The best part of the boathouse is the sounds. 

Arriving there, it’s quiet. Only my footsteps climbing the stairs and the clang of the locker-room door punctuate the air. Then more footsteps pound, more door handles twist — like a creaky orchestra in warm-up. Someone’s iPhone music wafts out: In the morning, the songs are sleepy, an invitation to wake up. Before a hard workout, more aggressive music blares: Eminem’s insistence meets Selena’s motivation and pounds out power. 

The work in the boathouse is its own music. Ergometers whirl, never syncing up, but creating a syncopated rhythm. More music comes through the speakers in the workout room. Hard breathing is this symphony’s steady adagio, along with the ostinato of grunts of pain. 

Finally, the water beckons. Boats drop in with a subtle thud and glide through it with a swoosh. The symphony of rowing begins. Like conductors, coaches with megaphones direct the harmony, and the coxswain’s voice becomes the metronome. 

Later, feet will pound back down the stairs, doors will close deliberately, and silence descends. It will be re-awakened tomorrow by aspirations of another day, another year, another set of new dreams. 

More Favorite Places

Nikita Dutta GS, Tiger and Tigress, Adams Mall

Gabriel Fisher ’17, Atrium, Princeton University Art Museum

Jennifer Shyue ’17, Murray-Dodge Café

Nina Sheridan ’19, Public Table

Alexandra Markovich ’17, Track and Field Locker Room, Caldwell Field House

Matthew Silberman ’17, Common Room, Whitman College

Hayley Roth ’17, The Chapel

Megan Laubach ’18, Science Fiction Library, Forbes College

Kevin Cheng ’17, Dante Room (East Pyne 111)

Juliette Hackett ’17, Towpath​​​​​​​

Mary Hui ’17, Cleveland Tower, Graduate College​​​​​​​

Photographs by Ricardo Barros