Keeping it cool in the crypt
What happened to you, Columbia? You used to be cool.
Well, okay, I guess we’ve never been cool. But certainly not this lame. At first, I was happy to read the news Tuesday that Postcrypt Coffeehouse will live to fight (or strum) another day. For those of you not following the story, in the wake of administrative demands made at the end of last year that required the venue to hire another alcohol proctor and security guard for its twice-weekly coffeehouses, Postcrypt was in danger of shutting down.
The cost of such hirings proved too great to cover for the organization’s modest revenue, which has always been largely generated by alcohol sales at the performances (admission is free). The bottom line: In order to sell beer they had to spend more money, but the only way to make more money was to sell more beer. A doozy, as far as catch-22’s go.
In the end, they opted to – for now, anyway – stop selling beer altogether. Not exactly an ideal situation (they were forced to find a new revenue stream in the form of grants and donations). But shucks, at least they get to go on existing.
I’ve never actually been to one of these coffeehouses, but I like the idea that I could go if I wanted to. I suppose that’s why I was so disappointed at the behavior of the administration during this whole process. Postcrypt has been operating in the basement of St. Paul’s chapel since folk became cool again (1964). In that time, it’s become an institution of sorts, loved by both students and members of the Morningside Heights community, and has hosted performances by the likes of Jeff Buckley and Ani DiFranco.
All of that is really, really cool. What’s more, with two shows every week, Postcrypt is probably Columbia’s most reliable – or only reliable – on-campus activity.
If I were the administration I’d be bragging like an Ivy League parent about such a long-lasting (and cool!) institution. Hell, I’d make it a must-mention for every campus tour guide. And, more importantly, I’d give it enough money and freedom to make sure the coolness lasted another 46 years.
Of course, this is Columbia, so they didn’t do that at all. In fact, they did the opposite of that. So I ask, in the words of the immortal Bart Simpson (and many before him): What happened to you, Columbia? You used to be cool.
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