Resources for the Starving, Dehydrated Columbia Student Protesters

David Friedlander
4 min readMay 8, 2024

I mean, well I guess it’s ultimately a question of what kind of community and obligation Columbia feels it has to its students. Do you want students to die of dehydration and starvation or get severely ill even they disagree with you? If the answer is no, then you should allow basic — I mean it’s crazy to say because we are on an Ivy League campus but this is like basic humanitarian aid we’re asking for.

Johanna King-Slutzky, Columbia PhD Candidate and Pro-Palestinian protester.

Like so many, I was horrified last week to learn that Columbia University is starving its student protesters, refusing to give them the meal service they — or, more likely, their parents — paid for. Worse still, the school is apparently withholding beverages and water, since protester Johanna King-Slutzky suggested that the students could die of dehydration if the school didn’t get them a glass of water or something. Like the protesters, I feel compelled to leverage my privilege and in any way I can. And because I’m a Columbia grad, I’m likely better at helping than other helpers.

Being over a thousand miles away, I can best help these starving, dehydrated protesters by pointing them to safe spaces where they can replenish themselves calorically, hydrationally, and spiritually.

Full disclosure, I haven’t lived near Columbia since 2007, but a quick internet search reveals several of my secret caches of food and fluids remain. Below are places where the protesters might find the sustenance to continue living and toppling the patriarchy through their support of the fiercely anti-patriarchal Palestinian people.

Absolute Bagels

Don’t let the fact that this bagel joint is owned and operated by a Thai family fool you, these are the best bagels in the city, and possibly the world. AB makes H&H taste like Wonder Bread. Their bagels are somehow perpetually coming out of the oven, with a perfectly crusty exterior and steaming, soft interior. My personal favorite were their everything bagels, which have a healthy amount of rock salt to bring the other flavors out. And before you ask, know they offer a host of Tofutti smears, since I’m confident most protesters are vegans. At $1 a bagel, there’s little economic reason for Columbia’s Freedom Protesters to starve. Bring your protest signs, but don’t bother bringing a credit card because AB is cash only! AB on Yelp.

Koronet Pizza

Koronet Pizza is not good pizza, but its location between 110th and 111th on Broadway is close enough to Columbia’s campus for a starving protesters to crawl to, and each of their monstrous, flavorless $4.50 slices can save the lives of several starving protesters. Koronet’s website.

Taqueria y Fonda

TyF should probably be consumed after protesting since their delicious, homemade, cheese-covered Mexican dishes aren’t light. Try the quesos funditos or alambres. You won’t regret it…well, you may regret it a little the next day. Also, the place is small, so you may want to go without a gaggle of other protesters. TyF website.

Tom’s Restaurant

Protesters can express their fandom of Barnard alum Suzanne Vega and/or pretend they’re Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer at this venerable — if gastronomically unremarkable — diner at the corner of Broadway and 112th street. Tom’s Restaurant on Yelp.

Halal Cart

If the protesters really want to show their solidarity with the Palestinians — and possibly interact with real Palestinians — nothing shrieks intifada like a heaping pile of lamb over rice (extra white sauce, of course) from one of the city’s ubiquitous Halal carts. There are usually carts near the Broadway and 116th campus entrance and subway station. I think there is a cart or two on Amsterdam below the overpass between Columbia and SIPA as well. Hooda Halal (pictured, near Columbia) on Yelp.

Related Reading

Human Rights Watch: “Gaza: Israel’s Imposed Starvation Deadly for Children”

PBS: “The UN says there’s ‘full-blown famine’ in northern Gaza”

CBS News: “Nearly a quarter of U.S. adults sometimes don’t get enough to eat”

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David Friedlander

Pondering the future, today. Housing, health, and lots of other stuff.