JJ’s Place: The New York Cafe Where Students Go to Black Out—and Eat Chicken Wings

“When I think of what makes not just Columbia, but Morningside Heights, so great, the answer is clear: JJ’s Place,” says Ben Jensen, CC ‘21. “It’s hard to put into words what JJ’s means to me and why it’s so special. I think it’s a combination: the subterranean location and the people, the hot chocolate and the late night atmosphere, the mozzarella sticks and the blacked out ramblings.”

Jensen had been frequenting JJ’s since his first semester at Columbia, when the smell of greasy, heart attack-inducing food lured him from his John Jay single at 4 A.M. The campus eatery, which is located in the basement of his dorm and was open 22 hours a day, became a staple for Jensen.

With its accommodating schedule and speedy service, JJ’s Place has been beloved for years by Columbia and Barnard students who come to drunkenly shovel chicken wings and fries down their throats and occasionally swallow their vomit in the breakfast food line.

“It’s so sad, the way that JJ’s has been affected by COVID-19. I never thought I’d see the day when that door was closed to students, and it’s terrible to think JJ’s might never recover from this,” Jensen told Federalist reporters. “JJ’s is Columbia, there’s no other way to put it. It’s up to us to rally around this special place and preserve it for future generations.”

As of press time, Jensen has created a GoFundMe in hopes that JJ’s will soon be able to offer take-out.