The Armory uptown is probably one of the best, most organized places to get vaccinated in the city. It has tons of appointment slots that open up pretty frequently. It’s also one of the most confusing places to schedule an appointment for. Luckily, we’re here to help you out.

It seems that nearly everyone I know is sleeping on COVID-19 vaccine appointments up at The Armory in Washington Heights. It’s easy to see why; appointments there don’t show up on TurboVax or Vax4NYC because they go through an entirely different sign-up process than most other mass vaccination sites. They also don’t advertise very well.

This is probably why, when I was there, I heard one of the volunteers saying it’s super easy to get a vaccine appointment there right now. And while I think they should make it easier and that they should be advertising more, not doing so means there’s less competition to get an appointment there than somewhere like the Javits Center. I can tell you, it’s very much worth the extra few steps to get a vaccine appointment the next day. And, as you’ll see, it’s not that difficult—I promise.

Step 1: Make a Connect/MyChart account here (I used the no activation code option). Use your New York City address for the building you live in, not your mailbox address. For example, if you’re living in Plimpton Hall, use the address for Plimpton Hall.

This is a bit of a bottleneck point for getting past the somewhat glitchy system. If it tells you it can’t verify your account, go back and put your permanent address which is not your New York building address. I had this happen, so I used my permanent non-college address to sign up, and then it let me in. Once it does, you should change your address to your current New York City building address under “Menu” and then “Personal Information” near the bottom of the list.

Once you get in, it should direct you to a home page. Click “Visits” next to the menu.

Step 2: Under “Visits” click “Schedule an Appointment.” There should be two options available; click “COVID-19 First Dose.”

It will then walk you through a few screening questions, like if you are symptomatic or breastfeeding. Following that, it will ask you to confirm that you are eligible. If you are 16+ years old and if you live in New York City right now, you are eligible. (If it said you are not eligible because you don’t live in New York City, go back to the note under Step 1—i.e., make sure you have your current New York City building address in there.)

Note: This is the other bottleneck point I’ve seen for glitches in signing up. If you can make it past this part, you should be in the clear.

Step 3: It will then ask you to confirm a location. Click “Any location.” You can click the “NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital Columbia Armory COVID Vaccination Center,” but I had it glitch out and show me that there weren’t any appointments when I tried the first time—even though there actually were open slots. I had better luck with “Any location.” (Plus, it’ll give you more times at more locations if the Armory site is full, as there are other places associated with it where you can get a shot.)

Step 4: If you clicked “Any location,” it will ask you which provider you want. Click “Any provider.” (If you picked NY Presbyterian in the previous step, it will skip past this step for you.)

Step 5: You’re almost done! It’ll ask you to pick your location and time. I’ve only ever seen it chock-full of times or completely barren. If it’s empty, don’t freak out, just check again later in the day. It took me basically no time to find an open slot: appointments drop fairly often and in pretty big batches.

Then, it’ll ask you to confirm your information like your health insurance, and then you’re scheduled! Pro tip: last I checked, the insurance field isn’t required if you’re in a rush. Just be sure to bring proof of insurance to your appointment, along with ID (driver’s license, passport, etc) and proof of residence in NYC. (They didn’t ask me for proof, but it’s good to have just in case. I brought a letter addressed to my NYC address and a screenshot of my campus housing assignment, along with my student ID.) They will schedule your second dose right after you get poked, so you only need to go through this rigmarole once.

Note: They will not tell you which flavor of vaccine you’re getting until you’re sitting in the chair with your sleeve up. (For the record, I got Pfizer.) From what I saw, they seem to be mostly, if not completely, using Pfizer and Moderna. If you can’t take the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines for whatever reason, I’d recommend calling them ahead of time at 646-697-8222 to ask about whether they have the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

I was able to score an appointment, but I have seen some people having a lot of trouble getting past the glitches in the system, especially in the beginning. If you just can’t get it to work, don’t panic. New appointments with TurboVax or Vax4NYC drop throughout the day, and it won’t be very long at all until it’s not an insane undertaking to schedule one.

Feel free to email or if you need help troubleshooting or have any questions. I’d be happy to walk people through the process. Happy vaxxing everyone, and good luck out there.

Armory exterior via Flickr