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Housing Is Scary: Here Are Things You Should Know

Close enough!

Housing is confusing. We are Bwog, and we know what’s really good (we learned from Young Joc). We told you how the lottery works, and today we’ll tell you what the Housing website doesn’t about most of the dorms on campus. We didn’t get all of them–mostly ones that people don’t complain about much, like EC and Broadway–but help out your Internet friends and fill us in on what we should know about your dorm in the comments. Stay tuned for more housing wisdom.

Claremont: Claremont Avenue, 116th, and 120th are all wind tunnels.  Ask Barnard Public Safety for swipe access to the Barnard tunnels. The lower level shaft rooms have zero natural light (and also hear 5 floors worth of parties at night), the smaller suites (3 or 4-person, mostly juniors and seniors) have almost no space to hang out. Bad Verizon service. Still, the late-night security guard is awesome (whadduuuup Maria!), and the cleaning service is pretty clutch.

Hogan: Ridiculously roomy, surprisingly-verging-on-way-too warm, kitchen actually smaller than you’d think for a top-of-the-line senior housing situation–at least, it’s not only smaller than Watt and EC, it’s also smaller than good junior year residences like Ruggles and Claremont–more than one person and it gets pretty cramped. Still, what you lose in kitchen space, you make up in tons of common space–unlike EC. There’s also lots of closet space for all your coats and bikes…yes, that’s bikes plural. Some Hoganites turn the closet into a smoking room. Cons: mouse problem, rooms on lower floors may face backyards of frat houses=lots of noise. If you walk home from bars singing drunkenly, Hogan residents can hear you, even up on the 6th floor.

McBain: Despite the terrible views and darkness, the shaft is about 15-20 degrees warmer than most rooms on campus. This is bad in September, and good most of the rest of the year. The treadmills in the main lounge are very convenient.

Nussbaum: Laundry is $1.70 a load! Most residents just walk over to McBain to get it done. Lovely lobby, slow elevators, small kitchens. Some singles have private bathrooms. Security guards are pretty lax about swiping in if you’re missing your ID, and about signing in guests, because real life adults live in Nussbaum upper floors.

River: Made up mostly seniors with some juniors. Singles range widely in size from low 100s to 130+ square feet. There are well-equipped, large kitchens (two on each floor means rarely do you have to wait!); no pests (except whoever is stealing food from the editor of The Blue and White). Views are pretty terrible from all parts of the building no matter what the Housing Web page says. There are nice bathrooms that accommodate only one person at a time (unless you’re feeling frisky or the other person forgot to lock the door). Well-kept interiors; big screen TV in basement; thin walls mean you hear all (ALL).

Schapiro: Doubles are tolerable, and sometimes better! Just be careful when choosing a walk-through– try to avoid the kind that has two desks in the front and two beds in the rear (typically much more cramped). You’ll probably be better off in a good, well laid-out double than a walk-through– even the nicer walk-throughs. Renovated lounges are among the best on campus. Big kitchens and flat-screen TVs. The sky lounge is a gem (hey Jer-zee!), but watch out for mice, roaches, and bedbugs (although Schapiro residents have been safe from the latter all year).

Watt/McBain/548 W. 113th Street:  You share 113th with a fire station.  All of Manhattan is on fire.  All night.

Wien: Wien + “Sophomore slump” = doubly depressing. Rumors of its original function as an insane asylum, bars on windows (at least on the first 3 floors) and particularly dingy showers stalls. Still, Wien has its pros, we promise! The sink in the room is odd at first, but ultimately so convenient. Good water pressure, too! The only kitchen is on the second floor, but that means there’s not a big pest problem. The upper floors have nice renovated bathrooms. Floors 11 and 12 have both guys and girls’ bathrooms. A frustrating Wien condition: every other floor has either a guy’s OR a girl’s bathroom. Most of the singles are decent sized– about 110-120 sq feet. If you have an east-facing room, especially on an upper floor, you’ll have a great view of Manhattan and a nice sunrise every morning. Half of the rooms have wooden floors. Some of the best walk-through doubles on campus: there are doors in between, unlike those in Schapiro. Oh, and it’s Wien, so it’s always quiet.

