York College

York College

It’s been about one month and change since I began teaching at York College as a new assistant professor (of music). To-date, on (a very unscientific) average, whenever I tell friends and acquaintances where I currently work, just about 8 out of 10 people ask me: “York? Where is that? What is that? I’ve never heard of York.”

It’s a little surprising that York seems to be flying under the radar so much. We’re one of the senior, 4-year colleges in CUNY (the City University of New York brand is stronger than York, I give you that), and we offer a BA in music. We’ve got dedicated faculty, a growing department, and lots of jazz. And – did you take a look at CUNY’s tuition lately? It’s pret-ty cheap to get a degree at York. Had I known what I know now, I’m not sure if I would have shelled out so much money for a degree at a private school.

The most interesting about York College is 1) the building and 2) (ok there are two things) the master plan that was created not too long ago. York occupies a superblock in Jamaica, Queens, just south of the LIRR tracks. The superblock was a result of urban renewal, where blocks of buildings were bulldozed to make way for a new campus for York College. Because of budgetary restraints, the original vision was reduced to a single building to house almost all of the departments and administrative offices of the College. The result is a brick / concrete building that is somewhat brutal – you see where the rooms are, you can imply what their functions are, and there are these utopian plazas that invite students to sit and chat. Though, it’s less inviting with the addition of the perimeter fence that’s in place to keep the outside world out.

It’s definitely an interesting space.

Photo used under Creative Commons license. Source: CUNY Academic Commons.