The Ghostly Concert

This is Crouse College, on the campus of Syracuse University, a beautiful building designed by Archimedes Russell in the late 1800s to house the Women's College. Crouse has always been one of my favorite buildings - stately, majestic, the perfect iconic landmark for an academic institution, but what I like most about it is its imperfection. The building is "off" in some important way I can never quite identify, but that imperfection only makes its attraction more powerful. It pleases, but never satisfies. Over the years I've spent countless hours searching for a perfect view of Crouse College; a view I've finally realized I'll never find. When I was a student at SU, I found myself exploring Crouse College one night while waiting for the last bus. As I walked through the ornate lobby I felt a keen sense of injustice that my architecture classes should be held in lowly Slocum Hall rather than this romanesque jewel. I slipped into the church-like auditorium and sat, silently, looking around in the dark at the beautiful wooden beams and stained glass windows lit by streetlights outside. Suddenly the huge pipe organ began to play. I was so stunned I didn't even know what it was at first, but I quickly realized it was a music student practicing in what they thought was a deserted auditorium, and eventually my heartbeat returned to normal. I sat there in the dark for a while, half an hour maybe, thinking and enjoying this ghostly concert, then the music ended as abruptly as it had begun and I heard the student gathering their things to leave. I thought about clapping, but decided it would spoil the moment, so I waited in the dark until they left and went to catch my bus.

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