City College of New York

On the northern end of Manhattan, up on a hill overlooking Harlem, sits the City College of New York.

statueIt has been there since 1847. In those days, the days when college was mostly for the moneyed sons of the gentry, City college was not only new but radical.

ccny gateIt was opened under the name the ‘Free Academy”… because it was free. As in no tuition. It was set up in contrast, even opposition to, its nearly next door neighbor Columbia. Free college? huh.

student buildingWhile it was for some time free it was not always “open”. In 1969 the few black students on campus raised a ruckus over the institutions lack of opportunity and support for black students/applicants. Consequentially the school decided to not only open up a little more, but open up all the way, allowing any graduate of NY public schools automatic admission.

crosswalkSadly such things could not last. By the 80’s not only was admission being charged but remedial classes were no longer offered. What was once a radical open door school has now, at least on the surface, become just a college like any other.

old houseExcept it is in New York. New York is not like any other.

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