Tunnel entry points

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This page lists tunnel entry points.

Accessible tunnels

Mudd/Havemeyer tunnel system (Old Powerhouse)

Accessible: Uris Boiler Room/Old Powerhouse, Mudd and Engineering Terrace, Schermerhorn, Chandler, Havemeyer, Dodge Gym. Pupin

Closed: N/A

  • See Old Powerhouse Tunnel System for details.
  • From Mudd lobby, take the stairs or elevator to the 2nd floor. Orient yourself towards the W? staircase at the end of the hall. Start walking, take your first available turn to the left. Follow that hall all the way to a staircase. Go as far down that staircase as you can.
  • From Engineering Terrace, again go to the second floor and use the "alarned" staircase at the end of the hall. There is no actual alarm on this door. This staircase leads all the way down to the tunnels.
  • From Havemeyer lobby, take the X? staircase at your left down to the bottomost floor. Behind the staircase on the bottom floor is a door. Go through that door into the staircase. Take that staircase down to the bottom. You are now in the hallway of the bottommost floor of Chandler. Short of the staircase at the end of the Chandler hallway is a turn to the right. Follow the wrap around.
  • From Schermerhorn, goto the Schermerhorn extension area. Find a staircase and take it as far down as possible. Will lead you to engineering terrace or the parking garage under Mudd.
  • From 119th street loading dock, walk to the area under Uris. Warning, there is a camera that looks over the mail delivery area that you will be near. It only looks to the east, so enter this area by going down the steps off the bridge near the gym and walking east. There are three industrial doors opposite of the "Uris Deliveries" side of the driveway which may or may not be labelled Uris Boiler Room or Powerhouse. If one of those doors is open, go inside and head as far down as you can go. The Old Powerhouse is a complicated three-story array of Willy Wonka-like pipes and grated walkways. The upper level has a few walkways that lead to various buildings, the middle level opens onto the old east-to-west tunnel which still has several rotting coal cars and tracks for the cars, and the bottom level is mostly waterlogged and rotted out (though it's worth seeing since it's a remnant from the old Mental Institution).
  • See Pupin's page for information on access to Pupin from this system.

Mudd/Pupin tunnel system (New Powerhouse)

Accessible: Pupin, Schapiro, sometimes Mudd to Schapiro

Closed: Sometimes Mudd to Schapiro connection, sometimes New Powerhouse

  • Notes: Be sure to prop doors open, some close behind you without any way for you to get out...no fire exits, nothing. This system gets you into Pupin level 2, not level 1 where the cool stuff is. There are two cameras in this system, one in Pupin's garbage room and one in the hall just after the garbage room. This is in addition to the external cameras mentioned below.
  • From Mudd lobby, take the elevators down the 1st Floor, or B Floor, depending on your choices. If you only make it to the 1st Floor hit the down button, take the elevator to the B floor. Toward your left are some double doors, and on your right, a hallway. Follow the hallway on your right. Then, around the electrical equiptment, etc.
  • From the campus level, find the outdoor staircase behind Uris and get to the bottom if you can. There is a gate midway down which may or may not be open. A short ways past this gate, there are two doors, one of which goes into Engineering Terrace and one of which goes into the upper level of the New Powerhouse. And at the bottom of the staircase, there are three more doors, one of which leads to the lower level of the New Powerhouse, the second of which leads to the two-level parking garage under Mudd (WARNING: here there are security cameras), and the third of which leads to an area off of the Old Powerhouse.

Carman/Lerner/Butler/John Jay tunnel system

Accessible: The Office of Lady Love, sometimes Carman

Closed: John Jay, Butler (enter only), Lerner (unless you happen to be in the bookstore when the loading dock is open), sometimes Carman

  • Notes: The home of Lady Love. If you feel like you got stuck in here, don't fret. There is a sure proof way out of this tunnel. Follow the tunnel UP the incline plane. That "Dark Area" at the end of the elevation does not go farther than 10 feet, all there is there is trash (unused lockers). There is a door to get out to your left side as you approach the darkness. This door will dump you in front of Furnald.
  • From Carman lobby, take the main staircase down two levels (one level below laundry). When you reach the bottom of the staircase, the (locked) door to the tunnels will be on your right. There will also be an unlocked door to the carman elevator shaft. The other (locked) roll-up gate leads to the cargo room, which is also cool to visit. This room can sometimes be accessed by taking the service elevator down to the bottomost floor (floor C). All doors leading out of Carman are locked, unless you get into the loading dock.
  • From Furnald, when you're looking at Furnald from the front...you know that random staircase down to your left? If the door is propped open, feel free to walk through it.
  • From Butler lobby, take a right past the Lounge. Take the stairs around the corner down till you get to the steel gate. You may need a screw driver to pop it open. Tada. To your right are double doors leading to Carman (locked), Lerner (locked), and that creepy staircase which dumps you in front of Furnald.
  • There is also a Butler to John Jay tunnel, but it's hotglued shut. To see it, take a right past the Lounge. Take the stairs around the corner down till you get to the steel gate. You may need a screw driver to pop it open. Tada. Take a left, follow to the end of the tunnel. Take a right, you should pass a door that you may hear voices from the other side of. It may or may not be permanent markered as "John Jay".

