The 20 Most NYU Things Ever

Most of us chose NYU because we didn’t want the typical college experience. We’re here because we wanted something besides a grassy quad, big football games, a social scene dominated by Greek life. It’s easy to define NYU by what it isn’t, but it’s a little harder to put your finger on what makes our school so special. As we wrap up another semester, let’s take a look back at the most NYU things ever, including Amanda Sarah parties, the Reply-Allcalypse, and, yes, Cole Sprouse’s ponytail.

20. John Sexton’s hugs: The cuddliest tradition on campus.

19. The Free Hugs Guy: We share Washington Square Park with the city, which invites some colorful characters. You probably have encountered the Free Hugs Guy, Jermaine Himmelstein, at least once. He had his 15 seconds of fame last spring when he was arrested in the park.

18. A crazy talented student body: Rihanna herself was impressed by this “Diamonds” cover by a group of Clive Davis students.

17. NYU 2031: When the New York Times weighed in on our expansion plans, that made us feel pretty cool.

16. Alec Baldwin: When Hurricane Sandy tore through town last year and forced hundreds (if not thousands) of students to evacuate to Kimmel, Alec Baldwin swung by to lift everyone’s spirits.

15. Joan Torch: If you thought the Bobcat was the greatest mascot of all time, you are sorely mistaken.

14. Occupy Wall Street: During fall 2011, activism became buzzworthy again as students organized protests and visited Zuccotti Park.

13. NYU Reply-Allcalypse: We make news pretty regularly, like that time Gawker made fun of our very own Max Wiseltier for launching a 39,979-person email chain that mostly featured Nicolas Cage jokes.

12. GIRLSDoes almost getting it kind of together in your early 20s in New York sound familiar? Yeah, we thought so. Shoshanna is even a Violet. You have GIRLS to thank every time that girl in your creative writing class claims to be “the voice of my generation,” every time “I Love It” plays in a bar, and every time you have to reassure your parents that no, you’ve never accidentally smoked crack at a Brooklyn warehouse party. Yet. (Season three premieres January 12.)

11. Slam poetry: Our team is the best in the country. How rad is that?

10. The Timekeeper: He dedicated his days to making sure students got to class on time, and we miss him. Rest in peace, John Votta.

9. The Global Network University: In 2010, NYU officially adopted the tagline “The Global Network University.” It’s a fitting slogan for a school with degree-granting campuses in Abu Dhabi and Shanghai, in addition 11 other sites in Accra, Berlin, Buenos Aires, Florence, London, Madrid, Paris, Prague, Sydney, Tel Aviv, and Washington, DC. In the 2011 – 2012 academic year, 4,378 NYU students studied abroad, more than from any other college or university.

8. Josie’s vs. Brad’s: Regardless of which watering hole has your heart (and your dignity), you probably have a least a few fuzzy memories from these neighboring bars. (P.S. Brad’s has $3 margaritas. We know where we’ll be after finals.)

7. Famous students: You like to regale your friends back home with tales of Cole Sprouse’s pirate garb and ponytail.

6. The LGBT scene: The Princeton Review ranks us #9 among the most LGBT-friendly schools in the country.

5. NYU Secrets: NYU is often criticized for its lack of community, but NYU Secrets — with 19,000 likes and counting — is doing its best to combat that.

4. Amanda Sarah parties: During Welcome Week, Amanda Sarah parties seemed like your ticket to making all your friends back home jealous. CLUBBING IN NEW YORK CITY, AMIRITE? “I sure do love those too-good-to-be-true, 18+, free drink specials!” said no one ever.

3. James Franco: He’s our favorite celebrity, even after that fiasco when he sued a professor for giving him a D. He balances his academic pursuits (writing, acting, directing) with his extra-curriculars, just like the rest of us. (And James, It’s not like we’re bitter or anything that you called NYU Local a bunch of “little shits.”)

2. There are three Urban Outfitters and two Whole Foods on campus. Enough said.

1. Wallet-busting price tag: Over the course of J-Sex’s presidency (2002 to the present), tuition has increased from $46,000 to $64,000. And thanks to our relatively small endowment, the Class of 2010 has a collective debt of $659 million, larger than any other class in the history of non-profit academia. As Buzzfeed cheerfully pointed out, there are entire private islands that are less expensive than an NYU degree.

What else would you add to this list?

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  1. Kyp Ferris says

    How about Felicity, Gossip Girl, etc, etc.

    Brad didn’t even exist 3 years ago, so Josie is the de facto winner.

    Occupy wall-street had forefathers at NYU known as TBNYU or Take Back NYU.

    Alec Baldwin also has a storied past no showing the entire of Class of 2010 their freshman year and then making it up by giving their graduation speech where he called them the class of 2009.

    With all the talented students at NYU also doing great research, that’s the only thing you could highlight?