NYU Is Expensive, But Stealing Food From The Dining Halls Isn’t

As students finalize their housing arrangements for next year, many debate the necessity of a meal plan. All upperclassmen dorms and most off-campus apartments come with kitchens, so cutting a check for dining hall food may not be the right call for everyone.

But then again, who doesn’t love some Chick-fil-A and Hayden cookies every once in a while? Lucky for us, there are ways to eat in NYU dining halls without subscribing to a pricey meal plan. It’s completely illegal and morally questionable, but considering how much we already pay in tuition, there are worse crimes to commit.

Without further ado, here are some tips on how to steal food from the NYU dining halls:

Starbucks: Previously implausible, the task of looting a free drink from Starbucks on the Square has, in fact, never been easier. Last semester’s introduction of Tapingo—an app that allows users to order from their phones and skip that ungodly line—has created the jackpot of dining hall burglary. These orders sit unattended on a side counter, so there are literally dozens of half-melted, lukewarm drinks at your disposal throughout the day. It’s almost too easy: walk in, select a Caramel Macchiato for Katie or a No-Foam Chai Latte for Nellie, walk out and enjoy.

Upstein/Kimmel/Palladium: The food courts also make your mission pretty simple. You don’t have to swipe in, so treat yourself to an abundance of premade and made-to-order dining options without even taking out your wallet. It’s all about exit strategy: just fill a tray with all of the food you can carry and sneak past the registers. Be cautious of vigilant staff members.

In Kimmel, your best bet is to leave via the main doorway at the top of the escalators. In Upstein, go for that side door next to Peet’s. Palladium is tougher seeing as there’s no alternative exit, but you can try to eat a full meal without even sitting down.

Hayden/Downstein/Third North: This is where it gets trickier. The “all-you-can-eat,” buffet-style halls require a swipe of your NYU ID, so you’re not likely to get in for free. But it can be done. During busy hours (between 1–2 p.m. and then around 7 p.m.), lines will form behind the registers. Use this to your advantage and try jumping inside while the attendant remains preoccupied with the crowds. And if you’re persuasive, you can get in with the “I’m not eating, I’m just meeting my friend over there” argument.

We’re not saying you should steal from the dining halls, we’re just saying you can steal from the dining halls. There are some serious consequences if you get caught, so eat at your own risk.

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  1. Ryan Mcnamara says

    I’d also recommend waiting outside a buffet style dinning hall and ask strangers if they have an extra swipe to spare. It feels kinda awkward at first, but its definitely worth it.