Housing Reviews 2014: McBain

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Housing approacheth. And, unless you’re on top of it, it’s probably coming up sooner than you think. Bwog’s got you covered; we’ll be rolling out two housing reviews per day until no residence hall is left un-reviewed. Prepare to get (even more) excited: this year, we’re reviewing Barnard residence halls, too. Reviews for all! Today’s residence hall is… McBain!


Location: 562 West 113th Street

  • Nearby dorms: Watt, Nussbaum, 113th Brownstones
  • Stores and restaurants: Deluxe, Milano, Amigo’s, Oren’s, Tom’s, Dig Inn, Ricky’s, NYPL, basically everywhere

Cost: $7,324 (same as Broadway, Furnald, Schapiro, Wien)


  • Bathrooms: Acceptably clean men’s and women’s bathrooms on each floor (but only cleaned during the week). Renovations over the summer will create new single-use bathrooms and one ADA bathroom per floor.
  • AC/Heating: Heat only, although there are individual heating controls in each room (that may or not work)
  • Kitchen/Lounge: There is a combined kitchen/lounge on each floor with 2 4-top stoves, a microwave, a sink, a TV, and a small seating area. The floor lounges are a bit dingy, but the ground floor lounge was recently renovated.
  • Laundry: Laundry rooms on floors 2 through 5, with ranging numbers of washers and dryers (2 of each being the most). Generally gross.
  • Computers/Printers: There is a computer lab on the ground floor with one printer.
  •  Gym: A few treadmills and ellipticals, somewhat awkwardly located in the first floor lounge.
  •  Intra-transportation: Two slow-to-moderate elevators with a small stairwell in between them. Judgment for taking the elevator for anything not floors 5-8.
  •  Hardwood/Carpet: A combination of carpeting and fake hardwood. Carpeted rooms are all slowly being renovated into hardwood. Expect that by next year there won’t be any more of that nasty blue carpet.
  • Wi-Fi: Yes.
  • Bonus: Floors 7 and 8 are getting renovated this summer with new bathrooms, lounges, doors, floors, electronic locks, and—wait for it—ceilings.

Room variety:

  • Doubles: The doubles in McBain range in size from 180 to 270 sq. ft. On the second and third floors, all doubles except the larger corner rooms are around 200 sq. ft. On upper floors, the line numbering is inconsistent, but the line that begins with 822 is the biggest at 269 sq. ft., and the rest of the 20’s are also fairly large.
  • Singles: There are only 46 singles in McBain, and most go to RAs and their riders. There are seven singles that measure 107 sq. ft. (on the eighth floor, it’s number 818). However, on the second and third floors there are several singles that include one 100 sq. ft. room, and otherwise range from 115 to 131 sq. ft.


  • Doubles: Very easy to get; the cutoff is generally about 10/2900.
  • Singles: It’s hard to say now that juniors are no longer living in McBain, but last year the cutoff was around 10/1000.

Bwog recommendation:

  • As the only dorm that is currently all-sophomore, freshpeople should probably just get used to the fact that they’re living in McBain next year. That said, it’s not that hard to live on the same floor with a few friends, and McBain has some of the best rooms for sophomore parties. Just choose a good roommate!

Resident opinions:

  • “The shower ratio is terrible (2 girls showers but 6 guys showers per floor), but the hallways are wide and very social. Bathrooms get gross over the weekend, but are cleaned every weekday morning. Some rooms have gross blue carpet, but if you’re lucky you’ll get a room with hardwood floors. McBain is being renovated this summer, so you won’t have to worry about your ceiling falling.”
  • “I decided to live here to be close to Milano. So far, I have not been disappointed.”
  • “The hallways kind of feel like a mental asylum, but other than that it’s good.”
  •  “It’s really not as bad as everyone says. And regardless, all of your friends are going to be living there. Unless you can get a suite in Nussbaum, Mcbain’s probably your best option… it’s better than Wien.”


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