For all you Sophomores with low lottery numbers out there, welcome to your new home! Quite possibly the worst dorm on campus, McBain has its ups and downs.

Location: 562 W 113th Street

  • Nearby dormsWatt, Nuss, frat row, Broadway, and Carman
  • Stores and restaurants: Junzi, Wu and Nussbaum, a Chase ATM five feet away, Milanos, International, Tom’s, Book Culture, most anything on Broadway near campus
  • Cost: Upperclassman dorms was standardized at $9,872/year for 2019-20, so it should be around this for the next year. Housing has not updated their pricing for the 2020-21 term.


  • Bathrooms: Each floor has seven gender-neutral bathrooms. One of these is always ADA. These bathrooms are private which is awesome until people realize they can trash them without repercussions. At least the showers are relatively spacious and the hot water works if you complain enough to facilities.
  • AC/Heating: Each room has a radiator that either does nothing or unleashes the fires of hell. There is no in-between. Shaft rooms while lacking in sunlight have the benefit of AC which is incredible. It almost makes up for the soul-crushing reality of being shafted.
  • Lounge: There are a big lounge and smaller study rooms on the first floor before the security desk. The vibe is very chill most of the time and people are almost always in the big lounge chatting. These spaces are a great place for club meetings as they don’t require sign-ins.
  • Kitchen: One kitchen per floor with stove, microwave, and oven. It’s attached to the floor lounge and unfortunately has a tendency to get cluttered and messy and stay that way forever. Finding a time when nobody is using the stove is sometimes difficult.
  • Laundry: The first floor has twelve washers and dryers as well as an awkward table to the side presumably for folding, but it’s currently a pile of unclaimed clothes that apparently gets thrown away every week. How does the pile keep growing? We may never know. Generally, the machines work well and it’s not that hard to find a time that isn’t busy.
  • Computers/Printing: There’s a small computer lounge on the first floor next to the main lounge. One PawPrint printer is under the main staircase with varying degrees of workability.
  • Fire Escapes: Sadly none
  • Gym: Two treadmills, an elliptical, and a TV on the fourth floor. The gym room also has a strange half-open door like two feet off the ground to a dark room filled with weird machinery. Not really useful, but feeds into my theory that McBain is haunted.
  • Elevators: Two very slow and sketchy elevators. Probably run by overworked subway rats. Be like me and choose the second floor so you don’t have to risk it.
  • Flooring: Rooms have cheap hardwood. I’d recommend getting a carpet to tie the room together. Hallways are carpet. Elevators, fortunately, are not carpet (a step up from Carman).
  • Misc: The entrance has a plant wall and gigantic mirrors. It feels vaguely like something out of a Stanley Kubrick movie but worse.

Room Variety:

  • 175 Doubles. Sizes range from 182-268 sq. ft. Lots of spacious rooms available, but they go first.
  • 41 Singles. Sizes range from 117-178 sq. ft. Mostly given to RA’s and their riders.
  • The Shaft is a nightmare of doom, gloom, and cabin fever, but you get AC and there are some big rooms available. These go last (for good reason). If you find yourself in the shaft, buy a sun lamp and start hosting movie nights because it’s so dark.


  • Doubles: 10/2941. If you want a McBain double, you’ll get a McBain double.
  • Singles: Housing hasn’t released data for singles cut off, but most recent numbers were around 10/1385.

Bwog Recommendation:

McBain isn’t great, but it could be worse. Some defend it, some would rather burn it to the ground than see it ever again. The rooms can be spacious and the community has been pretty rewarding when you don’t walk into a shower clogged with vomit. Lots of people from Carman find similar communities in McBain, and unless you’re shafted, there’s a good amount of sunlight. People still throw mediocre parties in their doubles and the vibe is anything but intense as people bond over living in what may be the worst non-first-year dorm on campus. The location is pretty good as campus is only a block away and it’s easy to walk out and get some Junzi or Wu and Nussbaum and go home. Most people prefer Nuss, but don’t lose hope if you get McBain. Just be ready for thin walls and messy neighbors.

Resident Opinions:

  • “It’s chill, just buy plenty of Febreeze and use the bathroom elsewhere when you can.”
  • “Picking a big room in the shaft when I could’ve had sunlight was the worst decision I’ve made since taking out student loans.”
  • “Like Carman, but worse.”
  • “If you live here, please don’t puke in the showers.”
  • “Go for Nuss.”‘

Images via Bwog Staff