Who was reading: A girl in a giant white wool sweater cinched around the waist with a black belt—kind of resembled a marshmallow wrapped in twine.
Why would you wrap a marshmallow in twine? To affix it to a roasting stick without compromising the structural integrity of the marshmallow.
According to the author (via wikipedia): The concept for the book (and series) came from her agent, who suggested the theme "vampire finishing school."
Was it a surprise that the reader got off at West 4th St.-NYU? Not really. I heard NYU bases their course catalogs on the theme of vampire finishing school too.