With all of the attention that the new safety screen in Bobst has been receiving, it’s sort of come as a surprise to us that no one’s tried to mess with it yet. One Local staffer discussed the rejected design ideas, and others have expressed their tepid feelings towards the structure elsewhere. So how has no one been tempted to try and ride the coattails of this glorified fence’s fame?
The digital get-down of a design leaves room for all kinds of ideas; the pixilated palisade’s design is a prankster’s dream come true. But as far as we know, no TP-ing or defenestration has occurred … guess we are all responsible young adults at NYU. How boring.
While fantasies of scaling the ultimate golden rock wall like you’re in Palladium dance in our heads, we thought it would be worth our while to look back at previous pranks in NYU jokester history:
It turns out that our early Violet predecessors had more than a few tricks up their sleeves. In addition to sneaking horses into university buildings (!!!!!) and stealing lightbulbs from subway stations, students in the 1890s would hang dummies on ropes from the top of the University Building (since replaced with the Silver Center) and scare the shit out of people. They were Victorian badasses to the core.
Around the first half of the 20th century, asshole seniors took it upon themselves to put freshies in their place— down a hole full of freezing water. In the weeks leading up to Halloween, members of the senior class would rouse the fresh meat from their comfy slumber to run them in the middle of the night to the “Freshman Trough” for the traditional “Ducking.”
Before taking the plunge, the victims would have a chance to plead their case. On a rare occasion, they were spared, but usually they would be given the good ol’ Violet baptism before having to run through a paddle-spanking line. We think this might still go on at some club at NYU, but both the spankers and the spankees are really into it.
Another traditional prank that has been carried on a little longer than the previous two is the stealing of “The Bun.” “The Bun” is apparently a “thing.” It is a thing that for some reason carries meaning for the NYU community, and every couple of years since seniors began passing down an actual bun to the rising class. Whatever it’s about (like, it’s a fucking bun? in a silver box?), the prank usually involves one or two students breaking into a frat house or the dean’s office to steal the bun and use it as collateral for ransom.
In the past thirty years, it’s been reported that thieves such as the (sort-of illusive) Red Dragon Society stole the bun, demanding goofy things for its return. Former Dean Santirocco allegedly had to sing/beg for the return of the bun on the steps of Silver at some point. That was seen by about seven people, or none at all because it probably never really happened at all. In the 80’s, two dudes required that all NYU flags be flown at half-mast. It’s doubtful that anyone acquiesced.
These days, the practical joke pickings around here are pretty slim; lamest of all is what Youtube yields when you search “NYU pranks.” The idiot in this video thinks he’s pretty slick because he talks to two poor, poor girls in his science all while his pants are down behind the lab counter. We don’t know what’s more annoying— how truly unfunny the stunt is, or how horribly the entire charade is filmed.
Take that last example as a sign— our campus is facing severe comedic drought. While NYU certainly isn’t the typical college where frats run around stealing each others’ live mascots or pouring bubbles in the fountain (foam parties at Le Bain don’t count), there has always been some sort of spirited prankster tradition that gets everyone a li’l riled up. And although we don’t condone any sort of super-destructive defacing or ultra-violent S&M hazing rituals, a few greased pigs in Bobst couldn’t hurt. Just don’t let the animal rights clubs in on the joke.