Lore of the Sixth Floor

Students, teachers of the English Department, and others give insight to the various facets of the renowned sixth floor, making it a more open book.

Reading Time: 5 minutes

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By Rachel Chuong

Home to the English department and located six stories above ground level, the sixth floor is full of mysteries. From rooms so hidden that even seniors get lost to an architectural layout that might as well have been designed in a day, there always seems to be something to unearth in its depths.

Room 615 is broken up into sections A, B, C, and E. 615E is located inside a hallway next to Assistant Principal of English Eric Grossman’s office with multiple “615E” arrow printouts lining the hallways to get to the concealed room, adding to its curious nature. English teacher Dr. Emily Moore teaches in 615E, and despite finding the nature of her classroom perplexing, she loves it. “I enjoy the weirdness of my classroom. It has a strange little hallway; it’s really close to the Writing Center. Even though all of those factors combine to make all my [freshmen] late and confused in the early days, I have found it to be kind of a wonderful classroom,” Dr. Moore commented.

Of the remainder of the 615s, 615C is perhaps the most hidden. It’s located inside 615B, which is near the West Staircase and is the entry point to 615A and 615C. Room 615A is where Grossman teaches Great Books, a senior Advanced Placement (AP) English course. 615C is the English teachers’ workroom, where teachers assemble to dash the hopes and dreams of their students, or more specifically, those with dreams of high English grades.

But what to make of all the various 615s? Where did they all come from? Grossman detangled the subsets of the 615 rooms. “The library [was designated 615] when the building was built [...] and all of the sub rooms—615A, B, and C—were initially part of the library,” he explained.

Senior and Writing Center Editor-in-Chief Michelle Zhang offered an alternative perspective. “When in doubt, assume that aliens tampered with the blueprint, which was then constructed without further second-guessing,” she said in an e-mail interview. As time went on, and more funding was acquired, 615A, B, and C were reworked.

Though most English classes are on the sixth floor, some are found on other floors. “There are a few English classrooms on the eighth, ninth, and 10th floors, so there are ways that we trickle up into the building,” Dr. Moore said. Perhaps the sixth floor is not mighty enough to house all 23 English teachers. Or perhaps that is merely a cover for the English department’s plan to take over Stuyvesant.

However, out of all of the many rooms the English department occupies, the most enchanting is arguably not a classroom, but Grossman’s office, found in room 601. It holds many intriguing features, such as previous editions of Stuyvesant yearbooks, papers describing various English teachers (“Mr. Kim has college student energy!”), the book room, and, at times, Grossman himself. The book room is filled with novels English teachers assign to their classes, neatly organized on bookshelves that move with the spin of a handle. Book monitors tend to the room, organizing books and preparing class sets on carts that teachers then distribute to their students. Junior Ryan Chen, one of the many book monitors, eagerly described Grossman’s office: “It’s really exciting to know that such a sanctuary exists. I was introduced to this place by [English teacher Annie] Thoms in my freshman year and it’s so much better than the half floor. Because [for] the half floor, there’s a bunch of people and here, it’s really quiet, calm, and peaceful.”

Junior Ella Chan, another book monitor, spoke about the increasing popularity of 601. “It’s not really like an elusive place. [There have] been so many more kids coming in. If you’re coming here, you don’t even have to be a book monitor. Just learn to respect the place because, at the end of the day, it’s still the English office. Teachers are coming in here to make copies or trying to have meetings with students, but if you really just want to come and hang out that’s totally fine,” she said. She also described the secretive nature of the English department as a whole. “The English department holds a lot of secrets in itself. All these little nooks and crannies for all these rooms definitely add on to the [floor’s] general persona.”

While room 601 has recently been the talk of the English Department, Stuyvesant’s library has always been an iconic fixture of the sixth floor. Senior Nour Kastoun, one of the many library monitors, frequently made use of its giant housing of books and computers. “I’d always go there [during] first period freshman year to cram for my AP Bio[logy] tests, and since then it’s held a special place in my heart,” she explained in an e-mail interview. “It’s special for so many reasons: because of the huge selection of books, resources provided to students, and because of the librarians, who are so kind and helpful.”

Besides the library, perhaps what leaves the sixth floor lingering in the minds of its visitors is its unnaturally welcoming nature. “The sixth floor is one of the sunniest floors. And it’s very inviting and welcoming, unlike the math floor,” senior Erica Huang said.

Mere yards away from the English office lies the sophomore bar, located near the entrance of the sixth to eighth-floor escalators. A prominent place for socialization, especially after a year of isolation, the sophomore bar is now where sophomores take any opportunity to make new friends. “[The sophomore bar is] definitely very useful since a lot of sophomores tend to cluster there,” sophomore Srinity Rijal said. “[It’s] definitely the best place for when you want to socialize.”

Inadvertently livening up the sophomore bar seems to be the fencing team’s activity as of late. Junior Carina Lee, a member of the team, frequently participates in these rituals during school hours. “You’ll see us every single day after, during [10th] period sitting by the sophomore bar in that curved wall that goes to the dance studio. We’d make this huge pile of backpacks and people would just lie there.” The fencing team has made the dance room, a somewhat hidden room next to the sixth-floor gymnasium, a makeshift home during practices. “The school stores the wrestling mats in there and a lot of us climb up there and sleep; [...] we leave all our stuff and it’s really messy, but it’s a classic fencing team thing,” she said.

This feeling seems to be mutual among the other groups on the secretive, magical, and wonky sixth floor. Chan summarized it like this: “Sometimes I’ll just see random kids laying on the floor. They practically look like they’re dead. Other times you have the fencing team fencing or stabbing people. Besides that, it’s a floor where everyone feels comfortable.”