Secrets about Northeastern’s Boston campus that you should know

One of the commemorative bricks that lines Centennial Common has a special message, for those that stop to see it. Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

Have you ever wondered if there’s more to Northeastern’s Boston campus than meets the eye?

If so, you’re right. The 124-year-old campus is full of history, traditions and the kind of under-the-radar secrets that students and faculty may not always discover on their own. Luckily, this helpful guide is here with a few secrets that will improve the Boston campus experience.

Study spots that are off the beaten path and away from the crowds, sculptures with hidden histories and new dining options–these are the secrets on the Boston campus that you need to know.

Sculpted secrets

A bronze statue of a baseball player is displayed around bushes and trees on Northeastern's Boston campus.
The statue of Cy Young at Northeastern University honors the original site of the first World Series. Photo by: Matthew Modoono/Northeastern University

Northeastern’s Boston campus is filled with enough art–whether it’s outdoor sculptures and murals or indoor galleries–to give anyone a little ambient inspiration. But there are two sculptures that also bring some interesting history to campus.

The most notable is the Cy Young statue, which stands as a testament to the first World Series that was held in 1903 on what is now Northeastern’s campus. From 1901 to 1911, the ballpark at the Huntington Avenue Grounds–now Northeastern’s Cabot Center–was home to the team that was then called the Boston Americans. In October 1903, the Americans, led by legendary pitcher Cy Young, beat the Pittsburgh Pirates, five games to three.

Built by Robert Shure and installed in the early 1990s, the statue stands outside Cabot, tucked away on a patch of greenspace, on the site of the original Huntington Avenue Grounds pitcher’s mound. Leaning forward, anticipating his next pitch, Young is now a part of Northeastern’s history.

A grey statue is laying on the ground on Northeastern's Boston campus.
Located next to Curry Student Center, the Reclining Figure sculpture was designed by Blake Edwards, best known as the director of 1963 comedy classic, The Pink Panther. Photo by Ruby Wallau/Northeastern University

On the other side of campus, next to Curry Student Center and Afterhours, is the Reclining Figure. The aptly named bronze sculpture has a curious origin story: It was created by Blake Edwards, a writer, director, actor and artist best known for directing the Pink Panther movies–and being married to Julie Andrews. 

Next time you walk by, try not to hear Henry Mancini’s famous jazzy theme from Edwards’ 1963 comedy classic.

Hidden study spots

With students back on campus, most of the campus’ better-known study spaces can fill up quickly. Luckily, Northeastern recently expanded its selection of study spaces, and students can now reserve study space at 25 different locations.

But if you want to avoid the crowds and find some off-the-beaten-path study options, consider using the Curry Student Center roof terrace. It’s a less-used area of the well-used student center that offers some respite on a crisp fall day.

For those who are willing to go slightly off campus, the Museum of Fine Arts on Huntington Avenue has plenty of tranquil, stylish spaces to get in a quick study session. The museum is also free for students, faculty and staff and has multiple dining options for study breaks.

“[It’s a] wonderful study space, especially in springtime when you’ve been cooped up for too long and the sun starts to come out again or during summer terms,” Madeleine Estabrook, senior vice chancellor for student affairs, says. “It’s a very different vibe.”

Cullinane Hall has been updated to include plenty of new study space and, as part of a new arrangement with dining services, even has food trucks available Monday through Wednesday from 5 to 8 p.m. Visit NU Dining’s Instagram every Friday to see the next week’s truck lineup.

The ‘marry me’ brick

A red brick has black text carved on the top: "Lar, will you marry me? L.P.F." on Northeastern's Boston campus.
A brick pictured in Northeastern’s Centennial Common reads, “Lar will you marry me?” Photo by Alyssa Stone/Northeastern University

As part of Northeastern’s bicentennial celebration, the university offered members of the husky pack an opportunity to donate money and receive commemorative bricks. The bricks line the walkways around Centennial Common and mostly include the names of generous patrons. But one brick is different.

Located in front of Ryder Hall, this brick asks a simple question: Will you marry me? It’s not clear whether anyone has proposed on the brick yet, but it’s only a matter of time.

Under the radar rec spots

Marino Recreation Center and the SquashBusters Center are just some of the campus recreation options.

Tucked away behind Willis Hall is a sand volleyball court that is still a well-kept secret on campus.

“If you don’t live in the building, you’re probably not going to know about that,” Emily Hardman, assistant dean of student programming and communications, says.

And if Marino is not your vibe, some students have found nontraditional places to get in a workout or practice on top of the Columbus Avenue and Renaissance Park parking garages.

Northeastern underground

One of Northeastern’s most hidden gems is also one of its most useful. The underground tunnel network that runs throughout the campus offers a welcome escape from the cold and rain and an accessible way to travel to your next class.

The primary tunnel entrance is next to the Northeastern Bookstore, but the 16,705-square-foot system of tunnels has entrances in 11 buildings, including the Cabot Gym, Dodge Hall, Ell Hall, Richards Hall and Snell Library. Use this digital tour to help you explore Northeastern in a whole new way.

An Emerald Necklace excursion

Northeastern’s Parsons Field and Friedman Diamond are home to the university’s men’s and women’s soccer and baseball teams, but they’re also a great excuse to experience one of Boston’s best walks.

Located in Brookline, the fields are a 30-minute walk from campus along the Emerald Necklace, an 1,100-acre chain of parks and waterways that includes Boston Common, Boston Public Garden, The Fens, the Arnold Arboretum and Jamaica Pond. If you want to support Northeastern’s teams and get to experience some of Boston’s most beautiful greenspace, there is no better option. Pedestrians can jump on the Emerald Necklace on the northwest side of campus. 

Mark Boulter, director of building services, has been at Northeastern for almost 45 years and remembers walking to Northeastern football practice along the Emerald Necklace.

“It was the best part of my practice,” Boulter says. “It’s a nice walk down there through the Fens and down along the Emerald Necklace to cheer on the Northeastern teams. It’s a great place to hang out and watch a game.”

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