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Freshpeople Housing Reviews 2015: John Jay

Continuing our assistance for pre-frosh housing selection, here is the third installment of Freshpeople Housing Review, in which we examine that most august residence hall, John Jay.

Location: 548 W 113th St.

  • Nearby dorms: Hartley, Wallach, with Furnald and Carman a College Walk away.
  • Food: Two of three dining halls (John Jay and JJ’s Place), Strokos, HamDel, and Camille’s.


  • Nearby places: Right above two dining halls, to your scale’s growing burden.
  • Bathrooms: Renovated floors have single use, gender neutral bathrooms, while the increasingly few left unrenovated feature the traditional separate boys’ and girls.’
  • AC/Heating: No AC; heating, left outside your control.
  • Kitchen/Lounge: Every floor has a lounge, though renovated have better furniture (as could be expected). Every lounge features a whiteboard wall, which adds both to the intellectual aesthetic, and to your ability to successfully complete your problem sets. Unrenovated floors have a “kitchenette” consisting of a grimy sink and microwave. Renovated floors have microwaves in the lounges, but no kitchenettes.
  • Laundry: Currently none; they use the one below Hartley (shared by Wallach) but likely due to this compromise, it is currently free.
  • Intra-transportation: Two sluggish elevators. Lines are common. Beware if you’re on the 15th floor; the elevators only reach 14. This makes moving in and out a hassle for these “Penthouse” residents.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: It varies.
  • Computers/Printers: Two printers in the lobby, and easy access to the Hartley computer lounge.
  • Gym: Nope.
  • Wi-Fi: everywhere, but no ethernet.
  • Special Stuff: Dining halls and campus health are right downstairs. Also love.

Room Variety: 

  • Singles vary in size from just above 100 sq ft into some truly large 15th floor singles (albeit with slanted roofs).  There are a few doubles on each floor as well.

Bwog Recommendations: 

  • John Jay is beloved. People take pride in living in Carman. This is because, much like the Marines or supporting your younger brothers with work at the steel mine, Carman will forge you with hardship and misery. People don’t feel much about living in Furnald. This is because they are pre-med and are dead to everything but their parents’ dreams. People love living in John Jay. This is because John Jay is the experience they dreamed of when they applied to Columbia. It is the idealized mix between personal space and community, social hours and study quiet, and your hopeful dreams and grounded aspirations.
  • Carmanites will accuse John Jay residents of being weird and socially stunted. This is true. They are also bro-ey, sophisticated, sweet, and way too smart. And all these sorts will leave their doors open and they will talk to each other, sometimes constantly.
  • Singles afford the option of either propping your door wide open when you want people to stop by or shutting it when you need to work or just take a break from Columbia, and you can always take comfort knowing you can stop by the gathering down the hall.
  • Also imperfect but much harder to justify are the facilities. The kitchen is a joke on your first-year culinary ambitions; the only line longer than the one for the elevator will be the one for the printers; you may not have access to your own laundry room. And the only advantage you have, direct access to the dining halls, most particularly JJ’s place, will become your freshman 15 nightmare.

Resident Opinions:

  • “John Jay Double is the quintessential first year college living experience.”
  • “John Jay has the balance of a great hall experience without the constant smell of vomit in the stairwell”
  • “The facilities are probably the worst among the 5 freshmen dorms, but the social atmosphere really makes it all worth it!”
  • “You have your own space but you are surrounded by other people who want to be social and so you aren’t isolated at all – all of my best friends live on my floor!”
  • “The best thing about John Jay is that you’re not in Carman, Furnald, or the LLC. You get a single and a social atmosphere–best of both worlds.
  • “I used to be sure that I wouldn’t be able to live a double next year since a single in John Jay is quite ideal – but John Jay is full of chill people and I’ve got plenty of friends to head into sophomore year with.”

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous John Jay is the dorm to choose. A double is annoying though because you have to walk through room 1 to get to room 2. Complications arise.

    JJ single is the way to go.

  • wtf says:

    @wtf is a steel mine?

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