NYU’s Favorite Memes

Natasha Roy, Assistant Managing Editor

NYU students are no strangers to memes, as evident by the ever-popular Facebook page “NYU Memes for Slightly Bankrupt Teens.” Every day, students can take a break from the impending doom of midterms and bank loans and escape to a blissful world of memes.

With thousands of meme connoisseurs at the university poring over the internet hourly, a few truly outstanding memes have reigned superior. Here are some of NYU’s finest, dankest memes.

Bella Hadid “Homeboy”

If you haven’t already been blessed by Bella Hadid’s interview with Complex, all you need to know is that Hadid first looks at a guy’s sneakers when she meets him. If his sneakers are clean and fresh, “homeboy’s gonna, like, get it.”

The interview itself has over two million views, and the meme has quickly gone viral. Tandon freshman Melissa Canavan said she likes the meme because Hadid’s way of speaking seems awkward, and the phrase doesn’t make sense.

“It’s funny because you can just use that quote to make a joke out of anything,” Canavan said.

Distracted Boyfriend

An unfortunate fear came to life in this stock photo of a man checking out another girl while on a date with his supposed girlfriend. The girlfriend in question is, of course, appalled.

According to Know Your Meme, “Distracted Boyfriend” first became popular on Twitter in February, and some NYU students, like LS sophomore Kira Burkhauser, enjoy it because of its versatility.

“Not to get too deep over a meme, but this meme — like many memes — has a sort of universality to it,” Burkhauser said. “It can express virtually any metaphor. I’ve seen it used for everything. I’ve seen it as everything from the orthodox usage as a side chick meme, all the way to LS memes about the rise in socialist sentiment among the youth, and even some weird very specific ones about the way 11-year-olds draw the letter S on their notebooks.”


Some memes need no words, as is the case for ‘???.’ You can apply it to anything in your life — did you finish your Writing the Essay paper? Will you ever finish your WTE paper? Have you even started it? Who knows? Certainly not you, and certainly not the star of this meme.

Beyond its versatility, students like CAS freshman Alex Shpylko find that the meme’s simplicity and resemblance to older versions of memes make it appealing.

“Remember the time that we used to send each other the first, primitive memes like trollface or forever alone?” Shpylko said. “It’s just a pleasant throwback to an old time where I could actually use memes to communicate with others. Sure, makes me look like a seventh grader sometimes but I dig it.”

Niche Memes

Mainstream memes are fun for reassuring everyone that you’re hip and with the kids at parties, but sometimes you just need a niche meme to satisfy your humor. In the case of Gallatin freshman Chase Nenner, the bread meme is funny for its sheer absurdity.

“Naturally one of sane mind would not be compelled to pour water over their bread,” Nenner said. “The creator’s condescending tone leads the meme consumer to assume that the creator is serious and actually believes that whoever does not rinse their bread is not up to their social standards, although we understand that the nature of a meme is to entertain and is not meant to be taken seriously.”

However, Nenner also has a simple appreciation for a horse meme, which states, “You’re never too old to say ‘horses’ when you drive past some horse.”


“As a child who grew up in the pastoral outback of Westchester, New York, I related to the horse meme instantly, and as I read the words within, memories of the many horses I’ve passed in driving through the rolling hills came bounding through my head as well as that fateful word that escaped my mouth every time: ‘horses,’” Nenner said. “The meme made me chuckle because I could relate to it. Further, it brings me joy knowing that all memes have at least one person that can relate to them.”

Niche memes don’t always need to relate back to childhood. For other NYU students, identifying with a meme at all is what makes it so special.

Gallatin freshman Aleyna Dogan sees the “Thomas the Tank Engine” meme as more than just a meme. It represents her and her friends’ inner thoughts and feelings.

“While we struggle because of the change we are facing — moving to another country, speaking a different language, living on your own, cleaning after yourself — basically adulting, seeing this meme makes us feel a little better,” Dogan said. “Now we know that we are not alone. The terrified look on the face of Thomas, looking right, having no idea about the mess happening around him, well, that’s me. That’s all of us really.”

A version of this article appeared in the Monday, Oct. 16 print edition. Email Natasha Roy at [email protected].