Woodbridge: Convenient basement gym with little TV, privacy and some killer views. Beware: Verizon cell service can be so bad on the first floor that a pal of Bwog’s had to move out.

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  • kat says:

    @kat what’s the best option for sophomores?? i have a pretty good lottery number and i can’t figure out which dorm to go for. i definitely want a single. i play electric guitar (noise) and i spend a lot of time in my room. any recommendations?

  • Wien says:

    @Wien floors 9 and up have renovated girls and guys bathrooms, all floors will have these next year.

  • I'm so glad says:

    @I'm so glad that Maria got a proper shoutout here.

  • BROADWAY says:

    @BROADWAY do people keep the kitchens clean?

    does it ever get noisy/ do people ever throw parties there (cause it seems like not)?

    are the bathrooms okay?

  • BROADWAY says:


    1. living in broadway says:

      @living in broadway Broadway is pretty much just awesome, not a downside to it imho.

  • curious rising junior says:

    @curious rising junior what about ruggles?

    1. replying to you says:

      @replying to you ruggles is awesome, esp if you live in a 5/4 person suite where theres tons of space, there isnt a lot of couterspace for the kitchen

      its not as ‘outgoing’ cause people are behind the door of their suite, but a lot of suite doors are open and there are always parties here or there

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous ruggles has 5 person suites? are they all singles?

  • math geek says:

    @math geek The $1.70 laundry is the most ridiculous thing ever, a stroke of true Columbia genius. You have to buy a special card and put money on in increments of $5. 3 * $1.70 is $5.10… you can only use all your money exactly if you somehow manage to do a multiple of 150 loads of laundry (Extra $0.10 times 50 for the extra $5). Sneaky, sneaky, sneaky.

  • wien question says:

    @wien question because not all the floors have lounges, is it ok to use another floor’s lounge to hang out in? does that happen?

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous no.

    2. Wien says:

      @Wien lies, people hang out in the lounge from other floors, but less commonly.

  • lallalalla says:

    @lallalalla please don’t put up something about off campus housing. let the aspiring new yorkers figure it out themselves.

    the claremont counter space is clutch…

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous what floors in EC have been renovated?

  • true story says:

    @true story i was once written up in wien for smelling like weed while walking down the hallway.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous river actually has some nice views. they’re not magnificent, but if you pick on the side that does not face 114th, you get a nice view of a garden and the backs of some brownstones.

  • b-nard off campus says:

    @b-nard off campus its all about washington heights baby- rent is cheaper than campus housing if you’ve got 3 roomies!!

  • get a bike! says:

    @get a bike! my commute across the island takes 13 and a half minutes

  • fucking idiot says:

    @fucking idiot its Yung Joc

  • yobwog says:

    @yobwog Could you consider running a piece on how to go about doing off campus housing? Where to go to get it? How much one can expect to pay? Living in other parts of the city (UES, West Village)?

    1. Anonymouse says:

      @Anonymouse An arm and a leg if you’re trying to live on the UES. Also, have fun with your commute.

  • j2 says:

    @j2 wien really really sucks. i liked it at first and thought people were just trash talking it, but the fact is that it sucks. it really does.

  • or you could be original says:

    @or you could be original and live off campus. it’s not scary, not that much more expensive/cheaper if you do it right, and sooooo much nicer!

  • Sophmore says:

    @Sophmore Thanks for the post, bwog. One more reason to be grateful I’m friends with sophomores!

    Also, Sprint reception?

    1. Sophmore says:

      @Sophmore Wait, I meant rising sophomore.

      1. wien says:

        @wien Sprint reception is fine for me

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous What is Wien predominately chosen by? Sophomores?

    1. seas '11 says:

      @seas '11 yup. sophomores and people who don’t have any other choices. which basically means sophomores.

      1. wishful thinking says:

        @wishful thinking except for years when seniors take up all the suites/columbia lets in 100 more students over two years and half of the junior class ends up living there.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Thanks for mentioning the Sophomore Scream event on your main page… apparently legitimately astute ways of expressing school spirit and tradition, even when tied with food, don’t make the apathetic cut. Good to know.

