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Housing Reviews 2016: Wien

Aww, it almost looks pretty from the outside

Since today’s the first day of sophomore housing selection, we’re helping all of you rising sophomores with low lottery numbers accept your fate: you’ll probably have to live in Wien. Start convincing yourself it’s not so bad now, while you still can.

Location: 411 West 116th Street, between Amsterdam and Morningside

Nearby dorms: East Campus, sort of Hartley.

Stores and restaurants: Hamilton Deli, Strokos Deli, Artopolis, Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor, Lenfest Cafe (dining dollars), Friedman’s, and, when it’s necessary, St. Luke’s.

Cost: $8,166 (cheapest tier)


  • Bathrooms: Classic dorm-style bathrooms, separated by gender, with three showers each (but no paper towels). Also: a handicap, gender-neutral, single-stall bathroom on each floor.
  • AC/Heating: No air conditioning. The radiators in Wien are troubling, temperamental beasts, but at least they’ve been recently renovated. You’ll rarely be cold in the winder, but bring a fan for the early months.
  • Kitchen: You do not want to cook in Wien. There is one kitchen lounge on the second floor with two stovetops, two ovens, two microwaves, and one sink. It also has a large table and a TV. The kitchen lounge is frequently crowded and often grimy. One kitchen for a whole dorm is not very convenient.

  • Lounges: The kitchen lounge technically counts, but you’ll feel weird doing things there with people always cooking around you. The first floor lounge feels like a ballroom and, when it’s not being used for events, is a nice space. The 5th, 7th, and 9th floors have okay lounges with TV’s.
  • Laundry: One laundry room with about 10 dryers and 10 washing machines. Crowded during the evenings. Don’t expect your fellow Wieners to be in a rush to remove their laundry from the machines.
  • Computers/Printers: One computer lab with six computers on the second floor. There’s a printer in that lounge and one on the ground floor.
  • Gym: Not available.
  • Intra-Transportation: Two elevators that go moderately quickly. The 5th floor is the lowest floor you can elevate to without getting a dirty look.
  • Hardwood/Carpet: Carpet hallways, linoleum tile singles. Some doubles get the hardwood treatment, though.
  • Wifi: Yes, but occasionally spotty.
  • Bonus: Here we go. YOU GET A PET SINK! Please treat it well. Each bedroom has a personal sink in it, attached to the wall on the outside of the closet. A mirrored medicine cabinet also comes with the room.

Room variety:

  • Singles: 283 available singles. Most of them are about 120 square feet, with the occasional tiny and big ones. This is slightly better than you’d do in most sophomore and junior single options.
  • Doubles: 16 doubles. They’re rare and measure in at 200 square feet, which is subpar for a Columbia double. If you get one of these, you’ll have to explain to everyone you know that yes, Wien has doubles. Considering the shared space, combined with white walls and tile floors, it’ll take some effort to make a double feel like home.
  • Walk-through doubles: By our count, 29, 8 of which are “big.” The big walk-throughs on the south end of floors 3-9 (342/343, 423/443, etc.) total 290 square feet, while the rest of them average around 250 square feet. The room that has to be walked-through is generally bigger than the interior room.


  • Wien is one of the lowest-priority dorms. For singles, 10/720 was the cut last year, but 10/2210 was the cutoff in 2014. Some waitlisted sophomores last year ended up in Wien, so even lower numbers than those can find their way to this dorm by chance.
  • For both of the last two years, Wien Doubles have been at the very bottom of the chain, getting taken away in the 10/2900’s.
  • Walk-through doubles cut off around 10/2400. However, “big” walk-through doubles have cut off as early as 10/1614 in the last two years.

Bwog recommendation:

  • If you’re picking into a Wien single and don’t mind having to take the elevator, East-facing rooms on floors 8 and up look out onto Morningside Park and beyond. They have good views of the sunrise, and give you the feeling of that EC life, even though you’re relegated to Wien.
  • The singles are really pretty identical along the main hallway, but get funky on the ends. If you’re okay with a lame view of 116th street or East Campus, the larger singles on the edges are a nice pick.
  • This place doesn’t have a great reputation. Wien’s not a particularly shiny, homey place, but if you appreciate not having to interact with the outside world, it could be for you.
  • A Wien single is not big enough to host a party, or really even to have friends over. Don’t try. Please. Your roommate and their thin walls will thank you.

Resident opinion:

  • “That’s why I live in Wien. I don’t have any friends.”
  • “When I’m in the building, the closest people to me on Grindr usually live in Harlem.”
  • “When I tell people I live in Wien, the first thing they said is ‘I’m so sorry.'”
  • “You get a sink in your room! That’s basically a half-bath!”

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