Off-Third: NYU should provide refreshments to students waiting in Cantor line

We’ve all seen the line spilling onto the sidewalk at Eighth Street and University Place. It’s about time we pass out some refreshments to the poor students outside of Cantor.


NYU students wait in line to go to class in the Cantor Film Center. (Staff Photo by Samson Tu and Illustration by Susan Behrends Valenzuela)

Vinith Yedidi, Contributing Writer

It’s 9:30 a.m. It’s cold and slightly misty outside, partially due to the exhaust from cars zooming down Eighth Street and partially due to the breath coming from the students’ mouths. They’re all lined up outside NYU’s Iris & B. Gerald Cantor Film Center, desperately waiting for the security guard to let them in because it’s freezing outside and most of them are ill-prepared for the weather. Finally, the guard signals them to enter. They slowly start streaming in.

“ID? Daily Screener? Step aside please, you need your Daily Screener to get in. Let someone else through first,” the guard grumbles.

One by one, the fatigued, half-frozen students trickle into Cantor to get into their lecture for whatever core course they’re required to take. By the time the last student reaches the front and gets to relish the warm, inside air, they’re frozen stiff by spending nearly 15 whole minutes exposed to the elements.

As the weather warms, the picture doesn’t get much better. Imagine a couple hundred hot and sweaty people packed into a lecture hall, almost touching each other because of how close the seats are, watching in misery as beads of sweat drip from their foreheads onto their notebooks and iPads.

It’s obvious that this arrangement is unsustainable. NYU shouldn’t allow this to take place on what’s supposed to be a modern, sophisticated campus. Instead, I propose a change to make the waiting-in-line experience more refined — pass out refreshments.

Cold in line? No problem. Here’s a hot chocolate and two hand warmers, free of charge (well, complimentary with tuition). Hot from standing under the sun? Have a portable fan and a cold soft drink of your choice to keep you company and help you wait for your class in style. And why stop there? NYU should provide Six Flags-style line dividers on Eighth Street to help contain the traffic and set up TV monitors above each corner playing some A24 features. After all, waiting for your lecture gets a little boring, and we could all use the entertainment.

And when you finally reach the front of the line, the security guard can greet you with a smile on their face and, for your convenience, seize your food and drink because they’re prohibited inside Cantor for some inexplicable reason.

At that point, the problem of having one security guard check in hundreds of students in the span of around 10 minutes or so is solved. That already overworked and overburdened security guard can take their time, because the students will be more than happy to wait in line out on the street for their class. It’s a win-win situation.

So, NYU, as a student who has to endure the long lines of Cantor for his Microeconomics lecture, I call upon you. Give us some food, give us some drink. Rub our backs a little. We’ll keep coming back for more.

And give that poor security guard some help. It’s sorely needed.

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 Vinith Yedidi at [email protected].