Around the Quads

Postcrypt: 50-Plus and Going Strong

One of Columbia’s iconic spaces lies deep beneath the stately stained glass windows of St. Paul’s Chapel. For more than a half-century, Postcrypt Coffeehouse has been bringing musical performers from Columbia, New York City and beyond to its basement performance space — and it’s still going strong.

A woman playing a guitar under a pink light

CHLOÉ DURKIN ’15

“Postcrypt Coffeehouse brings together the Columbia community and city residents, as well as [unites] current students with previous generations,” says head manager Spenser Krut ’16. “Many of our regular audience members attended Columbia and enjoy coming back again and again because Postcrypt’s doors are still open.”

Founded in 1964, the student-run acoustic performance space hosts two shows weekly during the school year and ranks as one of the oldest surviving coffeehouses in New York City. Shows are free and open to the public. Past performers have included Suzanne Vega BC’81, Jeff Buckley, Dar Williams and Ani DiFranco.

Much of the appeal of the ’Crypt, as it is widely known, is its intimacy — a capacity of just 30, with exposed brick walls, strings of lights and the original stage and mosaic bar. “It’s special because every show is unplugged and the performers relax,” Krut says, “as if they’re just playing and chatting with friends in their living rooms.”

“The ’Crypt is my favorite place on campus,” says outreach manager Mahelet Fekade ’16. “When you are in the ’Crypt, it doesn’t feel like you are on campus or in Morningside Heights. It’s an oasis.”