These universities are all located in the northeast of the United States. They are all very popular and known as one of the best universities in the world in various fields of study.
The author plays with the word "berg"
Ivy = Any of several woody, climbing or trailing evergreen plants .
Crawl = Move slowly on the hands and knees
Brick = A molded block of clay baked until hard and used as a building material.
Some sources from http://www.thefreedictionary.com
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