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Wharton on the Hudson
To keep in touch with classmates, some alumni travel great distances to attend college reunions and homecomings. Residents of One Columbus Place need only walk into their lobby. The apartment complex on Manhattan's Upper West Side is home to some three dozen members of Wharton's Class of '97.
   That so many Wharton graduates converged in the same dwelling is not a complete coincidence. Classmates learned about the newly-built apartment building through word-of-mouth and were attracted by the competitive rent, prime location at 59th and Columbus, and ability to reserve units well before graduation.
Illustration by Hal Mayforth

   Still, says Juan Gonzalez-Arias, "I was surprised. I was expecting 10 or 12 [classmates], but not this many. It's been fun, I think, to have familiar faces around. People just drop by. They knock on your door or give you a call to see if you want to grab some dinner or lunch."
   Some students "didn't want to even look at the building" because they heard others were signing leases there, according to Nadine Orosa, an equity research associate for Toronto Dominion Securities. But Orosa insists she's not suffering from a Quaker overload-even though she discovered she could talk to two classmates who live above her through the vents in their kitchens.
   "I think it's kind of nice," Orosa says, "because we all have such demands on our time now that once in a while if you run into someone in the elevator or coming into the building, you at least get to see people briefly and have a little more [social] contact." It also makes going to parties more convenient. "You just walk upstairs."
   Heather Smith, who works for the management consulting firm A.T. Kearney, says she spots former classmates almost every time she walks into the lobby. "Some people think it feels more like a dorm. I kind of see it just as a busy apartment where you have people you know. You can tap into it and say, 'What's going on this weekend?' And if you want to do something, you can."
   Smith, originally from Rhode Island, says, "I thought New York would be huge and I would be somewhat lost among all these people, but with [the apartment] and with the fact that it's a really small world, you end up seeing a lot more people [you know] than you think."

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Copyright 1998 The Pennsylvania Gazette Last modified 2/4/98