Carman Hall

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Built 1959
Renovated 2017-2020
Population 587
University Residence Halls
548 West 113th Street600 West 113th StreetBroadwayCarlton ArmsCarmanEast 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 four million dollars in memory of their son Ferris Booth (CC '24) to construct a student center, theoretically replacing the one on the 2nd floor of John Jay. At the same time, Columbia secured a three million dollar 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 one million dollar donation to name the building. The Columbia Spectator 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 many years afterward, Carman was one of the least popular housing choices.

The eventual redistribution of all first-years to South Lawn combined with investment from administration led to things turning around for the better. Starting in 2017, Columbia performed extensive renovations on Carman, completely gutting and replacing its residential floors and basement lounge. Given the limited construction window provided by Summer Break, work was done in phases: Floors 7-13 and the new basement lounge were completed in Summer of 2018, Floors 2-6 were completed in Summer of 2019, and Floor M will be completed sometime in 2020. This led to a bit of division on the part of Carman residents, as some members of the unrenovated lower floors were left to envy their peers in more palatial accommodations upstairs. Others took their assignment to the lower floors in stride, pointing to the cozier, less corporate feeling of the unrenovated Carman's common spaces. Both parties, however, were mutually united by their fortune in not having been assigned to Wallach Hall or Hartley Hall.

Carman is now a main-stay in the party scene for first-years, attracting some of the more social members of each Columbia class. It is thus no small coincidence that many aspiring student politicians hail from Carman, with Carmanites disproportionately represented in the first-year delegation to CCSC. Carman is also the dorm of choice for many of Columbia's sports teams, with many members of a team residing on the same floor.

Notable Events and Controversies

Gatherings and Gathering Spots

Prior to its 2019 Renovation, Floor 6 was traditionally the rowdiest floor because of its abnormally large non-suite room (613). It garnered over 70 noise complaints in 2010 alone.

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.


Living arrangements

4-Person Suite

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 their own air-conditioning unit. Each bathroom has 2 sinks, a toilet, and a shower.

10-Person Suite

Each entryway leads into a hallway with five separate rooms of tremendously varying sizes. Immediately to the left and right are each suites two single-use bathrooms, each containing a shower and a sink.

'Special Rooms'

Most of the upper floors have a double room with a private bathroom adjacent to the elevator lobby and floor lounge.

Some of the lower floors have a four room suite with two bathrooms shared by two doubles and two of the elusive Carman singles. Don't bet your first-choice housing slot on these singles, as they are few and far between.


Every floor has a common area with bar chairs and tables, a television, and a couch. Floor lounges are nearly identical in their orientation and size, differentiated by Columbia's choice of NYC-Themed wallpaper. 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.


Carman's selection of three elevators are among the most reliable on campus, but are frequently closed in order to clean the massive amounts of vomit and food spewed at odd hours of the night.

The two main elevators connect directly to Carman's lobby, as well as the basement and laundry facilities. These elevators are typically used by residents with room numbers less than 10.

The cargo elevator on the West end of the hall connects down to the loading dock for Lerner and Ferris Booth Commons. If taking it to the main(lobby floor), one must exit the elevator, exit to the left through a doorway, cross through a hallway containing the first-floor offices, and then go down a few steps to get into the main lobby During NSOP, the loading dock is opened to allow first-years to use the cargo elevator to move their things in, and is afterwards used primarily by residents with room numbers greater than 10. Accessing this elevator is difficult initially, but will come in handy if either of the main elevators is closed down.


Laundry Room

The laundry room has 15 washers and 15 dryers, but can become crowded at peak usage times. You'll want to do your laundry during weekdays(with the exception of Friday), or at odd hours of the night on Weekends(if necessary). Like any other laundry facility, miserable low-lifes will remove your laundry if you are even a minute late to taking it out of the dryer, and the laundry room's many tables are often strewn with removed clothes.


The basement has a lounge with chairs, tables, large circular couches ideal for meetings, and lots of whiteboards. The door at the far end of the lounge leads to Lerner, and is alarmed with a piercingly-loud alarm with a hair-trigger. This lounge also adjoins the building's only kitchen, which has a microwave, a questionable mini-fridge, and two oven ranges/stoves, a small seating area, as well as plentiful cabinet space.

Gym and Practice Studios

The basement also has a gym with a paltry selection of treadmills and steppers. The ventilation is horrid and temperatures skyrocket quickly, but it is much less crowded than Dodge Gym.

The basement also has music practice rooms you can ask for swipe access for.

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.

Famous Residents

  • Eric Garcetti (on 12th Floor), Mayor of Los Angeles [3]
  • 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
  • Ezra Koening (in ???), lead singer and guitarist for Vampire Weekend [4]
  • Chris Wiggins (in 1015A), Chief Data Scientist for the New York Times, Professor of Applied Math at Columbia [5]
  • Tom Kitt (on Mezzanine), Pulitzer-Prize winning Broadway composer



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.



<googlemap lat="40.806472" lon="-73.963845" type="map" zoom="16" width="500" height="300" controls="small"> 40.806472, -73.963845, Carman residence hall </googlemap>

Building address

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

External links