Havemeyer/Dodge system

Accessible: Lewisohn, Math, sometimes Havemeyer to Math, sometimes Dodge to Lewisohn

Closed: Sometimes Havemeyer to Math, sometimes Dodge to Lewisohn. Whether the doors are open depends on whether maintenance has propped them open.

  • If any door in this system seems locked, just hit the wheelchair opener button. Works every time, even when the doors are locked normally.
  • From Havemeyer lobby, take the X stairway that is on your left to the bottommost floor. Through the doors and around your right is the entrance (double doors) to the tunnel to Math.
  • From Math lobby, take the main stairway to the bottom floor and go through the steel door at the bottom (it's always open).
  • From Dodge Hall's College Walk door, go down the short staircase and straight through the door. Follow the hall all the way around. Just short of the double glass doors at the end of the hall is a blast door which may be open.

Hamilton/Kent/Philosophy system

Accessible: Fayerweather (door seems locked, but just push/pull hard), St. Paul's Chapel, Philosophy, Kent, sometimes Hamilton (generally accessible during daytime only)

Closed: sometimes Hamilton

  • From Hamilton, Kent, or Philosophy, you need only walk to the bottom floor of the buildings. In Hamilton, there is a set of double doors on the College Walk side of the building which may be propped open. In Kent, just take the elevator straight down. And in Philosophy, go through the yellow door which is right in front of you when you come down the stairs - it's always open.
  • You can get to Fayerweather by going through the machinery-filled room north of the locked door that leads to St. Paul's Chapel. Usually the doorknob doesn't turn, but if you push/pull on the door, it opens.
  • You may exit through St. Paul's Chapel by going up the small staircase and opening the door. You can't enter this way though. It says that it is fire extinguisher storage and there is "no exit" on the outide of the door.
  • Also accessible from the system is a very small, very hot, and very dangerous crawlway to Buell Hall. This is the campus's oldest tunnel, a remnant of the old mental asylum which formerly occupied the area (as is Buell Hall/La Maison Francaise itself).

John Jay to Hamilton tunnel

Accessible: John Jay, Hartley, Wallach Closed: Hamilton

  • From John Jay lobby: If you live here or have ever lived here, you already know about this place. Go to the basement, where the laundry room is. There are three ways to go. 1) the fire exit for JJ's, 2) Laundry Room, 3)The tunnel. When you get to Hamilton there is a triple locked atomic blast door with no way around it.

Inaccessible tunnels

Kent to Low

  • Ground maps show existence of tunnel.
  • Considerable evidence that doors on the Low Library side of the tunnel have alarms.

St. Paul's Chapel to Low

Accessible: None Closed: Low, St. Paul's

  • There are alarms on the locked St. Paul's door. Low is also unfortunately the home of campus security.

Uris/Dodge to Low

Accessible: None Closed: Low Library?, Uris/Dodge

  • You can see the Dodge side by getting on the running track and going to the far end, there is a random mirror on the banked section that covers the entrance. This means that this entrance is probably drywalled up. 1940's maps prove the tunnel's existence.
  • The Low side is on the second to lowest level, at the point where it is closest to Uris. There is a locked door.
  • There is a large grate which may lead down into this system near the "Curl" statue. Geographically it is right on top of it, but it might just be irrigation pipes.

Buell to Low

Accessible: None

  • The passageway does exist, but it's a tiny crawlspace filled with pipes that are hot to the touch. It probably also contains asbestos. You can see it from the Kent-Buell passage, but the way to it is blocked. Don't even think about climbing over the pipes, you will get burned badly.

