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Campus Life: 1908

New York circa 1908. "Campus, College of City of N.Y. Academic building, Mechanical Arts building, Chemistry building." I have a recurring dream that looks a lot like this. G.G. Bain Collection glass negative. View full size.

New York circa 1908. "Campus, College of City of N.Y. Academic building, Mechanical Arts building, Chemistry building." I have a recurring dream that looks a lot like this. G.G. Bain Collection glass negative. View full size.


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Went to City

Yes, the campus is still beautiful. Only one big building spoils it. The North Academic Center, which went up despite efforts not to tear down the old buildings. It looks like a big gray jail.

CSNY Today

CCNY Today

As promised, I visited campus today and tried to replicate this photo. As it turns out, even at the start of November with many leaves already fallen from the trees, the remaining foliage is enough to almost completely obscure the buildings seen in the original.

Though no young men in suits and caps are visible in this photo, if you click on the image above, it will take you to a larger version in which you may be able to distinguish a rastafarian gentleman in a multicolored knitted cap hitting at the base of the flagpole.

The campus is so thoroughly obscured by trees from this angle that I turned the camera 90 degrees to the right to take a photo of Shepard Hall, to give any skeptics a better sense of just of lovely this campus remains.


As a current student of CCNY, it's amazing to see these photographs. Despite some of the newer construction on the southern half of campus (the North Academic Center and Marshak come to mind), much of the school's charm has remained intact. In fact, the quad from the photograph above is even more attractive now. Where there were once stone paths, the school has replaced with grass and trees, giving the space an idyllic face lift.


It is a lovely campus; weather permitting I will head up there this weekend take an "update" photo to share with Shorpy. When the buildings were restored about fifteen(?) years ago, the school could not afford to replace the original stonework and gargoyles on the exterior of the buildings. To their credit, the administration commissioned fiberglass replicas, which cost a fraction the price and which can not be distinguished from stone.

CCNY was at one time a very well respected school. Graduates include Jonas Salk and Colin Powell. However, the school's academic program and reputation were destroyed by the introduction of open-admissions in 1970, and have never recovered.

That notwithstanding, the campus has been used as a stand-in for Oxford and Harvard in movies. I used to take my daughter up there to play on the grass, back before she was sophisticated enough to demand a "real" playground.


The campus is still very beautiful.


I love the Quad. There are more trees and places to sit and eat and hang out in general. A lot of the gothic buildings are still there, like Shepard Hall, and it's still beautiful as ever.

Night School on Elm Street

1. This looks like an Escher print

2. You mean the dream where it's the end of the semester and you realize you haven't gone to math ALL semester and don't even know where the class is held?

3. I have LIVED the show-up-late for the final exam nightmare!! I thought my microecon exam was from 3:20 to 5:20 and it was from 1 to 3!!

Film at 100

CUNY has posted on YouTube a multi-episode video series about how these buildings were designed, and how the University recently restored them.

Brand spanking new campus

These buildings - now known by names such as Baskerville Hall, on the North Quad around what was formerly Beaver Park - were brand new in 1908, as was the CCNY St. Nicholas Heights campus. The May 1908 dedication ceremonies included speeches by the usual politicians, plus Mark Twain. You can read the New York Times article about it here. 100 years later, the buildings and the quad have survived, although some visionary recognized that trees, more grass and less concrete be an improvement.


I always dreamt of cars & gals. Since Tue, 08/12/2008 I dream of The Girl With the Crocodile Car.

A beauty

This campus is absolutely beautiful. Crisp and new.
Does anyone know if it still looks this nice ?


I can see how this would make a good nightmare. You're late for an exam and can't remember what room it's in. You give a shout to ask for directions but nobody will answer you because you're not wearing any clothes. That's when the pipe smoking paperboys appear and start pelting you with road apples.

Nostalgia of the Infinite

It's like a Giorgio de Chirico painting.

Black and white dreams

I was reading in New Scientist about a study that demonstrates that people over 55 (i.e. raised on b/w movies, TV and photos) dream far more often in black and white (up to a quarter of the time) than younger people. I didn't know what to do with this information (except nod, because it's probably true of me), but now I can pass it on to other Shorpymaniacs!

[My dreams have those black bars across the top and bottom. - Dave]

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