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Bipartisan Dorm Review: Carman

Our second series during Orientation is called “Bi-Partisan Dorm Reviews.” The series seeks to show both the pros and cons of living in whatever residence hall that you (hopefully) chose. For non-freshman housing, w
e did reviews of many upperclassmen buildings during the Housing Lottery, which you can see here. Second up is Carman. As always, feel free to add your own pros and cons in the comments. 

Carman is the imposing hunk of concrete that sticks out of 114th and Broadway. Made up of suite-style two-room doubles, the dorm serves as a perfect factory of freshman for frat row. Every tour guide will tell you that “Carman is the social dorm!” which really just means residents don’t mind falling asleep to the smell of weed. Read on for more evidence of the double-edged sword that is Carman.


  • The cleanliness and solitude of your personal bathroom. Hallway toilets will never compare.
  • Four-person suites make for instant, sometimes mandatory friendships.
  • Dorm parties every weekend (another floormate arranged a personal beer-pong table with nothing but his wits and an old slab of cardboard).
  • Sexiling opportunities are boundless
  • Couch wars!: Raiding other floors and stealing furniture as revenge for getting your remote stolen has become a yearly tradition.
  • Cool security guard Mike who enlightens freshies on self-promotion while selling you his jazz CD if he thinks he can trust you.
  • A minute’s distance from the subway as well as the behemoth of social encounters and frozen yogurt that is Lerner.
  • Seemingly cooler RAs than usual (ours used condoms and lube for our icebreaker… though he did later call campus security for one of our parties and was hence considered an asshole).


  • One measly kitchen for the whole dorm, relegated to the bottom floor and completely impractical for any cooking purposes unless you have a personal cart.
  • Two elevators for about 600 residents means unusually long waiting time to get to your floor and an even more uncomfortable standing situation. Move-in/out is particular hell.
  • Waking up to the sound of construction workers and garbage men at 6am.
  • Coming back from class to the familiar smell of weed in the hallway.
  • Getting sexiled.
  • Prison-like walls that do little to combat seasonal depression.
  • Frat debauchery is your view from the window, with accompanying late night noises to boot (particular favorites are the “WOOOS!!” of random drunk girls at four in the morning).
  • Making the most of those gazillion John Jay meals in the dead of winter is impossible
  • Weekly disasters in the elevator after a raucous weekend (read: every weekend). The concoction usually includes an unorthodox mix of vomit, pee, and/or spilled beer.
– YS

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  • Alum says:

    @Alum How can one building be “ubiquitous”?

    1. Alum says:

      @Alum I see the editors have changed “ubiquitous” to “imposing”. The edited version makes a lot more sense, but it also makes my earlier comment look like a non-sequitur. If any readers are wondering what the hell I was talking about, I hope this answers the question.

      1. who cares says:

        @who cares it’s the internet

        chill out

  • Alum (again) says:

    @Alum (again) For that matter, how can a brick building be a “hunk of concrete”?

    1. well... says:

      @well... the bricks are only a facade. The building is actually held up by steel and concrete. Not to mention all the interior walls are cinder blocks, so even if they’re not structural, the interior walls constiute sufficient reason for calling the building a hunk of concrete.

      1. Alum says:

        @Alum Okay, but by that logic almost every modern building (and many pre-modern ones) in the city is a hunk of concrete. Surely the author intended to describe Carman in a way that set it apart from other buildings.

        (I guess the author did distinguish it from the other buildings at Broadway and 114th, but I think he/she was trying to do more than that.)

        1. ... says:

          @... with some notable exceptions, the vast majority of commercial architecture in new york city is fucking fugly.

          don’t get me wrong, the quantity is great and the surreal environment it creates is second to none. but seriously, the architecture itself is pretty much a bit of cool gothic stuff and a lot of cinderblocks and fugly 60s/70s crapola that either resembles the eastern bloc or an overgrown air conditioner.

  • former resident says:

    @former resident it’s actually 3 elevators…the cargo elevator is absolutely amazing

  • confused says:

    @confused Coming back from class to the familiar smell of weed in the hallway.

    Is a con?!

  • Look says:

    @Look The bottom line is that Carman’s the best.

  • I can't wait says:

    @I can't wait Until the hatorade is spilled all over Furnald. Ironic because if one is socially adept, it’s by far the best freshmen dorm.

  • Alum2nd says:

    @Alum2nd Erm, are you implying that Carmen is reasonably aesthetically pleasing? Lord help you if you are. Carmen is the building that has McKim, Mead, and White doing flips in their graves. Not to mention the dorm is loud, smelly strangely, and has an ‘icky’ feeling to it. Furnald, Wallach, Hartley, John Jay. In that order.

  • Miley Cyrus says:

    @Miley Cyrus lots of asian cooking, smells revolting

  • EAL says:

    @EAL Carman appears to be Columbia’s homage to the postwar Soviet-style architecture of Eastern Europe. Only a communist would find that building attractive.

    1. alumnus says:

      @alumnus With all the marxist students on campus, they deserve proletariat housing

    2. ... says:

      @... i am a communist, and let me tell you, i fucking hate carman.

  • thank you says:

    @thank you it used to help me think

  • Carman says:

    @Carman it’s where brain cells go to die.

  • Former Carmaner says:

    @Former Carmaner There were remotes?

    1. Former Carmanite says:

      @Former Carmanite Only if you bought one for your floor. Amazingly the one I bought in September lasted to February. It renewed my faith in humanity.

  • cc '09 says:

    @cc '09 being an alum of john jay, i wish i had chosen to live in carman. i spent 99 percent of my weekend nights there anyway.

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