Bwog Housing Review: Introducing Symposium

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Location: 548 W. 113th , next to Symposium Restaurant (544 W. 113). This brownstone was made available as a housing option for the first time last year, and has been spectacularly successful.

  • Nearby dorms: Across the street from Watt, down the street from McBain.
  • Stores and restaurants: Near a Chase ATM, Deluxe, Milano Market, Campo, and Oren’s.  Half a block away is Nussbaum & Wu, and Community.  Not that you will need outside food sources when you have the huge kitchens available in Symposium.


  • Unknown!


  • Bathrooms: Bathroom in each double.
  • AC/Heating: No AC, but has heating.  The Super for the building is very quick and dependable if you have any heating/utilities issues.
  • Kitchen/Lounge: Not only is there a kitchen in each double, but they are BIG kitchens.  Newer and bigger than Watt.
  • Laundry: There is one washer and one dryer way down on the bottom floor.  Residents frequently take their laundry across the street to Watt.
  • Computers/Printers: None.  Residents use McBain for printing services.
  • Gym: None.  But you have enough room for your own treadmill with these spacious doubles..
  • Intra-transportation: Only stairs!  That can be a bit daunting if you land either of the 4th floor doubles.  Also, if you need to go open the door for someone (because only building residents have swipe access) then you must walk all the way down and all the way back up.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: Hardwood flooring in the rooms, tile in the Kitchen/Bathroom.
  • Closets: Real closets in all the rooms!

Room variety:

  • Symposium is all doubles.  2 doubles per floor on floors 2-4, one double in the basement (the biggest), and RA + rider on the first floor.
  • The doubles average right about 300 sqft.  Unfortunately, there are no specific numbers or floor plans available from housing.


  • We talked to one resident who claimed that he picked into the second to last double in Symposium, and he had #750 as a rising junior.  So you need to have a pretty good number to have a chance at NYC Brownstone life.

Bwog recommendation:

  • Rising Juniors who want doubles should plan on Watt, but if you hit it right with the housing lottery, you should heavily consider Symposium.

Resident opinions:

  • “People are very quiet.”
  • “No rats or cockroaches.  No critters of any kind.”
  • “Great that people don’t have to be signed in. Bad thing because you have to go open the door.” [Only residents of this building can swipe in.]
  • “I’ve always wanted to live in a brownstone in New York.”
  • “The only drawback is the stairs, and the laundry doesn’t take Flex.”
  • Rumored that there is backyard access.”
  • “Sometimes you can hear the frats through the walls, but only faintly.  It’s okay because they invite you to the parties.”
  • “No Columbia-provided cable. You have to go through Time Warner”


Photos by Elyse DeWitt

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  1. Anonymous

    are the three frats that lost housing similar in layout to this? are they going to be put into the lottery too?

  2. Anonymous

    How much does Time Warner cost?

  3. Bucket List on Sundays

    Possibly? Please.

  4. Anonymous

    symposium isn't potluck... potluck house is on 114th btwn broadway and riverside

  5. Suggestion...  

    Why doesn't bwog run a special on SICs next year? As a first year, I knew very little about any of them.

  6. doorman

    doesn't anyone want to stress that this is *not* a doorman building? something that everyone takes for granted in the dorms?

    • Anonymous

      Sounds like that could be kind of nice in some situations, (guests, etc.) but I see your point. Anybody have a bad experience living in "Symposium" or a similar non-doorman in the Morningside campus area?

    • resident

      no doorman, but id-swipe access for residents only. i picked into the last room with a number in the low 1000's (can't remember exactly). rooms in the lower floors spotted mice in the winter, but only once or twice, with no reappearances after calling the super (doug, who is awesome!). lovely lovely place, will regret leaving :(

  7. Jerry

    Are there only 16 students living in this building then? And it was open for regular students during room selection?

  8. Anonymous

    Symposium is a terrible name. Why don't we just call the place "Watt" because "Watt" is right next to it?

    Oh yeah. Because it's not Watt.

    It's also not Symposium; Symposium is a restaurant that's 4 buildings away.

    I'd rather call it the long address than the stupidity that is naming it "Symposium".

  9. Resident  

    Living in 548 was the BEST decision I ever made. Its the perfect place to live junior year, as long as you're okay with sharing a room. (The rooms are gigantic though, so it's never crowded.) If I didn't want a single next year, I'd absolutely pick into 548 again. will miss it. and super doug is the best!

  10. 2014

    Bwog, can you run a piece on Open Housing? I'm very curious.

  11. Anonymous  

    those are some cool chairs

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