By Jeff Coltin
The day before Thanksgiving, snow dusted Edward’s Parade. Each blade of grass was tipped white. Not a single boot print ruined the even coat — there was nobody there to disturb it. “Pretty much totally empty. It’s like a ghost town,” said Eric Ospina, FCRH ’15, on campus that day. Ospina was on campus Wednesday working the front desk at WFUV in the basement of Keating Hall. He has taken lonely shifts like this one before — his family lives in Yonkers, just across the Westchester County border, so traveling home is pretty easy. In fact, Ospina’s father was planning to drive through the snow to pick him up when his shift ended.
No classes were being held that day, and most campus employees got the day off, so one does not expect to see many people around Rose Hill walking to work.
“I saw two people, besides the security guard, and I was actually very surprised to see them,” Ospina said. “That was my first thought, ‘what is anybody doing on campus right now?’”
Ospina’s own answer to that question could well have been, “not much.” The headquarters of WFUV is usually a hub of activity with dozens of staff and student workers walking in and out nearly around the clock. But that day, Ospina stood watch over an empty foyer.
Outside of Rose Hill’s gates, the snow was not settling so peacefully. Gypsy cabs jockeyed for customers looking for a way out of the weather and into a warm leather seat. Best Deli’s door stood open, peddlers inside impervious to the elements. But still, the sidewalks of Fordham Road seemed emptier than usual. Bronxites stayed inside for the snow and Fordham students spread out across the country — en route to El Paso, laid over in Lancaster, settled in Seattle.
Not all students had begun their travels. Chris Pierre, FCRH ’15, braved the walk from his off-campus apartment into the snow. The streets may have been less crowded, but Pierre said the neighborhood is never dead. “The Bronx is still kicking! Still stuff going on, still people on our apartment steps having a good time, drinking and doing whatever it is they do.”
Pierre had just returned from a trip to the Ram Fit Center in McGinley’s basement, one of the few campus amenities open the day before Thanksgiving. The walk there was “ghostly,” he said — strange to not see a soul walking around. But, as these things often go, it seemed everybody on campus was gathered exactly where Pierre did not want them.
“I wasn’t able to use free-weights because the 10 people that were in the gym were all in that area. And that area is very small.”
Princess Chunkwuneke, FCRH ’15, avoided campus hubs entirely on Wednesday. She spent her day cooking and just hanging out in her Salice apartment. She was counting down the hours before catching a bus to Rhode Island that night to spend the holiday at a friend’s house. But, that doesn’t mean she didn’t savor a walk across the peaceful campus.
“I’m more of a quiet town type of girl, so it worked for me,” Chunkwuneke said. “I know some people like it when it’s crazy, but I think you can better appreciate the nature of Fordham when there are not that many people.”