    1. Douchebag says:

      @Douchebag 1) Go read Spectrum.
      2) The event is stupid.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous well I’m glad you won’t be there…

    2. Eliza says:

      @Eliza Hello again! Please see my reply to your comment on the previous post. It’s coming, we promise!

  • River Resident says:

    @River Resident As much as I like the building, the floors are weird. It’s a stiff hollow steel deck with a bare amount of carpet on top. Things bounce when you drop things on it. And you can feel it vibrate when someone’s walking 10 feet away.

    And also, death to the fridge raiding bastard.

    1. colt 45 says:

      @colt 45 true. my feet hurt when i walk barefoot on my floor! they’re so hard.

      also, brown water is pretty gross.

  • colt 45 says:

    @colt 45 i lived in wien last year and hated every minute of it. it sounds like the partial renovations…

    (btw, when will they stop pinching pennies and do a freaking gut renovation? My room had a fire escape plan that looked like it was from the 1940s)

    …have made it a little bit more tolerable: having to go to a different floor for the bathroom and having no floor lounge were both bad. Unfortunately, the worst parts of the building: one kitchen for 400 people; a 50/50 chance of having a cold, sticky, paint-splattered vomit green or electric blue linoleum floor; and walls and floors so thin that you can hear your neighbors above, below, adjacent, and diagonal breathing. And god forbid if you’re 6 foot 5, or simply want to wash your armpits in any of the showers without contracting staph from the mildewy ceilings you will surely touch.

    1. Alum says:

      @Alum It’s not about penny-pinching. A gut renovation would require closing the entire building for a year. Columbia would need some alternative space to house all those students. It has no such space.

      Gut renovations only happen when a big new dorm goes on line. IIRC, Furnald was gutted after Schapiro opened. River was gutted after Broadway opened. Hartley and Wallach were gutted after East Campus opened. But when there’s no new dorm available, CU has to make do with smaller-scale renovations.

  • past wien resident says:

    @past wien resident Wien really is underrated. It’s so quiet and the sinks are more convenient than you think. Right next to hamdel and a really good food stand (amazing gyro). Sophomores – if you can get a single in wien, take it

    1. Ha ha says:

      @Ha ha Nice try. I’m not falling for this.

  • ruggles says:

    @ruggles please!

  • Ditch Verizon says:

    @Ditch Verizon Get Sprint. Free mobile-to-mobile = amazing!

  • hogan - midterm procrastinator says:

    @hogan - midterm procrastinator this is a surprisingly good description. hogan’s fun, and the all-senior vibe is cool … but if I were a junior I’d still shoot for 5-person EC high rises (view kicks ass and the living space is pretty comparable – slightly smaller individual rooms, slightly bigger living rooms) … if it doesn’t work out, hogan is a solid backup. And if Hogan doesn’t work out then you’re probably screwed

  • Wien says:

    @Wien 9th floor also has a men’s room, a women’s room, and a handicapped bathroom. And a lounge and higher ceilings than most of the other floors.

    I also don’t find noise to be a problem. Maybe that’s just me, though.

    If you have to choose Wien, I’d go with 9.

    1. wien says:

      @wien there are handicapped bathrooms towards the south end on most (all?) floors now in wien. lounges on 5, 7 and 9 in the southeast corner of the floor with a flat screen tv, microwave and countertop. separate male and female bathrooms on 9 through 12, and there is a good chance they are renovating the bathroom on other lower floors. water pressure on 9 through 12 and handicapped bathrooms sucks compared to that of the regular bathrooms on the lower floors.

  • wien redux says:

    @wien redux the parts of wien that have been renovated are really nice. it’s underrated. but yeah, super-thin walls. invest in earplugs.

  • Is your pal a transplant surgeon? says:

    @Is your pal a transplant surgeon? Who *has* to move out of a dorm because of bad cell reception?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Forgot to put in how shitty the Watt cleaning service can be.

  • wien says:

    @wien wien – always quiet except for every little normal “quiet” sound can be heard loud as life in a closed bedroom. I heard every conversation that happened in any room adjacent (Even the one above me) and those in the hallway.

    and no love for ruggles?

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