You know when the clock strikes midnight and Cinderella has to leave Prince Charming’s decadent ball to go back to manual labor and undesirable living conditions? Moving from Newing College to Downtown Binghamton is a little bit like that.
On-campus students’ geographical association with Downtown Binghamton probably starts at Saké-Tumi, moves through the block of State Street that contains the Rathskeller, JT’s, Dillingers and all of their bar-rific competitors, and ends at Zona & Co. Grille, the Mexican-Asian fusion wonderland.
Despite this familiar picture of the most frequented parts of Binghamton’s Downtown area, there is so much more beyond the bridge.
Walking across the bridge that transforms Court into Main and delves deeper Downtown, you realize you’re really not in Newing anymore. The biggest drama you’d witness walking into your building would be overhearing the resident assistants talking about from which room there’s an illegal scent wafting.
You might overhear a tumultuous fight that reminds you of “The Maury Show,” which may include (but is not limited to) some paternity confusion and accusations of infidelity.
Front, Murray, Chapin and beyond house many spacious yet rickety and spider-ey homes, rented out by strange and generally incompetent landlords that make you yearn for the simplicity of BU Brain’s online payment system.
Something you lose immediately by moving off campus is the luxury of cleaning services and the ready-made and made-to-order food options outside your door, yours at the swipe of a card.
“I miss Carrie,” said Erin Rosenblum, a junior majoring in English, referring to the pleasant woman who would on a weekly basis clean the private bathroom she shared with her roommate in Broome. “And Mark,” she added, referring to the eccentric Sodexo employee who would make her quesadillas at the Newing Night Owl.
“My cleaning supplies are limited to my handheld Purell, and the best meal I’ve had this semester was probably peanut butter and jelly,” Rosenblum said.
The quality of Newing is exponentially higher than many of the houses you can find Downtown, although there are some diamonds in the rough. There are, nonetheless, several upsides to moving out of the dorms.
“There is so much more freedom. I can do whatever I want,” said Danny Shorr, a junior majoring in accounting and a new tenant on Conklin Avenue. “I save money on cabs, I live with so many of my friends, it’s like there’s no limit to the enjoyment.”
It’s true. Downtown Binghamton is no Long Island or Westchester, and it’s certainly no Newing, but there’s something to be said of the heavily increased freedom and responsibilities that come with paying your own rent, cooking your own food, cleaning up your own messes and finding that extra motivation required to get to class.
Binghamton’s new dorms provide a luxurious manner of taking care of their residents, and although it’s cushy and comfortable, a reality check is probably good for us young adults approaching the real world more quickly than we may realize.
Cinderella struggles, but in the end she marries the prince, so there is hope for Downtown residents yet.