I learned, yesterday, that my favorite residential area on the Marist College campus is being demolished. What I didn’t realize was just how much the news would affect me.
Gartland Commons is a garden apartment complex on the campus of Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY. I spent my sophomore and junior years living there while pursuing my social work degree, and it was great. Sure, there were some bad times (as is the case anywhere you live). But, the layout of my apartment and the area around it made it easy for me to get around and meet people – many with whom I am still friends today.
From what I understand, Marist plans to demolish the complex in favor of more dorms, which (according to the summer 2015 edition of Marist’s magazine) will “expand the availability of housing on campus by almost 11 percent.” I definitely understand the need to increase on-campus housing, and I am proud of my alma mater’s growth.
However, the memories the area holds for me perishes in comparison to the other living spaces I had even while attending Marist. Sitting by the “Gartland wall” (as I often called it), listening to my music and meeting new friends – which happened quite often – was the start of my growth as a person and as an individual.
The other reason I miss it so much was this: while sitting by the Gartland wall, I was able to look at the moon reflecting off the Hudson River – all while talking with new-found friends. The look and feel is something I cannot describe here because I simply cannot do it justice. It’s something you have to experience.
That brings me to the other reason I am writing about Gartland Commons. I’m sure the new dorms will be beautiful – as are many of the campus’ buildings. But, will students be able to experience what I experienced? Will the wall still be there? Will they be able to sit there and have a view of the moon reflecting off the river that is unobstructed by trees or other buildings while being so close to their living spaces? I hope so. If not, it will be like “paving Paradise and putting up a parking lot.” You know that song by Joni Mitchell, and later covered by Counting Crows? That song came to mind immediately upon hearing the news of the upcoming change.
I realize there are other places where you can view the moon and the river. But, the vantage point from Gartland Commons was incredible. You weren’t so close to the mountains that you couldn’t see the moon, but you were close enough to see everything at the same time – the moon, the stars, the river – and the occasional barge that sailed on the Hudson (River).
It is my hope that current and future students have the ability to have the same experiences I did. I know the campus is growing and, like I said, I am proud of the growth and the fact that students still love the campus. But, I hope they can all experience the access to classes and dorms without sacrificing the beautiful nature that surrounds the campus.
It’s still as beautiful as I remember – for many reasons. Here’s hoping that doesn’t change.