On assignment for scene last Friday, Saturday and Sunday, staff reporters Amir Sharif and Gabriel Barcia braved the sturm und drang of a weekend at Harvard. The following is a chapter from their investigative travelogue, “Cambridge Casualties.” The full article can be found in Friday’s Harvard-Yale edition of the News, available on campus and at the Yale Bowl.
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — When we emerged from the T last Friday night, we weren’t quite sure whether we had traveled to Harvard or Eastern Europe.
No, it wasn’t the cold. Rather, within the first few minutes of our arrival, we had encountered three Louis Vuitton knapsacks circa 2002.
The first was worn over a cheesy Burberry trench coat, with its Burberry check lining proudly displayed beneath its artfully popped collar. The second was worn with a pair of black flats — cleverly donned in the pouring rain — that were adorned with Chanel’s rhinestone intertwined Cs.
At that point, we were in Prague — kind of trashy, but still acceptably accidental.
But as the weekend progressed, there seemed to be no end to the parade of Coach, Vuitton and Gucci, as shameless students swathed in the designers’ heavy, flashy emblems strolled around the college’s flooded lawns.
According to Harvard’s most recent financial aid reforms, the university is well aware of socioeconomic inequalities and is working to ameliorate the financial gaps on its campus. Meanwhile, many of its students seem to have been raised in Orange County by parents who decorate their children with gauche, exorbitant purses in order to vicariously experience happiness.
We hit rock bottom Sunday when we came across a sophomore whose tawdry mantra in life, she said, was: “Why wear it if it’s not designer?”
Why say it if it proves you’re a tool?
The hundreds of dollars some students have spent on their Coach “Heritage Signature Stripe” totes are also ineffective, since the aesthetic is not only gaudy, but dated. Homegirl, that knapsack was hawked by Victoria Beckham … when she was still Posh Spice.
But it wasn’t just our eyes that were unaccustomed to Cantab trends. Our ears, too, were astounded!
Aware of the fact that all social gatherings at Harvard end early — registered parties have to be over by 1 a.m. and dorm parties are, well, illegal and get broken up pretty quickly — we weren’t particularly enthused.
But if a draconian administration weren’t enough, Harvard students are living proof that the two hours their parties tend to last aren’t worth even thinking about a decent outfit.
For example, an event sponsored by Harvard’s Latino Men Collective, “Satisfaction,” was allegedly the first-ever Crimson rave. In Yale terms, it was the equivalent to a dining hall party — only emptier and more expensive. Fifteen minutes into the “rave,” we were left kicking ourselves thinking about the number of Safety Dances (you’ve heard of them) we could have attended with our $14.
“K-Pop,” on the same night, was a Korean-something organized party. Neither the theme nor the identity of the event’s organizers were ever clear to us, to be honest. There was anime in the fliers, and strobe-lighting on the dance floor. And yes, we had to walk — drunk — 0.7 miles to get to Currier’s House on Harvard’s Quad and dance in a room the size of a Bass weenie bin.
But as we were being kicked out of yet another party, we realized we hadn’t yet scoped out Harvard’s nocturnal eateries. Hungry, we stumbled upon Pinocchio’s Pizza on Winthrop Street.
Pinocchio is one part Yorkside, three parts A-1, a sprinkling of Alpha Delta, and a droplet of New Haven, all mixed in a toilet.
Don’t overlook the significance of the last ingredient: “This is the fifth time I’ve been drunk since I’ve got out” is how some local engaged in conversation with us as he waited behind in line.