Off-Third: Stop gerrymandering, Insomnia Cookies

Insomnia Cookies’ delivery map is out of control. We need to establish order… for our dessert orders.

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Susan Behrends Valenzuela

Gerrymandering is commonly understood as the unfair manipulation of boundaries of an electoral constituency, but one could argue that it also applies to Insomnia Cookies’ arbitrary delivery maps. (Staff Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Gerrymandering is a hot topic right now as states conduct redistricting exercises to correspond with the 2020 U.S. census. The fight to protect voting rights is crucial and deserves our attention. That being said, I also want to raise awareness about a lesser-known perpetrator of gerrymandering: Insomnia Cookies.

When I lived in the Carlyle Court residence hall, my roommates and I regularly ordered from Insomnia. The problem, however, was that one of my roommates loves their ice cream sandwiches, but only their East Village location delivers them. As you can see, Carlyle is just out of their delivery range.

A map of the locations Insomnia Cookies delivers to in New York City. Two distinct delivery zones are shown, separated by a street.
(Staff Illustration by Luca Richman)

NYU students are smart, creative problem-solvers. So, instead of forgoing the ice cream or buying it separately, we found a workaround: set the delivery address as the Barnes & Noble on the northern side of Union Square Park. Game the system.

Unfortunately, this strategy has its flaws. For starters, the whole point of getting something delivered to your building is convenience. It’s supposed to do the work for you. If you have to walk even a short distance across the park, you’re probably going to have to put on a jacket and shoes. Not Adidas slides. Real shoes. Then you’ll have to show your NYU ID and Daily Screener to the guard when you re-enter the building, which is a hassle.

Furthermore, the specific point of Insomnia is that they deliver to college campuses at absurd hours. Their market is lazy students; it’s the foundation of their brand. Going out of your way for Insomnia defeats the purpose.

The other issue with our solution was that the poor delivery people would stand facing the Barnes & Noble while they waited, expecting someone to emerge from an apartment above it. You can imagine how startled they were when we popped up behind them, in the dark, at 1 a.m.. Food delivery is a hard job. They don’t need that.

Carlyle is the most egregious victim of Insomnia’s oversight, but it is not the only one. Brittany Hall — ironically, the dorm I lived in before Carlyle — is also located just west of the Broadway divide. For that matter, NYU students are not the only college students affected. The New School’s Kerrey Hall is located around the corner from Carlyle. Carlyle, Brittany and Kerrey house roughly 600 students each, amounting to 1800 young adults who could probably use some ice cream.

It’s time to take a stand and rein in Insomnia’s delivery map. It follows arbitrary lines instead of serving the people. As concerned citizens, we have two options. Either Insomnia’s MacDougal Street location starts stocking ice cream — and with the number of NYU customers they must get, it would be a smart move — or Insomnia redraws its cookie districts to accurately reflect their college student populations.

Insomnia should start by unifying Union Square Park. The current map follows Broadway, but that doesn’t make sense because no one lives in the park. The East Village store should push the border back to Fifth Avenue to include Carlyle, Brittany and Kerrey. The move would even put Rubin Hall, Weinstein Hall and Goddard Hall in the ice cream zone. Everyone wins — except Lipton. So either way, MacDougal should sell ice cream.

A map of the locations Insomnia Cookies delivers to in New York City. Two distinct delivery zones are shown, separated by a street.Second, what’s going on in SoHo? Is there really a block-wide strip of overlap between these two cookie districts? Do people living between Mercer Street and Broadway have the luxury of choosing between two locations, or is this a cartographical error?

A map of the locations Insomnia Cookies delivers to in New York City. Two distinct delivery zones are shown, separated by a street.In any case, we can’t allow such disorganization to continue. Spread the word: It’s time to defend dessert democracy.

Off-Third is WSN’s satire column. Views expressed in Off-Third do not necessarily reflect those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Contact Sabrina Choudhary at [email protected]