Carman Hall

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Built 1959
Renovated 1999-2001
Population 587
University Residence Halls
548 West 113th Street600 West 113th StreetBroadwayCarmanEast Campus47 ClaremontFurnaldHarmonyHartleyHoganJohn JayMcBainRiverRugglesSchapiroWallachWattWienWoodbridge

Carman is a first-year residence hall. Approximately 40% of first years live in Carman.



Columbia's priorities in the 50s and 60s did not include residence halls or an undergraduate student center, but the university chanced upon a fortunate (or fortuitous) coincidence. Mr and Mrs Willis Booth gave $4m in memory of their son Ferris Booth (CC '24) to construct a student center to replace the one on the 2nd floor of John Jay. At the same time, Columbia secured a $3m loan from the Federal Housing and Home Agency. Columbia wanted to combine the funds and build a single building. However, the FHHA loan forbade any link between the residence hall and the student center to prevent the emergence of a "country-club atmosphere". (The university continues to adhere to this condition, and did not create any link with the replacement of Ferris Booth Hall by Lerner Hall.)

The residence hall and student center were designed by architect Harvey Clarkson of Shreve, Lamb & Harmon in 1959. Construction was completed in 1960. The residence hall was known as New Hall until it was named Carman Hall in 1965 after Harry Carman. In the intervening 5 years, Columbia had fruitlessly held out for a $1 million donation to name the building, and the Spectator had held a naming contest, suggesting the building be named Hawkes Hall after former Dean Herbert Hawkes, or named after Gouverneur Morris.[1] It was the most recent addition to Columbia's undergraduate residence halls since John Jay Hall was completed in 1927. There is a rumor that Carman was built as a temporary structure until funds could be allocated to build a "John Jay II", but this rumor is false. A New York Times architectural review called it a "Victorian reformatory", noting its nondescript rows of doubles. [2] For a long time afterwards, it was one of the least popular choices among students. Since then, it has become considered the most popular first year residence hall.

In the Spring of 2014 the Notorious Carman 8 ("The Ocho") threw what came to be known as the paint party - a gathering that involved a fully constructed/equipped bar and a lot of paint.

Famous residents

  • Eric Holder (in 301A), Attorney General of the United States
  • Elliot Cahn (in 1309B), co-founder, Sha Na Na rock group; played Woodstock Festival, and Oscar-winning Woodstock film; managed Green Day (through the Dookie album which sold fifteen million albums worldwide and won a Grammy for best rock album); also Papa Roach, Rancid, Exodus, The Offspring


Living arrangements

Each entryway leads into a mini suite with two doubles (A and B) and a shared bathroom. The size of each double varies between suites but the B double generally feels larger and allows for more furniture arrangements. The A doubles generally feel long and narrow, so the best arrangement is a bed and desk on each long wall. Every room has central air condition. Each bathroom has 2 sinks, a toilet, and a shower.


Every floor has a common area with a couple chairs and a cable television. Floors 2-5 are shorter floors, so their lounges are basically the open area near the elevators. Floors 6 and above have lounges at the west end of the floor with a window overlooking Broadway. Floors M, 2 and 3 are allocated to first year single-sex housing.

Floor M is the floor on which the GHD, the General Hall Director, resides. For the 2010-2011 academic school year, the GHD is grad-student Keith "the Bear" Blankenship.

Floor 6 is traditionally the rowdiest floor because of the abnormally large non-suite room (613). As of October 10, 2010, there have been 73 party-related conduct violations.


The laundry room has 15 washers and 15 dryers, but can become crowded at peak usage times. The basement has a lounge with chairs, tables, and kitchenette with sink and microwave. The basement also accommodates the building's only kitchen, which has a microwave, a questionable mini-fridge, and two oven ranges/stoves, as well as plentiful cabinet space. In addition, there is a Music Dept. Practice Room, and the administrative offices of CAVA.

Advantages and disadvantages


  • Carman has a reputation as the "party" or "social" dorm, probably because of its group living quarters and its incredibly spacious corridors which make fantastic unorganized social spaces.
  • Lerner Hall and Ferris Booth dining hall are next door.
  • Several deans have offices on the 1st floor. They can help with advising, scheduling, and give counsel/advice.
  • One private bathroom for each suite of 4 people.
  • Good soundproofing because the walls are made of concrete, not wallboard.
  • Since the rooms are doubles, they feel nice and spacious.
  • Enormous closets.
  • Air conditioning.
  • Elevators are faster and break down less often than in John Jay Hall.


  • You have a roommate, which can be a particular hassle if you have a boyfriend/girlfriend.
  • There's only one kitchen and it's in the basement.
  • Floor lounges are fairly small.
  • If someone hooks up an old school NES to the floor lounge TV, your GPA is done for.


Floor plans

Tunnel/roof connections

Carman Hall basement

Go to the maintenance elevator and hit the "C" button for the sub-basement. This is the only open way down or up. The basement has several tunneling connections but they are all locked with padlocks. If you go down here, watch out for the cameras. There is a moderate risk that security could find you. Right as you exit the elevator you will be seen by a camera on the wall. Make sure your back is turned to the elevator doors so it doesn't catch your face. Quickly exit the area near the elevator so you aren't seen. Do not go up the staircase, it is locked and there is a camera in it. Note that the elevator call buttons are disabled on levels B and C. This means once you get out, you can't get back up without the elevator key. If you go down here, you should pre-arrange for someone to come down and get you. Set a time, sync your watches, and be near the elevator when your rescuer comes. You can hide by standing directly under the camera on the wall, it won't see you under it. Bring a flashlight as it is mostly dark down there.

Butler tunnel system

In the C level basement you can see the tunnel behind the north wall because of the lights, but the entrances are all locked. Also, beware of the aforementioned cameras.

The John Jay/Butler/Carman tunnels were once used to transport food from John Jay Dining Hall to the Lion's Den cafeteria in Ferris Booth Hall.

Furnald Hall

Unconfirmed that a passage even exists. There aren't any openings on the Furnald side. That locked gate door in the Furnald basement is merely a wheelchair entrance from the street, it doesn't go anywhere.


At the top of the X and Y staircases are the roof exits. The roof itself is quite stunning, with great views all around. In the middle of the roof is a ladder which will take you another 20 feet up onto a small platform. Great for sunsets and dates. Every time the door is open they have dance parties on the roof. Over the years Columbia has added more and more security to the doors since explorers have continually hacked the alarm systems. The easiest way to access the roof is to cause or wait for a fire alarm, then prop the doors open. The door locks automatically disengage during fire alarms. There is also a mag-lock on the Y staircase door, but it has the same weakness. One option would be to cut the wires, which may trip an alarm, but security is unlikely to respond quickly.


  1. [1]; [2]; [3]
  2. "Home on the Heights" from Columbia College Today, 9/05


Building address

545 W. 114th St.
New York, NY 10027

External links

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