Barnard’s got new digs, and Cara Hudson-Erdman’s got the lowdown.
After the loss in a lease renewal of several suites and studio singles at 110, combined with an ever-climbing acceptance rate, Barnard finally secured 537 121st Street as a new residence hall this past July. Good thing, too—just search “Barnard Housing Crisis” to see the fallout from past room shortages. The dorm, formerly known as “Goldsmith” when it was a Jewish Theological Seminary residence hall, is located at 121 and Broadway above Olive Tree Deli and will be referred to as “121st St.”
But what’s the lowdown? Based on the date of acquisition, it is a Cancer Sun, Cancer Moon and Libra Rising. Though it will eventually house 140 upperclass students, right now there are only 40 Barnard students living there, many from the infamous guaranteed housing list, while JTS students occupy the rest. Convinced at first that the dorm was a distraction from a looming Plimpton Corner Suite Debacle 2.0, I checked out Barnard’s latest dorm for myself– coming soon to a housing lottery near you!
It is my firm belief that at the core of every Barnard student’s psyche is the desire to feel like an Adult, rather than In College, hence the appeal of dorms that seem less dorm-y. 121st St., similar to CG and 110, feels a little more like an apartment than a typical residence hall, and is made up of 3-5 person suites. In 121st, students each have a single, a common space and kitchen, and an AC unit (the Holy Trinity of Barnard Housing). There are even hardwood floors! Like Plimpton, it’s also above a deli, but this one’s only open until 7:30—after that you’ll have to hit another MoHi locale whose schedule is tailored to Columbia students’ absolutely fucked sleep schedules!
However, you’ll probably forget about your new spacious living room when you’re asked to sign in one of your fellow Barnard students. According to Sophie Lanier, a senior at Barnard living in 121st, “there’s been some logistical confusion with different Barnard and JTS sign-in policies…for a while Barnard students had to sign in everyone, including other Barnard students”. Did I mention that there is only one rickety elevator, the common area looks like a 1970s murder scene, and the front entrance is not wheelchair accessible? Yikes.
Right now 121st is still an enigma to most students, and the name change initiated after the acquisition doesn’t help. Lanier says, “I’ve mostly been calling it “the new Barnard dorm” since a lot of people didn’t even realize that Barnard got a new dorm.” Can we just call it Olive Tree and move on?