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Morris A. Schapiro Hall, popularly known as Schapiro, is an undergraduate residence hall that mostly houses juniors in singles and sophomores in doubles. It has yet to earn the nickname "The Schap." It's on 115th St between Broadway and Riverside Drive. Schapiro was built in 1987 for $18m, making it the second newest residence hall after Broadway. When it was completed, Schapiro enabled Columbia to guarantee housing to all undergraduates for all 4 years for the first time in its history.
Schapiro singles usually go to rising seniors, and rising juniors with a lottery number better than 1800.
More than 90% of Columbia College and SEAS students had lived either on campus or in the immediate area since the the 1950s. Sometimes the university resorted to several stop-gap measures, such as housing men in Barnard's Hewitt and Brooks Halls. However, many students could not be accommodated and therefore lingered on the "non-guaranteed wait-list" while living off-campus. Schapiro Hall was intended to allow the university to guarantee four-year housing for all students.
Design and construction
Schapiro was the first and only residence hall built at Columbia with active student and faculty input. Dean Pollack of Columbia College convened an advisory committee which selected sites for kitchens, lounges, rooms, practice areas, and bathrooms. Schapiro was thus as much the creation of the students who would live in the building as the architect who built it.
Schapiro Hall was designed by Gruzen Samton Steinglass, and it opened in 1987.
However, the most interesting and touching story came with the construction of Schapiro Hall. The Schapiro brothers, Morris and Meyer, graduated in 1923 and 1924, respectively. Meyer Schapiro became one of the most distinguished art historians in the world, ending his career as a University Professor at Columbia. Morris Schapiro tried his hand at business, and found fame and fortune. Yet, when Columbia's fund raisers approached him either in his or his brother's name, they were continuously rebuffed. The case was referred to Dean of Columbia College Robert Pollack, who dug up the 1924 Columbian yearbook. Dean Pollack noted two facts, that Morris Schapiro was a classic American-dream success story, and that he had been a rather fearsome chess player in his undergraduate days.
Dean Pollack assembled the 1984 Columbia chess team, which was a diverse mix of Asians, Russians, Creoles, all young, all idealistic, but most importantly, all just like Morris during his Columbia College (and School of Mines) days. He then paid a visit to Morris Schapiro's house where alumnus and students met, chatted, played chess, talked about Columbia, and the like. The topic of money was never brought up, but when Dean Pollack returned to Columbia, he had a $7 million check to build Schapiro Hall.
- Molly Murray, Columbia English professor
Each floor has a lounge and kitchen. Schapiro has 17 floors that accommodate 245 singles and 85 doubles. Schapiro also has several music practice rooms, a laundry room, and access to the Schapiro Black Box Theater.
- Floor 17: faculty-in-residence penthouse
- 55 doubles
- 245 singles
- 30 walk-through doubles (05 and 07 line)
Advantages and disadvantages
- 04, 20 and 22 lines on floors 10-16 are large singles with south views onto 115th St.
- Nice first floor lounge and skylounge
- Room 1502 has a view of the Empire State Building
- North-facing rooms on lower floors are in a shaft so they get little light
- 05-line: very small walk-through doubles, with noise from elevator, next to the trash chute
- 07-line: small walk-through doubles, again with noise from elevator
- Watch out for room 902
- Nauseating combo of pale fluorescent lighting and peeling pure-white paint
- Malfunctioning heating system
- No modular shelves
- Rat issues - they slip in right under the door
605-615 W. 115th St.
New York, NY 10025