Published online November 30, 2016
It was graduation week in 1951, and I was at loose ends. I lived in Holder 13-A, a third-floor suite, overlooking Nassau Street. I had often wondered what was inside Holder Tower.
Nassau Street runs east and west, Holder Hall is on the south side of the street, and the tower is at the northwest corner of the building. My bedroom window was 30 feet east of the tower. There seemed to be no way to get into the tower, except maybe through a window on the court side of the building.
To reach that window, I had to exit my bedroom, climb up the steeply slanted roof, and then climb down the other side. That sounds dangerous, but at the bottom of the roof on both sides of Holder were three-foot-wide gutters behind the battlements. If I slipped, I would fall into them.
I was in sneakers as I moved over the heavy slate roof. I think I went up backward with my feet braced against the slates. When I reached the peak, I reversed my position and inched my way down.
The window (on the east side of the tower) was ajar. There was evidence on the wall that someone had been there earlier, and evidence on the floor of the past presence of pigeons. It was a biggish room, maybe 20 or 25 feet square, and it was completely unfinished. It could be used for an office or a dorm room, if an entrance and stairs had been built. I then went back the way I came.
I wonder: Is that room still empty? Is that window, 65 years later, still ajar?