Back to School: Exploring BMCC

The travel writer in me loves exploring places, and it doesn’t matter if they’re not exactly vacation destinations. I imagine most of you haven’t been inside the Borough of Manhattan Community College—or if you have, you haven’t gone very deep. So let’s check it out, shall we?

The lobby at the main entrance—at the top of the Chambers Street ramp—is on the second floor, and it gives you a hint of how awkward much of the building is. It’s a riot of angles. I’m not sure what sort of architectural school this falls under. Manic brutalist?

The first time I entered the hallway below, I thought it was a dead end—the hallway actually jigs to the left. There could be structural reasons for it, I suppose. P.S. It’s not yellow in real life.

There are also plenty of open spaces, such as the cafeteria. The views of the Hudson are quite nice.

You’ve probably noticed the bridge over Harrison Street. The college is really clean—kudos to the maintenance folks!—but the outside of bridge’s windows are so dirty that the weather always appears grim. By the way, I believe those are bullet holes in the second photo, which is notable because otherwise BMCC feels very safe. I snuck in visited during finals, when there was a genial end-of-semester vibe.

Most of the classrooms I peeked into looked like this. It was hard to get into more; they were either locked or in use.

The library is the grandest space I saw. In the second photo, you can barely make out a sign that reads “microforms,” which gave me shivers. (I detested school.) There were plenty of quiet study areas in the library.

Occasionally, you run into a mural that just takes your breath away. Mushrooms?!

This was the hottest stairwell I have ever been in. The temperature was at least 95 degrees. It must lead to the boiler room—or possibly hell.

The gym and pool are appealing, if you overlook the leak (the garbage can was there to collect water).

The eastern side of the complex has a number of outdoor spaces. On one hand, they’re pretty mellow because no cars are driving by. On the other hand, the chain-link fence with barbed wire calls to mind a prison yard. The last photo is of a courtyard that I had no idea how to reach.

And there’s even a playground!

I’m sure there are many other surprising spots in the building, but they’ll have to wait for the return trip….


1 Comment

  1. That is a very impressive space. Someone did a fine job of planning. You should be paid for the much-deserved attention!