By Sarah Eagan
Allston. Rat City. If you lived in the neighborhood in the 1880s, you might have had Henry Wadsworth Longfellow for a neighbor. Now, it is the home of the hipsters, frat brothers or the unlucky few who do not fall into the first two categories and therefore must suffer the reckoning of the infamous Allston Crawl. Whether you’re a current Terrier or a BU alum, the chances you’ve encountered an Allston basement at some point in your college career are high. The Allston Crawl might be a rite of passage for every West-dwelling and a few Warren-defecting freshmen, but traversing Gardner-Linden-Pratt is definitely not the universal college party experience.
Last weekend, when a high school friend called me at three in the afternoon and begged me to visit him at school, I impulsively booked a ticket on the next train to Maine. Nestled in a little town at the very end of the Amtrak line, his little liberal arts school definitely had more curb appeal than an Allston triple decker. Sans Greek life and surrounding schools to flock to on dead nights (I’m looking at you, MIT frats), the college still boasted several happenings the night I visited. The following encompasses my impressions of the night, a big-city college kid in a small-town, liberal arts world:
- Responsibility (?!)
My freshman year, I remember waiting for an upstairs bathroom to free up in a frat house when a junior I vaguely knew cut the line. He was shirtless with an entire bed sheet wrapped around his hand, bleeding, evidently from doing too many face-first jumps into the pong table. This, my friends, was Allston at its peak. I was shocked when the group of friends I mingled with at this strange school actually measured their drinking, avoided binging and responsibly monitored their behavior at the pregame. Crazy, right?
- Short crawl, simple steps
I prepared my fracket, gathered my dirty sneakers, and prepared to Uber in the 40 degree weather to our first location. Out of habit, I asked if we’d be quizzed on which brothers we knew, if there were backup addresses if this spot didn’t work out. I was met with incredulous looks and people zipping up their usual expensive parkas, sincere in their Birkenstock shoe choice and Hydro Flasks at the ready. We walked three minutes across campus to a fancy social house, were greeted by friendly faces everyone seemed to know and were granted easy access to a spotless basement. I felt like I was in an alternate universe, which was only exacerbated by the fact that everyone was wearing L.L. Bean.
- The tragedy of a town too small For T. Anthony’s
No matter your typical weekend social scene, every BU student has found his or herself at T. Anthony’s at an ungodly hour awaiting the godly gift that is mozzarella stick pizza. While visiting my friends school, I tugged on his flannel and asked what we were planning on doing for our late-night bite. His response? The dining hall. Every person who occupied that party 10 minutes previous had somehow transformed in the fluorescent lighting, grabbing nachos and fruit (yes, fruit) and joined their friends at a communal table. No Domino’s cheesy bread in sight.
I sorely missed the weirdness that is the adjoining frat, sports and random houses in that historic neighborhood during my Northeast Maine weekend adventure last weekend. So next time you debate whether to cross the river for some Friday night fun, maybe consider the treasure we have right next to West Campus.