Finding Your Next Dining Hall Jam

Feast on these bangers.


Echo Chen

Downstein Dining Hall, home to ’90s and early 2000’s throwback songs. (Photo by Echo Chen)

Nina Schifano, Contributing Writer

Next time you are scrambling for a chair during Kimmel Market Place’s lunch rush, or scooping the fourth hunk of sherbet onto a cone at Lipton, listen up — you may find your new favorite playlist.

Although each NYU dining hall is known for its specific meals — RIP Mr. Bing at Palladium, and shout out to Lipton’s sandwiches — students have noticed that each hall has taken on a unique personality through the music that hums in the background of its small talk and chews.

If you want to be thrown exclusively into the last three decades, descend into Downstein where you will find ’80s, ’90s and 2000s playlists to trigger your nostalgia. Tisch first-year Leah Plante-Wiener agrees that the throwback tunes are worth hearing.

“The ’80s playlist at Weinstein? Iconic,” Plante-Wiener said.

You may feel like a dad jamming out to the never-ending playlist of Bon Jovi’s “Livin’ on a Prayer” and A-ha’s “Take on Me” providing the perfect tunes to mix your salad to. Or, if you want to suddenly remember the day you first heard “Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley, go grab a slice of Downstein pizza.

Downstein’s other soundtrack, 2000s playlists, is the perfect way to experience the teenage angst of your middle school years, comprised primarily of old Taylor Swift. LS first-year Philip Meng definitely gets into his feelings at this dining hall.

“Downstein plays music for middle school girls going through a meaningless breakup,” Meng said.

Try not to sob into your chicken while recounting your first heartbreak as Swift’s “Love Story” and “You Belong Belong With Me” drone on in the background.

While music selection plays a key role in determining a dining hall’s mood, some argue that other factors like volume are just as crucial. CAS senior Jinnu Kim agrees when it comes to Downstein’s arguably better sibling, Upstein.

“Upstein has average music, but it doesn’t matter because it’s so loud in there anyways,” Kim said.

In need of a midday pick-me-up or wondering what any mid-2000s song would sound like with an EDM remix? Kimmel has the answer. Awkwardly dance to your heart’s content in the eternal salad line as the remixed “Move Your Body” by Sia plays or “Stronger” by Kelly Clarkson echoes through the building.

These ironically cheerful remixes of supposedly sappy songs about love or heartbreak — particularly Kimmel’s go-to simp artist Sam Smith — are not for everyone. CAS first-year Sean Mackin agrees that the food and music at Kimmel don’t pair well together.

“Kimmel plays cheap EDM remixes to go along with their cheap-ass chicken tenders,” Mackin said.

You may have to stay in line and listen a little longer, because Kimmel jams are an acquired taste.

However, unlike the sad clubbing tunes at Kimmel, Palladium uplifts the crowd with its blend of pop and indie music. Gallatin junior Emily Golchini admits that while pop isn’t her favorite, the music adds to the atmosphere of this dining hall.

“I tend to not care too much about pop, but it usually creates a positive atmosphere,” Golchini said.

Come to Lipton to experience a dining hall with an accommodating ambiance. CAS first-year Jeffrey Lam states that Lipton offers a unique, albeit mediocre place to eat.

“[It has] Best Western continental breakfast vibes,” Lam said.

Beyond the dining halls that surround the park, head over to Third North’s Harvest Table if you want to feel like a good meme-conscious teen. CAS first-year Lev Bernstein admits that this is the reason why he makes the trek to the East Village.

“[They have played] three different Smash Mouth songs [while I was eating there],” Bernstein said. “I will forever be lost to them for it.”

If ironically listening to songs until you like them is a hobby of yours, you know where to go.

NYU dining is as dependable as the boy-next-door — you can always expect the same kind of music when chowing down. Whether you want to time travel or dance to sad techno tunes, NYU dining is here for you and all your music-induced moods.

Attached is a work-in-progress playlist of dining hall jams.

Email Nina Schifano at [email protected]