A few blocks northwest of the hustle and bustle of midtown Columbia is a calm oasis for the students who call it home. Cozy and intimate where many dorms are large and impersonal, 47 Claremont is the Morningside Heights of undergraduate housing. Former residents of institutional dorms like Carman will be happy to find that the wood floors and crown molding of Claremont reminds them more of home and happiness and less of prison and self-mutilation.
Recently refurbished, Claremont boasts all the amenities of Columbia’s top suites, it’s just a good bit more cramped. The kitchens are large and well equipped, complete with brand new stoves and enough cabinet space to hold all the provisions you will need to survive the long winter days when the wind tunnel that is Claremont Avenue prevents you from venturing outside. Other than the eat-in kitchen, however, there is almost no common space besides a large hallway. Just know that because of the size even the most restrained party can quickly become a sweaty writhing flesh pit once booze and guests are added. Group dinners force most to eat standing up, but don’t worry about the inevitable spills this will cause: at 47 Claremont a housekeeper cleans up your kitchen and bathroom for you twice a week. Unfortunately she is very friendly—only-children, expect to be guilted into cleaning up after yourself within the first month.
Sometimes the disparities between classes can become extremely apparent, especially in the seven person suites, where large singles (125 square feet not including massive closet space) sit next to doubles not much larger and a 88 square foot solitary confinement chamber. Word of advice: do whatever you can get one of the big singles. Beg, barter, fellate, or fake an obscure medical condition—I guarantee it will be worth it. To the more scrupulous future inhabitants of the Claremont broom-closets: get ready to rock it like it’s 1955 with a year of the missionary position in your cramped loft bed. Call it retro.
The size of the dorm (120 souls aboard) has its ups and downs. The large laundry and computer rooms in the basement are bleak but rarely full, and the elevator, though crotchety and slow, is rarely in use. However, the stone stairwell conducts noise to every single floor of the building, including the security desk, allowing everyone to enjoy the soundtrack to the aforementioned fleshy party. Luckily the RAs at Claremont are rather laid back, not to mention the small and friendly group of security guards who you will quickly become familiar with.
Claremont: worth the walk!
Photo by W.M. Akers
For additional photos of Claremont, check out a Claremont Room Hop from last year.