.”
Tisch senior Monica Skoko said that Baldwin and Sexton visiting represented the support the university has for the students remaining behind.
“In a large university where people can often feel unappreciated or unaccounted for, this gesture of good will was really appreciated by the hundreds of students taking refuge in the safety of Kimmel,” Skoko said.
Sexton reminded everyone to take care of each other and prepare for classes to resume Monday.
Julie DeVito and Jonathon Dornbush are senior editors. Email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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