50/50

We all know generally nothing about what is going at the 50/50 building. I still don’t, and I’ve been there. I’m the very last person you’d expect to find his way in there, but it doesn’t take much to get in at all.

One would think otherwise, given once you’re past the elevators, every door to get into the place requires a resident card scan entry. But it’s no secret: you just have to play the waiting game to get inside.

Last Friday, I waited outside the locked doors of the 50/50 no more than a minute until one kind gentleman walked over and opened the door. The following day, I waited about two minutes, but I didn’t mind. It adds this cool sense of exclusivity, which shouldn’t be surprising – the apartment has a nightclub’s name, for Pete’s sake. It’s an obvious move by the investors of the $42-million high rise apartment to draw comparisons with Jay Z’s successful nightclub chain, The 40/40 Club. I mean, I feel like I should have to wait to get inside this place.

And people have.

A half hour before I checked out the apartment’s now famous 8th floor courtyard, 25 to 30 kids waited in a neat line outside of the courtyard’s door. Kyle Kelley was the guy who let them in (well, he didn’t let them in – they quickly followed him through the door once he scanned in).

“It was pretty strange,” Kelley said.

The junior mathematics major saw them queued up along the hallway Friday night. He said it added to the growing list of the strange sights and sounds one commonly comes across when living at 50/50. However, Kelley’s fonder tales of the residents of 50/50 are far less tame.

A disclaimer: I reached out to the 50/50 management the day I turned in my column, and I should’ve given them more time to respond to some of the tales I heard from the students who live there.

Outside in the courtyard, there’s an unfinished wooden bar. When it’s finally built, I’m sure it’ll be a great place to lay down your PBR coozie while high-fiving your broski for that rad joke he just made, but until then, it’s just a pile of lumber. Fodder for pure drunk antics.

“I saw some kid break a piece of wood off it,” Kelley said. “Just started swinging it around.”

I can understand how that sort of thing would be strange to see, when done so casually.

The casually strange is the most interesting part of 50/50. If you look down some of the hallways of the complex, you’ll notice big apartment room numbers are missing. No, this isn’t an unfinished part of the building.

“People have been tearing them down off of everyone’s doors,” Kelley said. The inner circle of his apartment’s big block 9 is just gone. “They’re just missing all along the hallway. Through our window, across the courtyard into someone else’s apartment, on the other side of the building, into their living room window, we could see one of these huge, 3x4 9s that they had torn off a wall and posted in their living room. On the wall. They have an entire f---ing nine on their living room wall, right now, through the window everyone can see in the courtyard. So, I don’t know – that’s not probably an intelligent thing to do, [but] whatever floats their boat.”

Some residents don’t really care about that kind of thing. Kelley himself doesn’t think it’s so serious, either. He thinks the novelty of stealing room numbers should wear off in a few weeks. It’s all a part of a larger attitude that one has when living in the 50/50.

“I think it’s just the whole mob mentality when you have so many people out there getting crazy, at once, in the courtyard, in what is essentially a freshman dorm,” Kelley said. “No one’s really worried about consequences at two in the morning when you black out.”

And what consequences are there? Sure, the management of the 50/50 barred the courtyards for a week, following the Saturday UNLPD came to shut it down. Even the cops aren’t prowling outside of the complex waiting to dole out some good discipline.

“We’re not looking for anything,” said Sgt. Douglas Peterson of UNLPD. Monitoring 50/50 isn’t exactly a priority for them, or LPD. “Basically, if we get called (by 50/50 management or residents), we’ll go. We’re not patrolling.”

Peterson said 50/50 will never have a CSO situation like in the dorms, who patrol the premises nightly. Peterson said they haven’t received more than a few loud party calls. No matter how much I prodded, Peterson didn’t jump to any conclusions. I even asked if the department thinks there’s a little problem with the complex so close to university dorms (a skip and a jump for minors cooped up in the University Suites to get boozed up freely), but Peterson said they don’t have enough information to make any fair comment.

“There’s no established trend,” he said. “As of now, we can’t say. It’s only been two weeks.”

And he’s right. It’s only been two weeks. I could sense Peterson found all of this extrapolating on my part a little premature. Two weeks doesn’t make a trend. What’s that – two weekends? Six days? You can’t gather data from that.

“Call us back in three months, and we might have a lot to talk about,” he said as we wrapped the interview.

I’d say expect a follow up in three days. We all know gameday is coming up, and Kelley noticed the management at te 50/50 lifted the ban on the courtyards earlier this week.

“Oh have they? Do you know which one it is?” asked junior advertising and public relations major Zoe Ursick, in a phone interview I had with her this week after I gave her the news. She seemed pretty excited at the possibility of a gameday weekend in the courtyards. Ursick has an apartment with friends with a window overlooking a courtyard as well, and she doesn’t mind it in the least. She said she’ll definitely be there.

Her roommate, Meg Rogers, seems to be vaguely down for the party life. She’s not as gung-ho as her roommate, but she doesn’t turn up her nose at it. Sure, early nights may be rough, but at the end of the day, she said she doesn’t mind most days, depending on her mood. “If I’m in a bad mood, I’ll be like, ‘Well, shit. I don’t want this,’” she said. Otherwise, she has no major quarrels.

“I like it, it’s still fun, but sometimes it’s kind of annoying because it’s a lot going on,” Rogers said. She noticed it has been chill lately after the courtyard shutdown compared to te 50/50’s inaugural weekend, which she remembers quite vividly. “It was just party, party, party, all the time,” she said. “The second I moved in.”

She’s not kidding.

The very night after she moved in, waiting for an elevator to grab some grub with her roommate, a bunch of guys stepped off with a full keg, and rolled it down the hallway past them.

Though that was unexpected, Rogers knew she was stepping into a party-central apartment complex from the beginning.

“If you’re living in a building where it’s target toward all college students, I feel like you should realize that it is going to be loud, and there are going to be parties,” she said. “So if you’re not into that, I would not recommend living there.”

Ursick said she knows some people aren’t too enthusiastic about the lifestyle as well. She said she also knows she is definitely not one of those people.

“Things don’t really go bad,” Ursick said. “I think it’s fine. I’ve been having a great time.” She shrugged. It’s important to note that this is her first year in Lincoln. 50/50 is Lincoln for her. Let that sink in.

For the sake of fair comparison, the basement of Heppner in Neihardt was my Lincoln, four years ago. That’s how wildly different of a living experience 50/50 can offer UNL students. You can’t blame a student for seizing that kind of opportunity.

Ursick is admittedly making up for lost time at her old school, where she “didn’t really party much.” To be honest, I can’t really think of a better place to party much.

The only thing keeping her away from returning next year (if the joint is still standing, of course), is the price tag. An apartment there could dock you down a cool $665 a month, a price Ursick said isn’t so financially stable, “For me, at least,” she said. “But if I could, I would want to live here again.” Roger and Ursick both planned for a year of “crazy, luxurious living” together, and for two semesters, Rogers says it’s worth it. “For a year I think it will be fun. It will probably be the nicest place I’ll live for the next 10 years of my life.”

And that, my friends, regardless if 50/50 is still standing in three months, is the only thing that really matters. The 50/50 is pretty nice. And apparently, it’s a pretty good time.

arts@dailynebraskan.com