Butler to Low

  • The Holy Grail of tunnels, and probably just as mythical. A thorough investigation of Butler Library showed that there are no tunnels going towards Low Library. Additionally, the steam pipes run the periphery of the campus, where the buildings are, not down the center where there are no buildings. Furthermore, grounds maps new and old document all the other tunnels, but show no existence of a Butler Library to Low Library.
  • Rumors of this tunnel's existence stem from the existence of a bizarre square manhole cover on College Walk, but this manhole could just as easily lead to the NYC sewage system - 116th street between Amsterdam and Broaday was a city street open to traffic until Columbia obtained permission to close it off in the 1950's.
  • Around the outside of the walls of the main stairs up to Low is find evidence that there may be a hollow area under the steps. Wires and pipes go straight into the marble.
  • Another intriguing piece of evidence is the existence of a mystery staircase in floor plans on the second to lowest floor of Low. The floors above and below it do not show it. However this is not a tunnel, but simply the security break room. * A map from all the way back to the 1930's shows a 12" water main and a sewer line runnning across 116th street. It also shows the existence of numerous fire hydrants along what is now College Walk. This was even before South Hall (AKA Butler) was built.
  • A map from the 40's shows no tunnels out of Butler other than a future one to Carman and one John Jay.
  • In April 2006, the Pakistan's Prime Minister came to speak at the school. He entered from 114th street through the Carman delivery entrance and gave a speech at Low Library, but he was never above ground. This lends credibility to the rumor that there is some passage to Low Library from somewhere, but he most likely entered by going up through the tunnel system on the west side of campus over to Uris and getting in through the only well known accessible tunnel (I doubt the prime minister put on a heat protective suit and crawled through the Buell passage), the Low to Uris tunnel.

Other points of interest

Mudd's Triga III Open Water Nuclear Reactor (not operational)

Status: Open

  • From Mudd lobby, take the elevators down the 1st Floor, or B Floor, depending on your choices. If you only make it to the 1st Floor hit the down button, take the elevator to the B floor. Toward your left are some double doors, and a hallway to the right. Take the double doors, toward your right should now be another pair of double doors. Follow this right hallway until you get to an uninteresting looking but imposing looking huge cement wall. On the plates on the bottom, you should be able to read "General Atomic/Triga III".
  • From the lower level of the Mudd parking lot, hang a right. (WARNING: the parking garage has security cameras and sometimes an attendant on duty. It's okay to walk through here, but don't double back on your path too many times or otherwise act suspicious.) Toward the end of the hall at the double doors are double doors to your left. Take the left. Follow the hallway straight back to the cement wall.

Remnants of the Original Manhattan Project Cyclotron

Status: Open, if you know what you're doing.

  • If you're tunneling "adept," follow the instructions on the Pupin page.
  • Although this is not precisely a tunnel, it is part of tunneling lore. Pupin is "no longer connected" to any other campus building; all "exits are sealed" and "doors are bolted shut". However, it is true that the first floor of Pupin is supposed to be 'inaccessible', and one needs tunneling ken to be able to get in.
  • From the bathroom on the bottom floor of Pupin, climb over the heating element that is suspended from the ceiling. Or just try tugging on the newer of the two doors down there - the old one is impenetrable because the inside is barricaded by 2x4s, but the newer door, despite its fancy appearance, doesn't always lock securely.

Edit: as of 5/2008, on a visit, the old door's barricades have been removed, and even on that occasion the door was unlocked. This makes visiting the cyclotron like a walk in the park. It is due to, however, people starting to work there (construction), and the 'abandoned' hallway being converted to usable offices over time. Pupin 1 may soon exit out of tunneling lore as it is being converted to a legit part of Pupin. Also, the cyclotron is almost completely dismantled aside from the main circular magnet, which will probably be eventually sold for scrap metal. Visit now, while you can...in a few years the fabled tunnel of tunnels will be just another part of an expanding school.

  • Late nights: Take the Mudd staircase (the one facing the elevators) down to the basement. Take an immediate left. this will lead you through Schapiro to Pupin (2nd fl.), where you can take the stairs down to the bathroom on the bottom floor. Proceed as described above. Note: Since Mudd is accessible from the tunnels (that is to say that you dont have to go above ground to get there from, say, Havemeyer), so the Cyclotron in Pupin is still accessible from the tunnels, just in a convoluted way where you have to be in Mudd for a bit.

Upper roof of Mudd

Status: Open

  • Mudd has a three-tiered roof. The highest roof is eighteen stories up and affords one of the most scenic views on campus. Although we tunnelers usually prefer going down to going up, many explorers have clearly found it worth the trip, since numerous tunnelers' tags can be found on the upper stories of Mudd. The roofs on floors 14 and 16 are also quite nice.
  • Take the elevator to either 14 or 15, both of which are work areas. Since there are many ways into the area, you should be able to find at least one door open. Climb the stairs all the way to what would be the 18th and highest floor of Mudd. You'll find yourself in a dimly-lit room with a ladder that ascends to the ceiling, where you'll find a very heavy metal trapdoor that opens onto the roof. Open the rusty latch on the trapdoor and push really hard. And as an admonition scrawled on the wall will remind you, you must remember to prop the trapdoor open - otherwise, you'll be stuck up there, and no one will find your corpse.

Upper roof of Pupin

Pupin has a nice roof too. Take the stairway on the left side of the building (when you go in) and walk all the way up to the roof. What a view!